Advertisers are increasingly dependent on huge networks of websites, such as the Google Display Network, to get their ads onto as many websites as possible. The main benefit of this approach is efficiency, which should—in theory—translate into cost savings. But at St. Gregory Group, we’ve always contended that the best value for digital advertising is in direct-publisher relationships. The ongoing digital controversies over Google “bots” and YouTube illustrate why.
You may have heard that Google is under fire for click fraud, in which ad publishers—or even Russian hackers—game the system by creating “bots” or paying low-wage workers to repeatedly click on web ads. This scam increases revenue to unethical websites—and racks up big bills for advertisers, which get charged per click. In response, many advertisers are cancelling their spends in the Google network.
Honda, French advertising giant Havas, and even the British government have all backed out of the Google ad network for now. They’re also nixing YouTube, which is owned by Google and is dealing with fallout of its own. Companies that advertise on YouTube have discovered their videos being served next to unsafe content—white supremacist and terrorist videos, for example—without their knowledge.
The problem with YouTube, like the problem with the Google network, is that advertisers are finding their brands damaged by the inability to determine where ads show up.
In a statement released by News Corp, parent company of the Wall Street Journal, CEO Robert Thomson recently said, “Ad fraud is being perpetrated ad nauseam. It is rife throughout the digital world, and is facilitated by some ad agencies, which themselves make money from artificial audiences and pretend page views. Advertisers need to go back to basics to protect their brands from serious damage and to protect themselves from being involved in potentially criminal activity, whether it be supporting extremist groups or funding hardcore pornography.”
St. Gregory Group is selective in choosing ad networks—we prefer direct-publisher relationships, where quality ad networks that work with high-quality and mid-tier passion sites often get first-look access, and consequently fill all of the high-value impressions.
The industry is demanding authentic, viewable impressions. It’s more important than ever to understand exactly what value publishers are providing. If you’re not sure you’re getting high-quality clicks, we’d be happy to discuss the benefits we can add to your current digital advertising strategy.