What Is An Insertion Order

The digital ad industry has gained tremendous momentum in the past few years. That’s one of the reasons that exchanges are coming up with new ways to record agreements and contracts between advertisers and publishers; they are increasing at an unprecedented rate and becoming more complex. An Insertion order or IO is one solution that helps parties maintain advertising agreements without much hassle.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about insertion orders and their importance in the Adtech industry. Now let’s understand in detail what an insertion order is.

what is an insertion order

What is an Insertion order?

Insertion order is an agreed-upon document by both parties, created and offered by an advertiser for an advertisement to be inserted on the publisher’s websites. 

As you know, most of the terms we use in programmatic advertising today didn’t even exist a few years ago. There were no Ad exchanges or Ad networks. Advertisers used to directly deal with publishers and that is where Insertion orders came into play.

What an Insertion order contains?

Insertion order is a written document that contains line items related to an advertising campaign. It contains the specifics of the deal between the publisher and the advertiser. It is the final step in the ad proposal process. 

insertion order advertising

Some of the information an Insertion order may include is

  • Name of the campaign
  • Contract duration (starting and finishing dates)
  • Credentials of the advertiser and publisher
  • Dimensions of ad units
  • Placement locations of ad-units
  • Expected impression
  • Pricing module
  • Other costs
  • Reporting protocol

Usually, advertisers prepare the Insertion order. But if the advertiser is represented by a small agency, any party can create the Insertion order, provided it is signed by both parties. Below is an example of an Insertion order, there is no universal format to create an Insertion order. It can be changed to suit any particular campaign.

digital advertising insertion order template

Benefits of using Insertion orders

An Insertion order is a legal document and comes in handy for establishing a mutually beneficial partnership between advertisers and publishers. Some of its benefits are as follows.

Assurance and details


bing insertion order

With Insertion orders, advertisers and publishers get a clear understanding of what they can expect from the deal they are going to make. It is proof of the deal, written and signed by both parties, and admissible in a court of law. It contains all the details and defines all aspects of the deal. In case of any conflict, disagreement, or unfulfillment of the deal from one or both parties, an Insertion order will be used to resolve it. 


As mentioned earlier, an IO does not come with a set format or protocol. Users can customize them according to their needs and create a suitable format. Both parties can negotiate and create an IO however they see fit. Publishers can create different pricing structures, customize the timing of the ads, and change placement, as deemed fit. 

Protection against fraud

An IO is a great tool to avoid fraudulent deals in unexpected situations. Deals are often done between multiple entities without any prior rapport and hardly any assurance. Here, an IO provides a sense of security to everyone involved.

Some not-so-good things about an Insertion order

Like any other documentation, there are some setbacks one can face with IOs. A few are outlined ahead.

It slows the process 

Needless to say, documentation is a tedious process and no one likes it. Hence IOs can be time-consuming and in some cases can slow down the process. It is an additional step that can take a toll on some partners. 

Negotiations can be tricky

An agreement between the parties is essential for an IO to work. However, that can be a little tricky in the real world. Sometimes coming to terms with the stakeholders takes way longer than it should, resulting in a delayed process. It also reduces the possibility of a long-term partnership.

Fall in demand

Direct deals are increasingly becoming obsolete in the ad-tech world. With programmatic advertising being at the center, manual agreements are losing their importance and soon will be completely out of the picture. Newer automated methods are faster, safer, and easy to maintain. The fall in the demand for an IO is only natural.

free insertion order template

How to Prepare an IO?

Some common elements that are expected to be presented in an Insertion order are as follows:

  1. Contact Information

The IO procedure is divided into two sections, the first of which contains the advertiser’s contact information, which includes the advertiser’s name, address, website, phone number, email address, and date. The billing contact, or someone who handles payments or accounting issues, is the second category. ‍

  1. Ad Campaign Details 

The campaign’s information is provided by the advertiser. The start and finish dates, amount of impressions, desired page on the publisher’s site where the advertisements will run, ad unit size, ad placement, geo-targeting, target audience, budget, and all other data are all included. The IO acts as a binding agreement between the two parties. As a result, any changes to the contract must be written down and signed.

  1. Creatives

This section comprises the campaign’s creative components, as well as information such as ad size, dimension, format, and other key parameters.

Insertion Order Best Practices

  • Since an IO is the foundation of the deal between advertisers and publishers, it is crucial to get it verified by both parties and reach an agreement before signing. 
  • The IO should be straightforward enough to be understood by all the stakeholders. Any confusion in the terms and conditions should be discussed and resolved before signing. 
  • It is also important for the publisher to be realistic about their expectations and pricing. Adopting a dynamic pricing model instead of a fixed one usually works better. 

Wrap up

While IOs may appear to be time-consuming, or seen as an additional step in an ad campaign, they can provide many advantages. It may be valuable for auditing purposes for a publisher. It is also a good technique to conduct a well-monitored, effective campaign. IOs offer much-needed assurance to the stakeholders which is essential for running a successful campaign. 

If you want to know more about Programmatic Advertising or the latest Ad-tech, keep exploring AdSparc.


Q: Why is it called an Insertion order?

A: There were no uniform terms and billing processes in place for publishers. As the number of ways to monetize a website through display advertising grew, the industry began to create mechanisms to keep track of the agreement. As a result, we got insertion orders.

Q: Who creates the Insertion order?

A: Insertion orders need a lot of thought and effort to develop and negotiate since they are completely manual. The IO is written by one side, reviewed by the other, and then discussed in depth until the document is signed. Usually, advertisers create IOs but both parties can create and present insertion orders.

Q: Is an Insertion order a contract? 

A: Yes. Insertion order is a contract between a publisher and an advertiser or advertising agency to undertake an online advertising campaign.

Also Read: Why is there a sudden shift in attitude towards walled gardens vs open web?


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