Because of the Internet, differentiation between media companies is blurring. Newspaper photographers now shoot video because of their websites. Broadcast companies offer classified ads on the sites. Bloggers report local news, and news reporters blog.

However, as it pertains to advertising on these different media, the available technologies still cater specifically to an individual medium. Newspaper software differs from television software which differs from radio software which differs from online software. Because I’m most knowledgeable about newspaper software and online software, I’m going to focus on the difference between those two.

Newspaper business systems (e.g. AdPro, Mediaspan, SCS) make reference to themselves as ad-tracking software. Although they are correct insofar as they keep track of the booking, pricing, sizing and billing of ads, they don’t track the effectiveness of the ads. That’s a significant difference from online ad-tracking systems. naija news  Another major distinction is print publishers are those spending money on and managing the newspaper software, whereas online publishers piggyback on someone else’s software, usually free to them.

Although business software is the most complex software used by newspapers, here’s a simple exemplory instance of how it works. Once a newspaper gets a method up and running (which takes plenty of customization, training and money, by the way), the machine knows the rates and ad sizes for several publications provided by that newspaper. Someone at the newspaper then enters an insertion order to the system. For instance, let’s assume the ad is just a 4X5 ad (four columns by five inches tall) that costs $20 a column inch. The ad-entry person finds the advertiser in their system, enters a new 4X5 ad for them, the machine prices it at $400 ($20 X 20 inches), and saves it. Unlike online ad-tracking systems used by publishers through affiliate networks, newspapers control what they charge for ads running through their system.

Because the business enterprise system contains an accounts-receivable system, it will either place the ad on hold if the advertiser doesn’t have enough credit, or approve it. The ad-entry person may also enter a payment for that advertiser and use it to the ad. The device allows newspapers to send out a monthly bill to the advertiser showing all the ads that ran and the full total due. When the advertiser remits payment, an accounting person will enter that payment into the machine and use it to the correct ads or invoices.

Some business systems also have modules for managing the particular creatives (the ads themselves), as well as checking the orders for online ads. But they often don’t manage the uploading of the ads, or tracking the client responses to those ads. That’s where online ad-tracking systems come in.

Online publishers who want to place ads on the sites often use affiliate networks to handle the ad tracking for them. Networks can either be open networks or exchanges (e.g. Commission Junction or Share A Sale), where in actuality the publishers are accountable for choosing which advertising campaigns they want to run, or they may be closed networks (e.g. AvantLink or Affiliate Traction) where in actuality the networks manage the campaigns for the advertisers.

Whichever form of network the publishers join, they’ll use that network’s ad-tracking software. Each network uses either an ad-tracking system they built in-house, or perhaps a commercial tracking system (e.g. Direct Track or LinkTrust). The networks allow publishers to log into their tracking system. If a publisher joins multiple networks, the publisher may have access to all the systems used by those networks.

Once logged in, publishers grab the HTML code for whatever ad campaigns they choose to run. When they paste that code into their websites, the code refers back again to the tracking software to pull in the creative for the ad, direct users to the advertiser’s landing page when clicked, and track the impression, click and ultimate lead or sale.

The publishers will also be in a position to see the stats from the campaigns they run to allow them to see the amount of impressions, clicks, sales and-most important-the commission they expect to get consequently of running that campaign. Unlike newspaper software where only the newspaper has access to the machine, both publishers and advertisers have access to online tracking systems so they really both know how successful the campaigns are. Online tracking systems also differ from newspaper systems in that the advertisers are those that dictate what the price of the campaign will undoubtedly be, and the particular payout isn’t known until following the campaign has been running. With newspaper ads, an advertiser knows just what the ad will cost before the ad runs. With online tracking systems, although the advertiser and publisher have a notion of what the fee for every lead or sale might be, the full total cost is determined by how a ad actually performs. That’s why affiliate marketing is also referred to as performance marketing.

Online tracking systems perform a very good job of tracking ad performance (unfortunately there are still approaches to defraud the systems, but that’s another topic), and they are able to inform you what the payout should be. But that’s where they stop. Unlike newspaper business systems which have robust accounts-receivable features, online systems don’t handle billing, receivables, etc. They expect you to export that data (or enter it manually) into Quickbooks.

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