Ad Tech & Ad Ops

Insertion Order: What is IO, Benefits, Drawbacks + More

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Back in the days of traditional advertising, most dealings were done manually. Also, websites didn’t have standard terms and billing procedures. With time, as the ways of website monetization through display advertising increased, the industry started developing methods to keep records of the agreement. Hence we got insertion order.

What is Insertion Order

Insertion order is an agreement containing the details of the inventory to ensure the ad proposal is processed. It guarantees that the advertiser can run ads on publisher’s inventory. It is the last step in the inventory selling process issued by advertiser, agency, or publisher.

Insertion order contains all kind of details related to the deal, which are:

  • Name of campaign
  • Start date and end date of campaign
  • Name and details of publisher
  • Name and details of advertiser
  • Ad unit dimensions and placements
  • Target audience to be covered
  • Number of impressions to be served
  • Pricing structure
  • Ad sizes, colors, and positioning
  • Total cost and discounts
  • Reporting requirements

Insertion order or IO is an old school method to keep a record of the advertising revenue. Even after the digitization, insertion order continues in the industry and is still being practised. It provides an insight to both the publisher and advertiser about the ad placement.

Benefits Of Insertion Order

Assurance of deal: For publishers, insertion order is the written proof of the deal. This contains the amount publisher will receive by selling the display inventory signed by advertiser. Due to this, disagreements and conflicts can be avoided in future.

Contains all details: As insertion order contains all the details related to the proposal (mentioned above) and publishers can easily access them. Using which, future pricing structures for inventory can be designed. Furthermore, IO helps in keeping the dealing records straight for future reference.

Customizable: Insertion order gives the opportunity to publishers and advertisers to work together. Here both parties can negotiate and make a deal which is beneficial for both. Hence, for that, customization becomes an important step. The key is to make sure all details are understood and agreed by the parties involved, before signing off the IO.

No ad fraud: IO minimizes the chances of ad fraud. As the dealing is done manually where publishers, advertisers, and agencies sit together. The one-on-one contact among the parties brings out a sense of security for everyone involved.

What Does An IO Look Like?

You can find various insertion order templates online for free as well as paid. Also, IO templates can be designed in-house by adding the terms one would like to include in IO. In case, you are using Google or Bing services, try Google’s or Bing’s way to create an insertion order.

If you need a look, here’s is an insertion order template sample:

Insertion Order Sample

Source: Template.net

Are There Any Drawbacks Of Insertion Order?

Yes, like most techs/features, insertion order is not perfect either.

Makes the process slow: Insertion order requires constant human involvement. One person prepares the IO and another one approves it. And finally, publisher and advertisers sit together to negotiate and sign it. These extra steps add more to the process, making it slow.

Negotiation can be tricky: There’s never a perfect deal made, ever. One of the two parties always has to compromise in order to seal a deal. Same thing happens when publishers and advertisers negotiate. The process is lengthy and there’s always a possibility that negotiation might not turn into a closed deal.

Not trending anymore: Programmatic deals are trending now. Both publishers and advertisers are appreciating automated methods. Because they’re easy, safe, and better in many ways. Reduced human involvement makes the process lightning fast, which eventually makes the publisher and advertisers opt for programmatic methods. Hence, all of this is shrinking the demand for direct deals and insertion order.

There is no particular disadvantage of using IO. It just needs some technological updation to resolve above mentioned drawbacks.

Insertion Order: Best Practices For Publishers

  • Insertion orders can be created by publisher, advertiser or agency. Generally, agency takes up the responsibility to document the IO. However, if no agency is involved, either publisher or advertiser can prepare the IO.
  • IO is the documented proof of ad proposal. Before signing it, publishers and advertisers should review it thoroughly to avoid disagreements.
  • Insertion order is designed to be straight forward. However, if anything causes confusion, it’s advised to clear it up before signing the IO and beginning the campaign.
  • For publishers, it’s ideal to store insertion orders in an organized way. This can help them later in the future when they’re be needed for reference or audit purposes.
  • It’s important for publishers to know their inventory. Do not oversell it by showing more impressions than you actually receive. Instead of giving a fixed number, publishers should specify a range based on historical data.

Conclusion

Insertion order may sound like an extra step, sometimes even hectic. But in order to run a fair and monitored business, IO can be really helpful. It’s a step in advertisement process, which represents commitment between advertisers and publishers.

IO helps to manage budget for advertisers. And for publishers, it can be used to evaluate generated revenue. Most importantly, IO keeps things tidy for everyone.

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