Banner advertising networks. How do they work?

Banner networks are a promotion instrument similar with partner (affiliated) marketing. However, it has a number of substantial differences and specific terms to apply the method.

What are banner ad networks

Banner is a text or visual block, clicking on which will bring you to some specific resource. These blocks can be paid or in some cases free.

If we are talking about banner ad network, this is the system, uniting a number of platforms for sharing text or graphic blocks. The principle of work is quite interesting – banner sharing is free, and the main regulating principle is the percent of shows, as well as the commission of the owner of the platform (which is deducted from the shows).

Let’s check the example. For example, you enter the system, the commission of which is 10%, agreeing to show 1.000 side blocks at your page. After this you get 900 shows of your own banner (which equals to 1.000 minus 10%) at the platforms of other participants of the system.

Thus, the difference between such systems and other instruments is that the commission is taken not with money, but with the number of shows of the banner.

Types of systems

The systems of ad blocks exchange can be characterized by two principles:

  • User limits;
  • The used block formats.

Hence, coming from the limits, applied to the owners of the platforms, the networks are divided into:

  • Universal (general) – they have almost no conditions or the conditions are very slight (for example, porn sites or the resources violating the law).
  • Regional – where banner sharing is dedicated to certain regions, republics or areas.
  • Specialized – Banner sharing takes place among the platforms of equal or similar topics.
  • Characteristic limitations – banner sharing happens only between the resources, which correspond to certain characteristics, no matter if it’s about usability, attendance or content.
  • The systems can be also recognized by the formats:
  • Universal ones – where one system has several subsystems, which are created for each supported format.
  • Multiformat – Support all formats and sometimes even have a unified statistic of shows by one partner account.
  • Specialized – banner sharing of ads of the same format.
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Assessment and effectiveness optimization

To assess the result, a standard CTR metrics is used (Click Through Ratio), and it’s measured in percent ratio, which is equal to the amount of clicks by the ad block divided by the number of shows.

Banner sharing must also take targeting into account, meaning that it’s about shows to a certain public. One can set certain platforms, regions, periodicity, the time of show and many other parameters. Many of these options are paid, and some networks charge a high commission for these targeting features.

The owners of the platforms have a set of other options to optimize the campaign, setting the blacklist for example – a list of platforms undesired for shows, or a whitelist.

There is also an option of reverse targeting, where website owner can ban certain banners from being displayed on their website, for example, competitors’ banners.

In conclusion…

The main pros of the method are low financial investments. However, one needs to think how profitable the campaign really is. Managing the banner campaign requires sensible time investments. Besides, you’ll have to place ads of other people, which makes your page heavier, making its design worse and decreasing usability – thus, you may end up losing your target visitors.

On the other hand, this instrument can be pretty useful – especially for entering the market of a new campaign with a limited budget. In any case, the final decision is after you.


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