When publishers speak with different advertisers or monetization platforms they may hear the phrase brand based versus performance based ads. What is each type of ad and what is the difference between them?

Brand based ads are ads that are used to build a connection between a user and advertiser over time. This is the most common type of advertisement and is used by most large brands such as Coca Cola, McDonalds, IBM, Dell, BMW, etc. The goal of these ads is to build up the brand among users, but there is no way to directly monitor how successful they are nor is there any direct tracking done with them. The majority of advertising a user sees each day (TV, Radio, Billboards, Newspapers, etc.) is brand advertisement, and thus a large amount of money is spent by companies to get their brand in front of consumer’s eyes in hopes of establishing a connection with them. It is difficult for advertisers to measure how successful these campaigns are and there is a long lag time in acquiring data on their performance.

Performance based ads track and measure the performance of the ad campaign. The tracking can be done through various measures such as coupon codes, unique phone numbers, links, app installs, etc. Performance based campaigns require lots of testing and tweaking but typically offer a much better ROI to the advertiser and they can quickly determine if the campaign is successful or not. A larger number of advertisers are choosing to run performance based campaigns due to the ability to measure them easily. Publishers are typically only paid when the required action (filling out a form, clicking on an ad, etc.) takes place and not when the ad is viewed.

Publishers typically prefer to run brand based ads because they are paid when the ad is displayed and viewed rather than requiring a user to perform some action such as installing an app. Performance based ads may pay a higher CPM for a publisher if they have a user base that performs the required action, but if they do not perform the action than the publisher may end up showing lots of ads but never be paid for them. For this reason many publishers choose to go with brand based ads which have a guaranteed pay out as long as the ad is viewed. Also, some brand based ads are of a higher quality than performance based ads, though this is not always the case. Some publishers receive complaints from their users if they only show performance based ads, so publishers need to monitor the feedback they receive from their users.

Publishers should test out brand and performance based ads on their properties to determine which one performs best. They may find that certain types of ads perform better on certain sections or screens of their mobile site or app, but it will require testing to determine that. A publisher may find that a mixture of brand and performance based ads works best for them.

Advertising is evolving and many advertisers are deciding to adopt performance based ads which allow them to easily track and measure their performance. Publishers should be aware of the different types of ad campaigns available, and they should inquire of their advertisers and monetization platforms what types of ads will be running on their properties.