Industry Eye: Shop Talk - March 2010
Q: "We've been using Google Ad Manager to serve our internal promotional banners, but unfortunately, the benefits of scheduling, tracking, testing and inventory control can't outweigh the cost of the painfully slow load times it's created. Are there any other solutions out there? Any suggestions or research would be gratefully accepted!"
—Renee Racine-Kinnear, director of online customer experience at Indigo Books & Music
A: There are several other companies that can help serve your ads — BittAds, OpenX (a hosted solution) and Trafficspaces to name a few — all of them have different strengths and weaknesses. Trafficspaces, for example, has an easy-to-use self-service interface, and OpenX is a bit pricey comparatively. The only way you'll know which one you like is to try it out. They almost all have free trials and/or money-back guarantees.
With that said, most of the companies you'll look at are really designed for you to place your ads on someone else's network or networks. It's not that they won't work for self-serving ads, but that's not exactly how they're intended, and thus all are a bit cumbersome for that purpose. (And yes, Google is a bit slower than some of the other choices out there, but you can't beat the price!)
Looking at your site, your system doesn't seem very complicated. Perhaps I'm missing something, but you may want to consider building your own management program internally and using one of the free tracking methods to help with analytics. A lot of companies do this, and though they don't always have the bells and whistles outside programs offer, they're speedy and pretty much guaranteed to be the way you want them.
—Amy Africa is the chief imagination officer of web consulting firm Eight by Eight. Reach Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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