Two thirds of advertisers are currently working with online ad networks, while almost half say they are using them more than they were a year ago.

This is one of the findings of Econsultancy’s Online Advertising Survey Report, which was produced in association with the Rubicon Project, based on a survey of more than 250 advertisers and agencies.

In our Online Advertising Networks Buyers Guide, we estimated that the UK market for ad networks was worth between £300m and £350m in 2008, as well as predicting further growth of 10% during 2009.

This research backs up that prediction, and suggests that advertisers in the UK are seeing the benefits of using ad networks, with 44% saying that the proportion
of budget spent on ad networks has gone up in the past year.

An average of 31% of online display advertising budgets are spent on networks, and 70% work with at least three different networks, while the most important factors when deciding to use a particular ad network were the audience (55%), reach (18%) and price (17%).

Benefits of networks

Networks can have significant benefits for both publishers and advertisers; they provide an opportunity for publishers to sell more inventory, either by directing all of its ad sales through networks or using them for unsold inventory.

For advertisers and media buyers, networks allow them to conduct campaigns across many websites at once, and to target the right audiences for the brand or product in question.

67% of respondents believe that increased reach is a benefit of working with ad networks, while other benefits include flexible payment models, cost savings,  improved targeting, and saved time when planning campaigns.

The main concern for advertisers and media buyers when working with ad networks are that their ads will appear next to inappropriate content, as happened a couple of years ago with the BNP’s Facebook page.

This was considered a challenge for 67% of respondents, though they are taking steps to avoid this problem by ensuring that networks are IASH accredited, agreements are put in place before campaigns begin, and taking control and checking where their ads are appearing.