Self-Serve Platform v/s Managed Ad-Network
Programmatic advertising offers a variety of choices to marketers & advertisers for their digital campaigns and two of the most widely-used options for running them digitally through a programmatic platform are self-serve and managed service.
What is a Self Serve Platform?
“Self-serve” means that you don’t involve any third-party professionals to take care of your campaigns. From adding the campaign to optimizing it, you all do it by yourself. You just need to make a deposit (as per your budget), upload your creative, choose the right filters to cater to your target audience, and set your campaign. Many Self-Serve provide early training and walk-through to add, run and optimise the campaigns towards desired Goals.
What is an Ad-Network?
An ad network is a mediator between publishers and advertisers and their task is an aggregation of ad supply from publishers and matching it with advertiser’s demand. In an ad network your campaign is managed by a bunch of Professionals who can help you create and execute your marketing plan. This has been one of the oldest and traditional ways of running Digital Marketing Campaigns.
Which one to choose? It depends on various factors, let’s dig in to know more.
Freedom and Control
A self-serve platform gives you freedom, control and authority to manage your campaign from customising every aspect of advertising strategy to frequency of audience targeting, to even the placement of your advertisement. In simple words the campaigns can be created, launched and optimized by you which makes it a perfect fit for advertisers who are comfortable with buying programmatically and managing a campaign directly .
On the other hand, in an Ad Network the media strategists handle the entire campaign and you are dependent on them without a direct control over the campiagn .
Transparency: Since you create and manage the campaign, you are well informed about it’s performance. You can easily navigate and change the course of your campaigns post knowing where it works the best. Besides this you can even make a whitelist or a preferred list of the apps which you think are best suited for your campaign or blacklist the apps to block invalid traffic before fraudulent installs happen.
Whereas in an Ad-Network your campaign is managed by a service provider which means decreased transparency and control over your budget as most ad networks don’t disclose impressions per site . Secondly there are chances that the analytics do not match up with the metrics provided by the networks, which is why they are called the black box without a lot of obvious visibility into how they do what they do.
Real-Time Reports: In a self-serve platform, insightful reports are just a click away and conversions are updated every few hours on the dashboard, so the advertisers can keep track of how campaigns are performing. Secondly, your account balance and conversion count are also visible. But in ad networks such kind of real time reporting is missing and we are always dependent on POC for timely insights, which often can create a sync issue over weekends or Off hours.
Access & Support: In a network making changes or executing campaigns requires speaking with an ad ops specialist, something that can limit both time and the ease of making changes. Whereas in self-serve, advertisers can access their ads or campaigns anytime and make the changes as required.
Ad Spent: A self-serve platform is ideal for mobile advertisers that are trying to get started on a small budget. On the other hand in an ad-network there is always a minimum commitment of an ad spend requirement.
A/ B Testing: In a self-serve platform since the campaign is managed by the advertiser so he can do the A/B testing to determine which strategy performs best and improves future campaigns. Whereas in an ad network, the campaign is managed by someone else so the possibility of testing is less.
Expert Handling:In an ad network your campaign is managed by a professional who is experienced and well aware about the trends of digital marketing and what drives the result whereas in a self-serve it is solely managed by you so the chances of a campaign going wrong exist.
We understand that both the platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses so deciding which way to run the digital campaign is entirely up to the advertiser. But the control, flexibility, and transparency that a self-serve platform offers, is surely an added advantage for the advertiser.
Why not have a mix of both?
We at AppLabs Media, are offering a mix of both, we call it “A managed self-serve platform“. Where we offer Transparency of a Self-Serve with Personal Expert guidance to ensure achieving all granular and major Marketing targets.