Selling advertising on your site is a potential source of revenue which should not be dismissed. The advertising you offer can include conventional banner ads, newsletter ads, and sponsored content, all potential money earners even for a small site so long as it is a niche market.
If you are thinking of selling advertising space on your blog then you will probably need to have a blog with at least 10,000 visitors per week, and if you are thinking of using an ad agency to sell the adverts for you then you will probably need double or treble that number. However, you may be able to sell advertising space on a b logwith a much smaller number of visitors if that site is targeted at a very specific group of people.
If you are selling advertising space on a b then you will need to know what to charge advertisers. Online advertising has its own special forms of payment calculations based upon the number of visitors, it is also important to know how pricing changes with respect to the position of the ad on a web page and the position of the page on the site.
Selling banner adverts
If you are thinking of selling banner advertising on your blog, then you need to work out which pages are going to carry advertising, and where the banner ads will be positioned on those pages. There will probably be little demand for advertising on pages that are more than three clicks away from your home page, unless of course you are a very popular site. Premium prices will be paid for the position at the top of each page, and unless you want to annoy your users it is probably best to confine yourself to carrying just a single ad per page.
There are three main ways in which charges are calculated for online banner ads, these are: exposure time, number of visitors, and click through. Always remember though that discounts are normal practice in the advertising industry and you can expect to pay little more than 50% of what is quoted on the rate card.
Exposure time – On high traffic sites like Warrior Forum, many of which have more than a million hits per day, advertising space is charged by the day, week or month. You could expect to pay upwards of £25,000 for a single banner ad running for a week in a prime spot on Yahoo!, but on average sites will charge about £2000 per week for a top of page banner in a good position.
Number of visitors – this is the normal advertising charge basis for sites attracting more than 300,000 visitors per month, and is calculated on a CPM (cost per mille) basis. This means that a banner ad on a site charging a CPM of £4, and having 300,000 visitors per month would charge £4 x 300 or £1200 for the month.
Click through rate – CTR is the favored charging method for sites having under 300,000 visitors per month and basically is a count of how many people have clicked on the ad banner multiplied by a small fixed charge of 10p on average. So if 1% of visitors click through an ad, and the site has 100,000 visitors per month, and the CTR charge is 10p, then the cost of running a banner ad for one month would be 100,000 x 1% x £0.1, or £100. There are also various permutations of these charging methods, in particular one which combines CPM with CTR payments.
It should be remembered, however, that all the above methods of calculating banner advertising charges are fairly complicated to both monitor and administer, and one very good reason for using an advertising agency specializing in online ads to act for you since they will have the capability to do all the necessary monitoring and administration.
If you have a small blog and do not want to get involved with ad agencies and administration then the best solution is to sell advertising space in the form of “sponsorship” where the sponsor buys the right to put their banner advert on a particular page of content to the exclusion of any other advertiser and for an agreed period. The important difference between sponsorship advertising and exposure time advertising is that it is linked to quality content and therefore applicable to niche market sites.
Another type of advertising which can be sold by smaller niche market sites that operate one or more ezines, is newsletter sponsorship. Because an ezine can be a very well targeted publication, it can be the ideal way for an advertiser to reach a particular audience. Response rates from ezines, on average between 5 and 6%, are also a lot higher because of their targeted nature coupled with the fact that most use an opt in basis for subscribing, are factors which makes it possible to sell newsletter advertising even when the subscription numbers are less than 1000.
Advertising in newsletters is usually limited to between one and three spots, with editorial copy at the beginning and end, and in between each ad spot. The location of advertising space in a newsletter is important, and currently the subject of some debate (see article on Newsletter ad positioning). Furthermore because a lot of newsletters are still text only the ads also need to be text only, although with the increased use of HTML based newsletters this situation is changing.
Newsletter advertising rates are normally quoted on a per thousand subscriber basis, although some just quote a price for advertising space in a single issue of the newsletter irrespective of circulation. The problem faced by newsletter advertsiers is of course one of verifying the circulation figures. This means that if you are selling advertising space in a newsletter then you should always try and be truthful about circulation figures, if you are found to have inflated them news will rapidly get around current and potential advertisers and ad sales will dry up.