Came across this article in the WSJ on “Selling web ad space like pork bellies“.
This could get interesting. The spot market has been soaked up with Ad Sense, et al. Futures market in ad inventory lends itself to the large players (MSN, Google, Yahoo, etc) and matching the supply and demand. A company with a balance sheet could theoretically buy up inventory and corner the market…a la Salomon Brothers in the 1990s treasury market (if I were to take it to extremes).
Now layer in behavioral targeting (which is required to optimize CPMs and ensure a spread)….and a future market could be fantastically profitable to the likes of Yahoo and Google. Question: will sites with large amounts of traffic need ad sales teams pushing inventory when a “future’s” exchange and contextual ads can fill the inventory?
The answer is yes. I dont think ad sales departments are at risk of large scale layoffs anytime soon If Wall Street is an indication or an analogy with the equity departments of investment banks – trading floors, sales traders and various equity capital markets servicing the primary and secondary markets, an online ad market will need similar facilitation by the various components, including a robust ad sales team.