Three Ways Ads Improve Content Quality on the Web

We’ve collectively come a long way in the past ten or twenty years. Even further if we go back to the state the Web was at during its earliest days. The Web has turned into one of the world’s primary media distributors. Articles, songs, videos and more are streamed in real-time.

Much of this innovation has been driven by the revenue generated through advertising. Without advertising, webmasters would be unable to grow their websites or add content because it would not be financially sustainable. These three improvements are clear examples of how advertising has helped shape the technology behind Web use.


Websites have to compete for a user’s interest, which means that speed is essential. Advertisers are also working under the same constraints, these two entities sharing bandwidth. That means that both sides must develop strategies to serve content faster. That involves loading fewer elements that make the user wait. That’s driving pressure on telecom companies to provide better bandwidth services, and on developers to develop code that uses fewer assets.


Revenue generated from ads goes back into business development through hiring writers and maintaining a staff. Every blog that can hire an editor, a staff writer or a guest poster can provide high quality content thanks to advertising dollars. Even when a publisher attempts a subscription-based model, they find themselves using ads to supplement the income brought in by subscriptions. The print industry used free editions to try to entice users, the same way blogs of today use free but enticing content by writers paid to make it that way.


Today’s blogs are able to maintain their own level of independence thanks to their choice of advertisers. In previous forms of media, losing a large sponsor was a death note for the publication or media outlet. Today’s blogs and websites can cater to a variety of advertisers who come and go as they please. “Buy side platforms” match users interested in certain kinds of content, and fit a site’s demographics with ads targeted toward their interests.

The targeting is independent of the journalism, so the publisher does not need to worry as much about specific sponsors being driven away from controversial topics. Others are available to fill the void. This doesn’t give license to be flippant or rude, but it does free webmasters and bloggers to explore issues from many angles without fear of reprisal in the form of revenue.

Bio: As CEO of engage:BDR, Ted Dhanik is an evangelist for the technology behind digital marketing. Ted Dhanik has blogged for Venture Beat, AdAge and other prominent blogs, and has insight into both sides of this debate. Ted Dhanik and the team at engage:BDR are working hard to drive innovation in advertising that improves user experience.

This New Method of Geo-Location Will Change Direct Response

Direct response relies on reaching your target audience with advertising they want to see. If you aren’t hyper-targeting your advertising, you’re literally wasting money running ads that won’t help you gather actionable data. If you’ve exhausted all keyword and demographic targeting, it might be time to go hyper-local. It’s a delicate balancing act, but some new methods for targeting consumers have pushed us toward the apex of direct response.

Location Targeting Evolved

Recently, engage:BDR was tasked with helping the current mayor of Los Angeles win a nonpartisan election over a fierce challenger. The tactic that engage:BDR chose was to collate offline voter data with online advertising practices. Essentially, the company studied voters and developed profiles to target.

But there was something new at play. Location targeting wasn’t just looking at cities or states, engage:BDR was targeting latitude and longitude points on the map. This has huge implications.

Consider that advertisers want to verify their targeting is accurate. Going hyper local lets advertisers hone their efforts toward a specific location, perhaps an office building. Although this will be a gradual roll out, advertisers will eventually be able to target extremely precise locations without worry for wasted spend. That’s a lot of potential coffee drinkers for the neighborhood Starbucks to target with coupons and ads.

While there is no evidence for supplanting brand loyalty, yet, there is the fact that these mobile buyers are in situations where an ad can appeal to them.

A good example might be competing with a fast food joint. If a supermarket wanted to compete, they could show ads for tasty soups or sandwiches when customers are near a burger joint. Restaurants could compete with each other offering coupons or showing ads for new menu additions with lower prices.

This has even greater implications on the local level. How many bars would benefit from being able to target every bar hopper on a Saturday night? Advertisers can also utilize a time frame to make sure that they are hitting interested, motivated buyers. Toyota could target customers who have visited a Honda dealership in the past 30 days.

Hyper local is coming to the world of digital, and it will help target the consumers brands want to reach at the times and places where they are most likely to buy.

Common Terms in Display Advertising


If you want to be successful in banner advertising, it helps to understand the terminology and how to use it properly.  Knowing the difference between publisher and placement, for instance, is crucial to understanding bidding strategies. Here are some terms you’re likely to come across, with short definitions and tips to use them.

