True Blue

Editor’s Letter

In digital marketing, the sky’s the limit and the sky is blue. Welcome to the creation and launch of ideas, concepts, and conversation all encompassed in the Online Advertising Bluebook – welcome to the future!

 

With 400-plus ad networks plugging along and digital agencies and display ad companies catching clients like they were dew off the heather, it certainly seems that the sky is the limit.  The online advertising network is the engine that could — and will continue to chug along. In this recovering economy, the online advertising universe has taken only the smallest of hits. You can all rest easy now, right? No way. The tough climb is yet to come. As agencies get their own in-house networks up, the real competition begins. As smaller, yet successful, networks get bought by larger networks, the race for business begins. As oversight creeps into the daily lives of networks, so goes the wild-west attitude.

What all this means to ad networks, large and small, depends on who you talk to. In this first issue of the Online Advertising Blue Book, we introduce you to some of the inspirational players and the trends to look out for. Video ad networks, for example, are up and coming, yet flying under the radar — until now. Networks that deal in managing your network relationships are beginning to form. And while there is talk of an ad network bubble, some predict there is enough market for thousands of ad networks and not just hundreds.

We also talked candidly to some of the leaders at networks — those who manage ads in video games, those who deal only in vertical Web properties, and those who have seen it all and are expecting an industry shakeout. Some industry watchers are posing the question, are ad networks dying? Yes, they say, some ad networks are dying, but the industry is hardly facing extinction. Some say that the need for acquisition is obvious, and that the power to make advertisers and publishers more successful lies in the control of ad servers and ad networks.

Whoever holds all the marbles is not necessarily the winner. Witness the emergence of ad exchanges that provide direct access to buyers, making some sales forces redundant. Ad exchanges, some say, will make it easy for firms to create an ad network and then quickly and inexpensively aggregate unsold inventory. Exchanges can find cheap inventory very quickly and are efficient at doing it. It is uncertain whether exchanges will threaten or enhance the life of ad networks.

Most ad networks know they have challenges ahead. As the economy grows more robust, the networks that don’t innovate, acquire or mature will see clouds on the horizon.

Technology will become ever more important, both as advertisers and agencies demand more control and greater transparency, and as advances are made with interoperability and exchange of data between the various parties. Prices are going to be set in real-time, inventories are going to be sliced and diced a million ways, and campaign analytics and management tools are going to become increasingly sophisticated.

We have tried in this launch edition to introduce ideas and concepts; to begin a conversation. The conversation continues at bluebook.mthink.com, where if you run your own network you can claim it and fill out a complete network profile to promote your organization’s capabilities to our readers. For agencies and advertisers the web site is an invaluable resource for finding new solutions partners and tracking changes in the industry. And for publishers seeking to optimize their advertising and maximize revenues, bluebook.mthink.com is the place to learn more.

For advertiser and agency, for publisher and affiliate, for network and exchange, the future is here. The future is exciting. The future is blue.

Welcome to the future. Welcome to the Online Advertising BLUE BOOK.