Thanks to the Internet, differentiation between media companies is blurring. Newspaper photographers now shoot video for his or her websites. Broadcast companies offer classified ads on the sites. Bloggers report local news, and news reporters blog.
However, when it comes to advertising on these different media, the available technologies still cater specifically to just one medium. Newspaper software differs from television software which differs from radio software which differs from online software. Because I’m most acquainted with newspaper software and online software, I’m going to target on the difference between those two.
Newspaper business systems (e.g. AdPro, Mediaspan, SCS) make reference to themselves as ad-tracking software. Although they are correct insofar because they keep track of 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 those investing in 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 most complex software employed by newspapers, here’s an easy exemplory case of how it works. Once a newspaper gets a method up and running (which takes lots of customization, training and money, by the way), the system knows the rates and ad sizes for many publications provided by that newspaper. Someone at the newspaper then enters an insertion order to the system. Like, let’s assume the ad is really 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 fresh 4X5 ad for them, the system 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’ll either place the ad on hold if the advertiser doesn’t have enough credit, or approve it. The ad-entry person can 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 total due. After the advertiser remits payment, an accounting person will enter that payment into the system and use it to the right ads or invoices.
Some business systems also provide modules for managing the specific creatives (the ads themselves), as well as checking the orders for online ads. But they usually don’t manage the uploading of those ads, or tracking the client responses to those ads. That’s where online ad-tracking systems come in.
Online publishers who want to place ads on the sites often use affiliate networks to handle the ad tracking for them. Networks can either be open networks or exchanges (e.g. Commission Junction or Share A Sale), where in actuality the publishers are accountable for choosing which advertising campaigns they want to run, or they may be closed networks (e.g. AvantLink or Affiliate Traction) where in actuality the networks manage the campaigns for the advertisers.
Whichever type of network the publishers join, they will use that network’s ad-tracking software. Each network uses either an ad-tracking system they built in-house, or even a commercial tracking system (e.g. Direct Track or LinkTrust). The networks allow publishers to log within their tracking system. If a publisher joins multiple networks, the publisher may have access to any or all the systems employed by those networks.
Once logged in, publishers grab the HTML code for whatever ad campaigns they opt to run. If they paste that code within their websites, the code refers back once again 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 will also be able to start to see the stats from the campaigns they run to allow them to see how many 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 usage of the system, both publishers and advertisers have usage of online tracking systems so that they both discover how successful the campaigns are. Online tracking systems also differ from newspaper systems for the reason that the advertisers are those who dictate what the price of the campaign will undoubtedly be, and the specific payout isn’t known until after the campaign has been running. With newspaper ads, an advertiser knows exactly what the ad will definitely cost before the ad runs. With online tracking systems, although the advertiser and publisher have an idea of what the fee for each lead or sale may be, the total cost is determined by the way the ad actually performs. That’s why affiliate marketing is also referred to as performance marketing.
Online tracking systems execute a very good job of tracking ad performance (unfortunately there are still ways to defraud the systems, but that’s another topic), and they can inform you what the payout should be. But that’s where they stop. Unlike newspaper business systems that have robust accounts-receivable features, online systems don’t handle billing, receivables, etc. They expect one to export that data (or enter it manually) into Quickbooks.