Whether you are working with an organization that reps your site or selling directly to national marketers, these ten tips will maximize revenues. They are summarized from Joe Larkin, VP of sales for Village Voice Media, the largest selling alliance for alternative weeklies, speaking at the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) 2012 Online Conference.
1. Work with standard IAB sizes. The three best sizes are the 160x600, 200x360 and 728 x 90.
2. Offer above the fold placement. "They always ask. Anything below the fold is not considered as valuable."
3. If you do have ads below the fold, wrap content around them. "This is crucial, if the audience can't see the ad or is glancing over it, your are going to make less money."
4. Segment content. "Many alternative newspapers have only one or two segments. Advertisers are looking for very specific verticals DMA's, so be able to shut out-of market traffic out of the buy. Investing in a good ad serving platform makes this simple.
5. Keep saying yes. "A lot of times when you get the initial RFP, they (agencies) are asking for the entire world. They haven’t told you really when or how much inventory they want. So if they ask, can you give added value, say yes. What we haven't seen is the cpm, but if you keep saying yes yes, you will continue to be on the buy as they filter things out," Larkin advised. "NO is a way to filter you off the buy."
5. Offer rich media such as sliders, push-downs and corner peels on short term buys.
A number of national advertisers, including movie studios (who especially like skins), Puma, Nike, American Express, Verizon and Sketchers are buying rich media on local sites (also called skins, wraps or exotics). "When you have these out of the box opportunities to engage the audience, the and are worth more and create content, for the advetiser.
"We don’t run a pencil bar on our own site at all the time but we are set up to do it. We use it for all key in house promotions and its and incredible way" to drive the message.
Be prepared to produce the exotics for the agencies, which is often the next request.
6. Offer "100% share of voice roadblocks." This makes the advertiser the only one on the page.
7. Provide speedy reporting if asked. "Across markets the reporting aspect is key." Work with a third party such as DoubleClick that allow control over aspects such as day part, and full reporting.
8. Include video, mobile and tablets. "We get RFP's for video a lot, and we can’t always deliver on it, " Larkin says. Tablets and mobile are still in their infancy for local buys, but set to take off, so be set up to take the orders when they come.
9. If you see a buy in another local market get on the phone. "It may not always work, but you have to make some noise."
10. Block Google AdSense from categories in which you have national ads also running. Google AdSense competes directly with your paid ads and pays much less than even remnant space. Work the blocks so that your customers aren't stolen for pennies.
The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and MediaExecsTech, developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine, to showcases perspectives from around the world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.
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