Pros and Cons of Ad Intelligence: Is It Really Worth It?

Jun 27, 2017 12:00:00 PM

You’re already strapped for budget as a paid digital advertiser. Why would you want to use part of your budget to pay for ad intelligence software? Or worse yet, have to set up a meeting to ask for more budget?

Often, ad intelligence software can prove its worth in the value it brings to your advertising strategy. Better advertising strategy equals more effective spending. But it’s not for every brand.

First, let’s define what kind of ad intelligence software we’re talking about, and then we’ll get into the details about whether ad intelligence is worth the cost.

What Is Ad Intelligence?

Advertising intelligence refers to the sum of data on a brand’s advertising activities, from channel distribution to spend allocation. The best ad intelligence software allows you to take a deep dive into:

  • Spend
  • Impressions
  • Channel allocation
  • Site distribution
  • Spend timing
  • Ad type

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Pathmatics is a leading advertising intelligence solution.

 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Ad Intelligence?

Pro: The Spying Capabilities of Ad Intelligence

The digital advertising landscape has a lack of transparency. With Yahoo’s retirement of Right Media Exchange (RMX) in 2015 and the increase in a programmatic buying ecosystem, the issue has continued to get worse. But with the right advertising intelligence, everything’s clearer, as users have the ability to track spend and impressions across channels, sites and types of ads. 

Let’s say you’re Blue Buffalo Pet Food, one of many premium pet food providers in the growing specialty pet food industry. Your brand only spent about $155,000 in Q1 2017, while brands like WellPet LLC spent nearly $800,000. Wouldn’t you like to keep tabs on exactly how much your competitors like WellPet are spending, and how? In a growing mid-size market like specialty pet food, which reached about $8 billion in sales last year, capturing just 0.01% more of the market could mean $8 million more in sales. Having intelligence on how you competitors are spending and which strategies are most effective could allow you to make a major dent in the brand awareness share for your industry, and in turn, a higher share of the profits.

Take a look at just a portion of the data ad intelligence can reveal.

Daily Spend

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Purchase Strategy

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Top Sites

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Would you also like to know how these spending strategies panned out in terms of impressions? Ad intelligence can show you that, too. (WellPet got more than 219 million impressions in Q1, by the way. About 202 million more than Blue Buffalo.)

 

Con: The Price of Ad Intelligence Software

Comprehensive ad intelligence software can cost thousands of dollars per year. That’s not an insignificant chunk of change. But if you’re spending thousands of dollars each month on advertising, and your competitors are spending the same amount, it’s a smart investment that gives you unprecedented access to your competitor’s advertising data.

Ad intelligence can show you exclusive competitor and industry data, from how much brands spend, to exactly how they’re spending it and where they’re getting the most impressions. This intelligence can be priceless if it is used to improve your ad conversions, investment in creatives and inventory purchasing (all of which the right ad intelligence solution can do).

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Again, let’s say you were advertising for Blue Buffalo in Q1 2017. Wouldn’t you want to know that a brand like Halo Pet Food, another specialty pet food provider, spent $200 less than you to get about 35 million more impressions? By using ad intelligence, Blue Buffalo could optimize their spending strategies to match Halo’s, while spending less on advertising.

While ad intelligence may seem like a large investment, the long-term gains in ROI can be tremendous. The right software can help you get the most ROI per ad channel, and eliminate the need for a middleman by giving you transparency into the most effective ad strategies. 


Pro: You Can See How Your Own Brand Is Spending

Do you ever use an ad network or a trade desk? Are you ever unsure exactly how your dollars are being spent? Not having full control over your spending is how fraud happens. This is also how you lose money on your campaigns unnecessarily. Without ad intelligence, you’re lacking full visibility into what influences prices, as middlemen and third parties can mark them up as they please. With ad intelligence software, you gain control back over your brand’s spending.

Con: Ad Intelligence Allows Other Brands to See Your Spending Tactics

Well, this is kind of scary. But it’s also absolutely something that could be happening to your brand right now. Your competitors may be shaping next month’s spending strategy based on how your brand got the most impressions. They could be planning to put their ads on your top sites and steal your potential customers.

Pro: You Can Spy Back

How do you make sure you’re on the same playing field? Spy back. This data is open to anyone with the right ad intelligence software. It’s yours for the taking. From channel distribution, to spend allocation to impressions and, ultimately, to CPMs, you have access to this invaluable data.

Interested in learning more about how ad intelligence works, and the common applications of this software? Explore related resources below.

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Jordan Kramer

Written by Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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