How much of your banner ad budget are you wasting?


How much of your banner ad budget are you wasting?

The old adage is that half of any business’ advertising budget is wasted, but who knows which half? In today’s digital ad world you’d think everything is trackable – that you could know exactly when each ad or creative concept, media strategy, or media channel either paid off or wasted your money. In many areas of online media tracking the success of your media campaigns is accurate and fast or even real time. But strange as it may seem, in the realm of banner ads (online display ads) it’s often not.

To reach the most people with their advertising message, businesses often employ ad exchanges. An ad exchange is a network of websites that display banner ads in exchange for credits to run ads on other sites. It’s a barter system of “I will show your clients’ ads on my site if I can show my clients’ ads on your site.” The more sites on which one exchange can show their clients’ ads the more money that site can charge advertisers, the assumption being that more prospective customers will see the message.

According to a recent study by there’s a lot of misplacement of ads on sites that will guarantee they either won’t work (wasted budget) or will damage your brand image (way worse than not working). When you’re trying to “reach the world” with your ad message via an ad exchange…
1. your ad may not have been delivered to the right people
2. the site or web page it landed on didn’t allow your ad to get noticed
3. or the site fails to protect the integrity of your brand.

Location, location, location. I could apply that real estate adage to any of those three issues above. Having a successful online campaign is all about being in front of the right people hopefully in an environment where they’re thinking about your product – luggage on a travel site, walkers on a geriatric healthcare site, dresses on a prom site. You get the picture. But what happens too often is that the dresses end up on a duck hunting site, the walkers end up on a maternity site, and the luggage ends up on a porn site. It happens.

Like a speeding bullet! That is not how prospects should be exposed to your ads. Either there’s too much going on (bells, whistles, videos, obnoxious ads) or the placement is such that people can’t see your ad (it’s below the fold, the page changes, ad rotations are too fast. In the AdSafe study their visibility criteria was for an ad to be visible and clickable for one second or more. That’s really a low bar to set. Even then the numbers were scary. If they can’t see it, your precious ad dollars are being wasted.

Who put me here? You don’t ever want to hear that from any of your banner ads (not that you would). As in the example of the luggage on a porn site (or an illegal drug site, download site, pirate site), being in the wrong place can be wasteful and it can damage your brand image. Wasteful because you’re not reaching anyone interested in buying your products or services. Damaging because you’re now associated with that site. Time to call

Fear not. There are fantastic products that address those issues very effectively. Here are two – AdSafeMedia and DoubleVerify. Both keep you or your media buyer so completely informed that you can virtually eliminate all but the most advantageous ad placements. Both give you peace of mind to know you’re not flushing your hard earned resources down “le toilet.”

Now let’s talk about waste in your TV budget. OMG!.

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