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Ad networks and exchanges delivered impressions, clicks, and conversions at the lowest costs of any digital advertising channels in the third quarter of 2013, according to a recent analysis by Neustar Aggregate Knowledge.

As in 2Q13, exchanges and networks had average CPMs, CPAs, and CPCs lower than both portals and social media in 3Q13.

Overall, costs fell in the quarter across every channel except portals, which may have had more higher-value buys (e.g., homepage takeovers, high-value placements) targeted at driving brand awareness.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from 60 billion ad events in 3Q13.

Social Media

  • Social media had the best reach efficiency—a channel's ability to reach exclusive users at an effective cost—performing 58% better than the next-best channel (ad exchanges).
  • Social media also continued to deliver high-quality users (i.e., users who can be marketed to consistently), and was the only channel to perform above the indexed average in 3Q13.

Mobile and Video

  • Video network advertising grew in 3Q13, with impressions increasing 15%, clicks increasing 73%, and click revenue growing 48%.
  • Mobile campaigns recorded a 288% increase in impressions, but generated 11% less clicks, and had a decrease in click revenue of 77%, perhaps signaling a reluctance by consumers to convert on mobile.

About the research: The report was based on data from 60 billion ad events in 3Q13.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji