Thanks to the Internet, differentiation between media companies is blurring. Newspaper photographers now shoot video due to their websites. Broadcast companies offer classified ads on the sites. Bloggers report local news, and news reporters blog.
However, as it pertains to advertising on these different media, the available technologies still cater specifically to a single medium. Newspaper software differs from television software which differs from radio software which differs from online software. Because I’m most familiar with newspaper software and online software, I’m going to focus on the difference between those two.
Newspaper business systems (e.g. AdPro, Mediaspan, SCS) make reference to themselves as ad-tracking software. Although they’re correct insofar because they keep an eye on the booking, pricing, sizing and billing of ads, they don’t track the effectiveness of the ads. That’s a major difference from online ad-tracking systems. naija news Another major distinction is print publishers are the people paying for and managing the newspaper software, whereas online publishers piggyback on someone else’s software, usually free of charge to them.
Although business software is the absolute most complex software employed by newspapers, here’s a straightforward example of how it works. Once a newspaper gets something up and running (which takes a lot of customization, training and money, by the way), the device knows the rates and ad sizes for several publications offered by that newspaper. Someone at the newspaper then enters an insertion order to the system. Like, let’s assume the ad is just a 4X5 ad (four columns by five inches tall) that costs $20 a column inch. The ad-entry person finds the advertiser inside their system, enters a new 4X5 ad for them, the device prices it at $400 ($20 X 20 inches), and saves it. Unlike online ad-tracking systems employed by publishers through affiliate networks, newspapers control what they charge for ads running through their system.
Because the company system contains an accounts-receivable system, it will either place the ad on hold if the advertiser doesn’t have enough credit, or approve it. The ad-entry person may also enter a payment for that advertiser and use it to the ad. The system allows newspapers to send out a regular bill to the advertiser showing all of the ads that ran and the full total due. Once the advertiser remits payment, an accounting person will enter that payment into the device and use it to the right ads or invoices.
Some business systems also provide modules for managing the particular creatives (the ads themselves), as well as checking the orders for online ads. But they generally don’t manage the uploading of these ads, or tracking the consumer responses to those ads. That’s where online ad-tracking systems come in.
Online publishers who wish to place ads on the sites often use affiliate networks to manage the ad tracking for them. Networks can either be open networks or exchanges (e.g. Commission Junction or Share A Sale), where the publishers are responsible for choosing which advertising campaigns they wish to run, or they could be closed networks (e.g. AvantLink or Affiliate Traction) where the networks manage the campaigns for the advertisers.
Whichever type of network the publishers join, they’ll use that network’s ad-tracking software. Each network uses either an ad-tracking system they built in-house, or a commercial tracking system (e.g. Direct Track or LinkTrust). The networks allow publishers to log to their tracking system. If a publisher joins multiple networks, the publisher can have access to all or any the systems employed by those networks.
Once logged in, publishers grab the HTML code for whatever ad campaigns they decide to run. If they paste that code to their websites, the code refers back to the tracking software to pull in the creative for the ad, direct users to the advertiser’s landing page when clicked, and track the impression, click and ultimate lead or sale.
The publishers may also be in a position to see the stats from the campaigns they run to allow them to see the number of impressions, clicks, sales and-most important-the commission they expect to get as a result of running that campaign. Unlike newspaper software where only the newspaper has use of the device, both publishers and advertisers have use of online tracking systems so that they both know how successful the campaigns are. Online tracking systems also vary from newspaper systems in that the advertisers are the ones that dictate what the cost of the campaign will undoubtedly be, and the particular payout isn’t known until following the campaign has been running. With newspaper ads, an advertiser knows exactly what the ad will surely cost prior to the ad runs. With online tracking systems, even though advertiser and publisher have an idea of what the fee for each lead or sale may be, the full total cost is dependent on how the ad actually performs. That’s why affiliate marketing is also called performance marketing.
Online tracking systems execute a very good job of tracking ad performance (unfortunately you can find still methods to defraud the systems, but that’s another topic), and they are able to tell you what the payout should be. But that’s where they stop. Unlike newspaper business systems which have robust accounts-receivable features, online systems don’t handle billing, receivables, etc. They expect you to export that data (or enter it manually) into Quickbooks.