Interactive Investor slammed for running teeny-weeny ads

Not guilty, we say

Investors Chronicle has taken a pop at online rival Interactive Investor (iii.co.uk) for running smaller than average banner ads (like what The Register sometimes does) It quotes an unnamed iii.co.uk advertiser, who says "The pages impressions were nothing like we anticipated. The banners were cut to half the size expected. We would not do business with this company again." But what has iii.co.uk done wrong? The company uses NetGravity's ad server, which has good reporting and auditing functions. Presumably it can show its customers how many ads it served and where it served them. Investors Chronicle goes way off beam when it discusses the general problem of sites that exaggerate their page impressions. ABC Electronic refuses to count 30-40 per cent of pages served by a typical web site. These are picked up by automated robots, spiders and real people lurking behind proxy servers. But if Net Gravity is anything like DART (which we use), iii.co.uk's ad server will not serve ads to robots or spiders. However, it will fool proxy servers into serving pages again each time a story is requested (a piece of cod database query containing a unique number in the ad tag stops the server from digging into cache). This is a useful feature for web sites -- it shows The Register that we have up to 10 per cent more readers and page impression (behind proxy servers) than ABC says we do. So what about the dwarf adlets complaint? Interactive Investor says its adverts were half normal size so would that be 234x80) until May -- and that all advertisers should have been aware of this. Where an ad is placed -- and how often the ad is shown, is more important than how big the ad is, in our experience. Size does matter, as far as the creatives are concerned. Ad agency darlings do not like have to redesign their banners, just so they fit one eccentric site. And why should they (The Register says hypocritically? So what about the response? Presumably, the disgruntled advertiser paid top dollar for his banner ads -- click-through rates are dropping and ad rates are not falling fast enough to reflect this. But we wonder whether this advertiser ran a direct mail type come-on (these work better than corporate branding). Did the advertiser impose frequency-capping (so you don't show the same ad more than three times, after which the response rate drops)? This is a must, especially where the CPM rate is high -- Were the visuals refreshed during the campaign? For other advertisers we recommend -- use only sites with recent ABCe certificates -- recent is the key, here. Be very suspicious of claims made by any site whose ABC is more than six months old. What do they have to hide? And if sites are charging commercial CPM rates (£15 and upwards) make sure they have an ad server. Insist on your right to look at the stats. ®

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