Players in the Online Advertising Space

Ad Exchanges: AdECN, Adsdaq,
Platform for buying and selling ad impressions. It is important to understand who buys the impressions on an exchange platform. It is not merely publishers selling to traditional advertisers. For instance, other exchanges, ad networks, and of course agencies could all be buying traffic. Furthermore, their are Optimal Buying Platforms which allow agencies to specifically segment as they purchase across exchanges. Usually the traffic on exchanges is “remnant” traffic.

Ad Networks (Brand): Valueclick, Yahoo, Platform-A
Brand Ad Networks align publisher inventory directly with advertiser campaigns.

Ad Networks (Remnant)
Acquire bulk traffic from exchanges, publisher partners and own sites and then monetize that traffic upstream with a “brand” ad network. These guys usually do not have a direct relationship with advertisers. For instance, if a remnant ad network works with Yahoo, then Yahoo serves the Ad and manages the relationship with the advertiser.  Yahoo would then provide the remnant ad network with a “TQ Score” which correspondence to the ad networks commision for sending Yahoo the traffic.

Ad Network Optimization: Rubicon Project, Pubmatic, AdMeld
Calls out to a number of ad networks in near real time, milliseconds, and aligns the publisher’s inventory with the ad network which can provide the highest eCPM.

Advertisers: Progressive Insurance, Efficient Frontier, Group M
Advertisers are the ones who fund the entire ecosystem. Their satisfaction is imperative.

Agency Platforms: Viviki, Adnetik
They provide the automated, demand-side optimization in the ad buying process. In short, developing demand-side optimization algorithms which are only influenced by the advertisers goals.

Analytics: Quantcast
They tag a site to determine the makeup of the people visiting in terms of psychographic or demographic characteristics or content affinity. So they could tag to see the type of users who come their and purchase and then apply those insights to find a much larger group of people with similar qualities throughout the Web.

Behavioral Targeting: Turn, Revenue Science
Simply put behavioral targeting is serving ads based on user behavioral. For instance, the type of sites they visit and what they searched.

DataExchangers: BlueKai, eXelate
Data Exchangers will generally parnter with ad networks and ad servers to provide enhanced targeting and segmentation of audiences. For instance, Adconion recently announced that through a partnerships with Blue Kai they are able to better target and provide more granular reporting. In short, data, like impressions has become a “commodity” (although many people hate using the word “commodity.”) Meaning that data can be exchanged and valued. To provide some background, publishers, social networks and other sites will sell the data to the data exchangers who then sell the information to agencies and ad networks. In short, data exchangers make it possible to say rather than “I want to buy inventory on these types of sites… you can now say “I want to buy this audience.” Extremely powerful stuff.

Optimal Buying Platforms: Media Math, X+1
They work with agencies to optimize and help them manage their buying across exchanges. They usually have relationships with many agencies and ad exchanges. In short, they help make sense of the ad exchanges for the agencies.

Publishers:,, AdNetworks.NET
Publishers provide the content that attract the traffic.

Retargeting: Dapper, Fetchback, Blizzard (DidIt)
When a visitor visits a website a cookie is attached to the visitor and then will later see an ad from that company. Many retargeting technologies are now behavioral. For instance, imagine a visitor goes to, a travel site, and looks for airfare rates to Austin. The visitor will later not only see ads for, but in the ad they will see ads for travel to Austin.

Site Representation: Waterfront Media, Gorilla Nation Media
Directly work with publishers to monetize their traffic. Usually only large, premium publishers will use a site rep company. Site rep companies are essentially an extended a sales/client service team for the publisher.

Traffic Quality Companies: Anchor Intelligence, Click Forensics
They help advertisers, publishers and ad networks manage their traffic quality. For advertisers, they determine the amount of fraud in their campaigns. For publishers, they help them route their traffic effectively. For instance, maybe Yahoo wouldn’t pay on traffic but another ad network would. A Traffic Quality Service could help the publisher to route their traffic to the most efficient source. For ad networks, they provide publisher traffic quality insight and help with billing decisions.

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