Glam Tries To Automate Premium Online Ad Packaging And Battle Infinite Inventory

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The big problem in online advertising is that there is basically infinite inventory. Ads are bought on ad networks and exchanges where one site is hardly differentiated form another. Larger publishers try to battle this by putting together ad-sale packages which bundle together their higher-quality sites and then sell that as a bundle for a premium. For instance, AOL’s sales force could sell ads on TechCrunch, Engadget, and its other tech blogs all as one package. Today, putting together these kinds of package deals is pretty much a manual process.

Glam Media wants to automate that process with a new online advertising product called GlamAdapt Automate. It is the second phase of its GlamAdapt ad serving product, which it launched in 2009. GlamAdapt allows highly targeted ad serving by demographic and audience segment. The Automate product is aimed at media buyers who want to buy only certain sites, and target within those sites. So for instance, if AOL used the technology (it doesn’t, but other large publishers are testing it out), media buyers would be able to place ads only on TechCrunch and Engadget, and then target specifically 18-to-34-year-old males who are into fast cars within those sites.

Today, most ad buying is done on an auction basis, which drives down prices for publishers and treats all ad inventory the same. It makes online advertising a commodity. Glam CEO Samir Arora wants to create a “primetime” segment of ad inventory associated with higher-quality publishers. Targeting “tech influentials,” for instance, makes more sense when they are reading about tech gadgets or tech news than when they are uploading photos to Facebook.

As he’s been testing this out, Arora also found out something else that is pretty interesting. There is a divide between search-optimized sites (code for Demand Media) and brand-friendly sites: “One thing we found was that the higher a site was optimized for SEO, the lower the time spent on it—the higher the value of the ad for SEO, and the lower the value for brand advertising.”

At least, that’s the story he’s selling. Will it resonate with publishers and media buyers?

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