How to Sell Ad Space on Your Blog
After putting hours of work into your blog, itís time to reap the rewards. Advertisers love blogs since the content is keyword rich and the general online population trusts bloggers more than ecommerce sites.
Why Sell Advertising Space Direct?
There are several reasons why selling Advertising Space for Banner Ads is a better alternative to Adsense and ad networks. Here are a few:
- You donít lose a chunk of your profits to commissions. Ad networks charge anywhere from 20-50% for placing ads automatically on your web page/s.
- Since Ad Networks have an oversupply of inventory (Ad Space) to sell, they discount your space to advertisers up to 90% according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. That means less revenue in your pocket.
- You have complete control over who advertises on your site and when.
- You can sell your Ad Space based on time and not rely on clicks or impressions to get paid.
How do I find Advertisers?
Advertisers have learnt that itís better to place their Banner Ad on a directly relevant website or blog which appeals to their target market. Find websites which come up for keywords your blog ranks highly for. Contact the non-competing websites which you believe would be interested in advertising on your blog.
Send them a polite email stating why you believe their advertising on your blog would be beneficial to them. Give them some pricing options together with your website analytics or statistics. You can link to your ďadvertise hereĒ page if you have one. If not, you should create one.
Personalise each email by using addressing the contactís name or the siteís name. Keep a record of who youíve contacted in a spreadsheet together with their responses.
Should I use an Ad Space Auction?
Ad Space Auctions (also known as a Banner Auction) provide an additional means of showcasing the Advertising Space your have up for sale. Itís like selling items on a normal auction website, only you sell Ad Space.
You normally have a couple of options for creating the listing including the standard auction, buy-out for a specific price and allowing potential advertisers to make you their best offer.
A link to your website on your auction page allows buyers to browse and see whatís on offer. You can also capture a screenshot, upload your site statistics and specify your terms and conditions.
The benefit of using an Ad Space Auction is you get additional exposure without giving up direct sales you find yourself.
If you have multiple spots to sell, you can either sell your quantities at a specified amount or use the Dutch auction feature to list a series of static banners or multiple rotating spots.
How much should I charge for Banner Advertising?
Many bloggers and content site owners remain unsure of how much to charge for Ad Space. Overcharging will turn advertisers away whilst undercharging means cutting yourself short.
Compare what other blogs are charging in your niche. Take into account their page rank and unique visitor count. You can find this information in on their ďadvertiseĒ page or request a media kit.
You can test the waters by putting your Ad Space up for auction. Of course, you can set a reserve price so your space doesnít sell for less than youíre willing to accept.
Ad Space Pricing Indicators
There are a few things to look for when costing your advertising space:
- Positions above the fold (visible without scrolling) are worth more;
- Horizontal banners cost more since theyíre more readable;
- Less advertiser competition means more value;
- Niche content is more valuable to certain advertisers than a general topic website;
- Traffic levels, particularly unique visitor count. However, this isnít everything. If your blog is niche, itís more likely to get the targeted visitors advertisers are looking for.
- And the most obvious: the bigger the Banner Ad, the more it should cost.
Costing Methods for Advertising Space
Before placing your available space for sale, consider how youíre going to charge advertisers:
- Cost Per Click (CPC) Ė you get paid each time a site visitor clicks on the Banner Ad;
- Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) Ė means you sell bundles of 1000 Banner Impressions. This means you must deliver the amount of impressions.
- Cost Per Action (CPA) Ė you get paid a commission or flat fee each time your visitors clicks on a Banner Ad and perform some sort of action (like making a purchase, subscribing or registering). This is basically an affiliate program.
- Cost Per Time Ė this involves selling Banner Space for a number of days, a week, a month or whatever period you propose.
If youíre accepting payment via any method other than time placements, you will need to keep thorough records and provide reporting to your advertisers. Software is available to assist you.
Most bloggers donít offer direct advertising based on some action or event taking place. It makes their income is too dependent on the quality of the advertisement. Many just look to sell time-based advertising.
What Conditions Should I Impose?
Remember to always specify your requirements and creative specifications, such as:
- Ad dimensions;
- Flash requirements;
- Maximum file size;
- Animation restrictions (eg: maximum animation time, loop maximum)
- Appropriateness (eg: no adult content)
Selling advertising space yourself is definitely more time consuming. The process has been made simple with the help of Ad Space Auction websites. However, itís still not a passive option. Just like any other business model, the more work you put in, the higher the rewards are.
Dita Bednar is a co-founder of Bidswamp Banner Auction. Site owners and publishers can use Bidswamp to Sell Ad Space directly to advertisers, rather than going through an ad network.
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