Because of the Internet, differentiation between media companies is blurring. Newspaper photographers now shoot video for his or her websites. Broadcast companies offer classified ads on their 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 an individual 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 are correct insofar as they record the booking, pricing, sizing and billing of ads, they don’t track the potency of the ads. That’s a significant difference from online ad-tracking systems. naija news Another major distinction is print publishers are those spending money on and managing the newspaper software, whereas online publishers piggyback on someone else’s software, usually free to them.
Although business software is the most complex software utilized by newspapers, here’s an easy exemplory case of how it works. Once a newspaper gets a method up and running (which takes a lot of customization, training and money, by the way), the system knows the rates and ad sizes for all publications offered by that newspaper. Someone at the newspaper then enters an insertion order in to the system. For example, 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 within their system, enters a new 4X5 ad for them, the system prices it at $400 ($20 X 20 inches), and saves it. Unlike online ad-tracking systems utilized 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 can also enter a payment for that advertiser and apply it to the ad. The system allows newspapers to send out a regular bill to the advertiser showing most of the ads that ran and the full total due. Once the advertiser remits payment, an accounting person will enter that payment into the system and apply it to the appropriate ads or invoices.
Some business systems also have modules for managing the actual creatives (the ads themselves), as well as monitoring the orders for online ads. But they generally don’t manage the uploading of the ads, or tracking the client responses to those ads. That’s where online ad-tracking systems come in.
Online publishers who wish to place ads on their 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 would like 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 form 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 a commercial tracking system (e.g. Direct Track or LinkTrust). The networks allow publishers to log within their tracking system. In case a publisher joins multiple networks, the publisher will have access to any or all the systems utilized by those networks.
Once logged in, publishers grab the HTML code for whatever ad campaigns they choose to run. When they paste that code within 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 are also in a position to begin 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 for as a result of running that campaign. Unlike newspaper software where only the newspaper has access to the system, both publishers and advertisers have access to online tracking systems so they really both discover how successful the campaigns are. Online tracking systems also differ from newspaper systems for the reason that the advertisers are the ones that dictate what the price of the campaign will be, and the actual payout isn’t known until following the campaign has been running. With newspaper ads, an advertiser knows just what the ad will surely cost ahead of the ad runs. With online tracking systems, even though the advertiser and publisher have a concept of what the price for every single lead or sale might be, the full total cost is dependent on how the ad actually performs. That’s why affiliate marketing is also known as performance marketing.
Online tracking systems do a decent job of tracking ad performance (unfortunately you will find 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 you to export that data (or enter it manually) into Quickbooks.