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Media and Communications

Online Ads 101: Running a display campaign

Online Ads 101: Running a display campaign


We see display ads all over the internet – but
how do they get there? It’s not magic. Usually they get placed there
after a lot work has been done by an advertising agency. Agencies specialize in helping companies
market their business. Many businesses don’t want to take valuable
time away from what they’re doing to focus on how to market their products. That’s why
many of them hire specialists at ad agencies to do the job for them. It’s important to note that some companies
*do* want to manage their own advertising. In the advertising world, this group is called
marketers. Right now, we’re going to focus on agencies,
since they’re more prevalent. But whether it’s an agency or a marketer, the basic steps
in launching an online display campaign are the same. Let’s say an advertiser has created a new
product and they want the whole world to know about it. The advertiser will let the agency
know about the product and request a new ad campaign to promote it. Once the agency agrees to launch the campaign,
somebody has to figure out where they should run the ads, what the creative tone should
be, and, of course, how to get the ads on the websites. It sounds like a big undertaking – and it
is. So, who does what? Let’s start with figuring out where to buy
ad space. This is the responsibility of a Media Planner — sometimes called a Media
Buyer. They have to create a list of sites where
they want their ads to show. They pick sites based on where their audience spends time
online. This list of sites is called a Media Plan. The Media Planner negotiates with each
site to determine how much it will cost to show their ads there. While the media planning is underway, the
ads need to get made! The creative team – sometimes from a creative
agency, sometimes from the same agency as the planner – comes up with a concept and
design. Then, they build the ads. In this industry, people call ads Creatives. So, we’ll
be using both terms from here on out. After the ads are approved by the advertiser,
they need to get uploaded to an ad server. This is where a Trafficker comes in. The trafficker
goes into the ad server, uploads creatives, and assigns them to run on sites from the
media plan. Once everything is set up, the trafficker
generates ad tags. Ad tags are little pieces of code that allow websites to request an
ad. These ad tags get sent to the publisher who
sets them up in their web server and the campaign is ready to run! At the end of a campaign, the agency pulls
a big report to show advertisers where their money went and what they got out of the online
ad campaign. This is time well spent. The advertiser wants
to make sure they’re spending wisely, and the agency wants their client to be happy
so they come back for the next big campaign.

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