Clearing up misconceptions
For all that has been written and said about ad network transparency, it's surprising how often the misconception still arises that networks do not provide transparency. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, at least with some networks.
Perhaps the confusion is because transparency takes different forms. To illustrate the degrees of transparency offered by networks, and why these different tiers are necessary, it's helpful to review the role of networks and how they deliver their inventory.
Ad networks were built to deliver performance and scale, not to sell individual sites. And while it's beneficial that most networks have adapted to advertisers' need for transparency, they were initially created to deliver audiences in ways that would help marketers reach a specific performance objective.
Most networks can provide an extremely high degree of transparency; however, as a general rule, more transparency comes at a higher cost. To better understand where the trade-offs related to transparency begin and end, look at how a network structures its relationships with publishers and the value proposition this creates.
Author notes: Matthew Boyd is senior vice president at ValueClick Media. Read full bio.