You’ve Got Mail -With Display Ads

Email InventoryDisplay advertising around email is no longer the bottom feeder of inventory I once envisioned.  “Sure, it’s cheap, but it’s email inventory” used to be a common refrain.

Times change.

In fact, over the course of the past few months, numerous industry people have suggested to me that the display ad inventory wrapped around email is a top performer relative to price as ad networks, demand-side platforms, trading desks and “all of the above” buy email inventory.

Surely, there are tons of this type of inventory as Yahoo Mail and Hotmail offer graphical display advertising around email viewed in a web browser.

So, what gives? Why does this type of inventory perform well – at least on the big branded sites according to feedback.

I’ll take a guess or seven.

  • Publishers have gotten smarter – They’ve optimized the email targeting experience for advertisers.  Publishers with email capabilities for the users have so much inventory that it would have been foolish to not do something about improving its value.
  • Heightened level engagement – The user is answering email. Given the numerous emails (or messages) that need to be answered, another message –even from an advertiser – may be A-OK.
  • Scarcity – Speaking from personal experience, with Yahoo! Mail there is only one ad to the right of the browser email client that refreshes with each click within the email client.
  • Reach – Lots of people use email daily if not multiple times a day.  A huge captive audience.
  • The Creative – A display ad is visually compelling next to the text of an email.
  • Audience – Valuable audience that advertisers want to target are using browser-based email.
  • Context – You get better ads in email because its on a branded site – at least for this example, and marketers are willing to spend for this sort of URL placement.

By John Ebbert

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