A new ad category to confuse advertisers


adotas_med_01.jpgADOTAS — Secondary premium inventory.

It sounds like ad inventory that’s good, but not really as good as the premium stuff. But you’ll pay more for it than the cheaper remnant inventory. Who’s going to figure that one out?

 I came across the term reading the Rubicon Project’s latest market report. Apparently, there is a whole class of inventory between premium and non-premium that is undervalued and undersold. And research indicates it could be worth billions in incremental revenue to publishers. Of course, publishers like the idea, including Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO of Forbes.com who is quoted in the market report as saying that the notion of remnant inventory “is…horrible and ridiculous,” adding that “just because we haven’t sold it doesn’t mean it’s less valuable.”

As noted yesterday, non-premium display is expected to be the highest-growth category in online media in the coming years. The problem with this new idea is who decides what’s “secondary” premium inventory, publishers? Well then. Methinks the secondary premium inventory will boom. Good for ad networks and publishers. Not so much for advertisers. Unless someone else can accurately verify its worth and then convince advertisers.


  1. This sounds like a perishible food product.

    I once encountered a store that specialized in bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, etc, probably sourced from supermarket leftovers. Everything arrived on the evening of its expiry date. Marked down, despite being perfectly OK if you eat it in the next couple of days. But still costing money, as opposed to the even-more-leftover stuff in the rubbish bin out back.

    Web ad inventory is like that. A perishible item. I have x-number-of-impressions per month. They are all worth about the same amount, IF they are filled with paying ads. An impression that will happen on July 31 doesn’t become less valueable just because it hasn’t been sold yet, as of July 23. It has the same *potential* to do what an advertiser wants – branding, click, lead, sale – as any impression that has already been sold and served with an ad.

    OTOH, there may be an issue of, “If she’s so great, why is she single?” Meaning that, the still-unsold impression’s status might be due to something wrong with it. Perhaps past asvertisers have shunned that impression, due to a history of poor performance. Perhaps there is banner-burnout, and the advertiser has already worn out its welcome. Perhaps there is a general trend of ad flights starting and expiring due to budgets, and now no more money to buy that impression.

    If you ask me, well of course, ALL of my inventory is Primium-With-A-Capital-P. First, last, and all in between. I set the highest possible value on each and every impression. Now pay up.

    If you ask the advertiser, well of course, they are looking to buy a certain number of impressions this month (or other flight period) at the most efficient cost. It is the 23rd of the month, so give them a discount.

    Overall, it is like that store. The merchant cuts prices on expiring bread, to avoid the total loss of waiting even longer, and dumping it in the rubbish. The buyer takes the extra effort of going to the specific location, and tolorating a stigma and risk, in order to pay less.


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