Publisher and Placement

Publishers are the folks who host ads. Usually, a publisher owns a highly-trafficked website that conforms to a niche. CNN is a publisher; they host content and ads to support that content. Those ads are fit to what’s known as a placement. These placements basically mean “the location of an ad.” When you bid on placements, you’re bidding for a specific space on the website. A display advertising network that sells placements sells space on a website by ranking bidders and rewarding the top spot. A placement can be anywhere, including in content or in the footer.


Impressions are the number of times someone views your ad, or your landing page (if you are not using a banner). The technical definition is a single display of content online via a user’s web-enabled device. Impressions are one method of selling traffic to an advertiser, as opposed to selling by click. Generally speaking, the advertiser is charged each time the server generates an impression.

Understand these terms, and what makes them distinct, and you’ll be able to build and scale a successful campaign.

Why Social Ads aren’t the Smart Buy They Used to Be


Social networks used to represent the opportunity for marketers to connect more directly with their audience. But the CEO of engage:BDR, Ted Dhanik, argues in an article on Adotas that the rising cost of advertising there has made social prohibitive today. The fact is that there are many variables that play into why Facebook ads aren’t the smart buy they used to be.

Unreliable Data

Facebook’s data delivers metrics on user engagement and social mentions, but this data doesn’t help you discover whether your ads are actually working. You can review conversion data, but there is a missing link between the sale and the user seeing the ad that Facebook doesn’t track. Advertising outside of Facebook frees you to pursue different data points and gather the figures you need to see in order to improve conversions.

It’s not that Facebook is lying to you, it’s that the data it reports isn’t always relevant to you. Not every ad needs a share value to have a success factor, so this metric is less useful than banner advertising analytics that tell you whether a user listened to the audio or video on your site.

User Intent

Facebook is a social network, meaning users come to socialize. If we think of this like a common space in the real world, it’s easy to see how difficult it could be to judge a person’s intentions. For one, that user could be on Facebook for any one of a number of reasons. Not every Facebook user is fully engaged with the network either, leaving out potentially millions or billions of customers you could reach elsewhere. Though Facebook still has value, there is definite reason to seek traffic from other sources like display advertising.

Why Leaving Facebook may Increase ROI


In the fledgling days of display advertising, when a marketer wanted a specific placement on a site, he had only a handfull of options. Social media offered the chance to appeal to users by interest, while platforms like Google offered the volume marketers were looking for. Improvements to both of these systems have kept them viable, but the advertising industry has kept up. Going outside these systems may benefit your bottom line, according to Ted Dhanik of engage:BDR.

Unreliable Users

The first red flag for businesses with ad dollars is quality of traffic. Facebook provides extensive metrics to help you discover the engagement levels of the posts you make, and the possible shares your post can get. They do not provide you metrics on other elements your ad competed against, like the news feed or a user’s messaging. These other factors make the audience unreliable.

Banner advertising relies on targeting and intent to get the message across.  Shifting your focus to a site where user intent is well-defined will improve your ROI.

Alternate Platforms

Facebook provides a good service to advertisers looking for a place that offers good on-page placement in a niche that is relevant to their audience. They are no longer the only platform allowing this level of targeting, and that’s caused businesses to shift spending elsewhere.

The platforms also come with lower costs for the same amount of traffic. The difference is that you’re going through individual websites instead of one “catch-all” platform. Lowering the cost per click or per view will have positive effects on your ROI.

Ted Dhanik Discusses Self Advertising vs. Managed Advertising

Recently Ted Dhanink was interviewed by Performance Insider. He discusses pros and cons of full-service or self-service banner advertising. He also discusses mobile advertising and how it has changed the advertising industry. Ted also gives advice on optimizing your creative for better conversions and ROI, and how to control your loss by using RTB at the beginning of a campaign.

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You can also watch this on Youtube –> Ted Dhanik CEO of Engage:BDR on Mobile Marketing ROI

Ted Dhanik Discusses Facebook and Media Buying


Digital Journal has published an article featuring an interview with Ted Dhanik, president and CEO of engage: BDR. Titled “Ted Dhanik — Engage: BDR’s CEO on media buying vs. Facebook,” the article is a great introduction to the company’s products and services. It’s also a look at why the company is so successful at what they do.

In the article, Dhanik discusses why brands are better off going with engage: BDR for their CPC, display, and media buying needs instead of using a company like Facebook. He suggests that engage: BDR offers far more specialized technologies than Facebook and that when a brand goes through only one company (Facebook) they are “missing out on other potential traffic sources and customers.” Also in the article, Dhanik explains how his company is able to provide safe traffic.

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