By: Jay Friedman, COO of Goodway Group (http://www.goodwaygroup.com)
It seems the industry has battled for years over 4th party ad calls. Publishers don’t like them because it’s extra load time. Agencies and advertisers love them because they are usually there to verify, provide additional data, or serve a very useful function. The real problem is that with many publishers not wanting or allowing 4th party ad calls, ad tags could very easily integrate 5th, 6th, and 7th party ad calls at this point – there are that many great services that deliver value. How will the industry tackle this?
First, let’s quickly identify where they’re coming from. Having an audience measurement pixel, like one from Quantcast, in each ad would sure be nice. Then we can see the general makeup of the audience who is viewing the ad and whether or not it fits the target we wanted to hit. Having verification is a must, like a pixel from Adometry or DoubleVerify. Certainly there are times where two ad servers are used, such as a rich media ad server but then also a standard ad server so all data can be in one place. We’re up to six (user, publisher, and standard ad server are the first three.) And more valuable metrics and verification services keep coming up. How can we integrate this value without hanging up the user’s experience to such that no publisher will accept all this?
One solution is a universal tag container that cookie matches with each of these companies and outright transfers the pixel firing to its own servers. TagMan is a container solution but it still requires pixels to be fired while the user is on the page. It delays them do it doesn’t delay load, but if the user navigates away too quickly, the calls aren’t made. The other solution would be for ad serving companies to buy these other companies and integrate them into their own ad call. If you’re an ad serving company looking to make a real challenge to DoubleClick, installing all of this functionality within a 3rd party ad server would be enough reason for a whole lots of advertisers to make the switch.