ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — Contextual advertising has been around for about as long as the Internet has been with us. Owned and operated by NetLine, RevResponse has worked hard to make an imprint on the industry.
David Fortino, appointed Vice President of Audience Development at NetLine spoke with Adotas about how to create — and keep — a flourishing company in the contextual ad biz.
ADOTAS: What is your experience in the field of contextual advertising? How did that prepare you to launch RevResponse?
DAVID FORTINO: We’ve actually been in the space for a long-time. RevResponse is owned and operated by NetLine Corporation, a leading B2B performance-based integrated marketing company that provides targeted online lead generation and marketing services for Advertisers, Marketers, and Publishers. NetLine was founded in 1994 as the first online subscription services provider for B2B magazine publishers with its TradePub.com.
Prior to NetLine, I headed-up Audience Development for VerticalNet where I drove the strategy behind aggressively driving contextual audience growth for the VerticalNet/VertMarkets’ 68 BtoB online properties. I ultimately spearheaded and implemented a plan resulting in VerticalNet’s audience development strategy shifting from a traditional pull model to a distribution and syndication model thus shifting cost dependencies away from internal resources.
ADOTAS: There is a lot of news about contextual advertising. Why do you think it has the potential for a higher ROI? Can you give us some statistics?
FORTINO: If you can remove yourself from the day to day jargon and buzz of our industry, it really comes down to common sense. When you can provide a visitor with a message/offer that contextually relates to the content they are viewing, you’re that much closer to structuring a true 1-to-1 marketing relationship with the user…the ultimate goal of any marketer regardless of medium or industry.
ADOTAS: Can you explain exactly how you create opportunities for publishers to make money through contextual advertising online? Can you walk us through the options and process?
FORTINO: Sure! The beauty of RevResponse is that we don’t impose any limitations on the ways or methods publishers can promote our offers. Most ad networks and affiliate programs give publishers a canned group of banners or text links for promotions and that’s about it. We obviously do those, too, but we didn’t see the point in stopping there. With RevResponse, every corner of the publisher’s world becomes a potential revenue generator, and we give them the tools to make it happen. No matter how they reach their visitors, or what their professional interests are, RevResponse has the ad units to fit their format and the content to fit their needs.
Bloggers tend to use our service in an entirely different way than say a typical destination site. We allow bloggers, or anyone for that matter, to select specific offers made available via the slick RevResponse Offer Catalog and blog about them. Not only are they instantly establishing an incremental revenue stream, they’re also able to create additional content for their site that is monetized by any CPM ads they already have running. If they simply want to let us do the leg-work, they can leverage our easy-to-use online wizard that walks them through step-by-step to create the perfect offer for their audience, then provides the finished HTML code for placement in their site, email, or feed. Email … we also allow our publishers to promote all of our offers via email in their newsletters or other email based communication vehicles.
ADOTAS: Why do you think CPA is more effective than CPC?
FORTINO: For Publishers, the earning potential is greater assuming they have the right kind of audience. For Marketers, CPA is inherently less risky and removes the issue of click-fraud altogether. With the above being said, there definitely appears to be a balance in the industry that should carry on for some time. I don’t particularly see one model going away over another any time soon. Both have their place in the market and it’s up the Publishers and Marketers to identify how to best leverage both models to their benefit.
ADOTAS: NetLine, the parent company to RevResponse, claims to have several partnerships with publishers. Who are the publishers that NetLine partners with? Are there examples you can give us? Are there any larger deals in the pipeline our readers can know about?
FORTINO: At this point, our network consists of over 15,000 publishers covering 30+ distinct industries with global reach. The network consists of publishers of all shapes and sizes. We work with major players such as AllBusiness.com and CodeProject.com all the way down to extremely small industry specific bloggers. I’d love to take the wraps-off of some of the larger distribution opportunities we’re working on but you know how that goes…stay tuned.