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Many publishers believe that you need to choose between direct sales or ad networks for their ad sales strategy. Both have tremendous benefits for publishers and fortunately, publishers need not choose between direct ad sales or ad networks. Publishers can successfully blend both approaches, and leverage the benefits of each ad sales strategy to boost ad revenue.
We’ll explore each strategy’s benefits in this article, and highlight the key benefits of each for publishers.
Top Benefits of Direct Ad Sales
The direct ad sales model is inherently flexible because the parties are free to decide the terms of their deals. This means that the model is well suited to publishers and advertisers willing to think outside the box.
Benefit #1: Direct relationships with advertisers
The single biggest benefit of direct ad sales for publishers is, as the strategy’s name suggests, a direct relationship with advertisers.
It’s difficult to overstate the value of being able to cultivate a much more personal relationship with your advertisers over time. Strong, personal relationships with advertisers is one of the foundations of longer lasting commercial relationships, and a key to sustainable ad revenue for publishers.
Benefit #2: Better terms, more revenue
Because you are dealing with advertisers directly, you are also in a position to more effectively determine the terms of your agreements with advertisers. You don’t need to agree to an intermediary’s contractual terms to conclude a deal with an advertiser.
Having a direct relationship with advertisers means that publishers retain the vast majority of the revenue earned from direct ad sales. The same can’t be said of programmatic ad sales conducted through intermediary ad networks.
Benefit #3: Opportunities for more engaging campaigns
Direct ad sales give publishers and advertisers the opportunity to create more engaging ad campaigns that would otherwise be difficult to implement with standardized ad inventory options.
For example, a publisher could offer a dynamic advertiser the option of doing a site take-over, and designing a bespoke ad campaign that captivates the publisher’s audiences. This sort of campaign is difficult to offer through programmatic channels because it usually isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ sort of option.
However, negotiated through a direct ad deal, a publisher and an advertiser could agree on a campaign that is completely tailored to the advertiser’s requirements. This, in turn, creates opportunities for advertisers and publishers to experiment with more innovative ad media that otherwise wouldn’t be included in more standardized ad placements.
Benefit #4: Even better social engagement
Effective audience engagement on social media is increasingly vital. It is also a valuable extension of virtually any ad campaign because it is often the key to delivering highly relevant ads.
Direct ad sales can go beyond ad placements on your site and include a more holistic approach that encompasses rich social media engagement with your audience.
Top Benefits of Ad Networks
Network-based programmatic ad sales are concluded in the blink of an eye, and scale to accommodate larger ad inventories and interested advertisers. This model has revolutionized the online advertising industry.
Benefit #1: No need for a dedicated sales teams
Programmatic ad sales can be a great option for smaller publishers who don’t have a dedicated sales team that is often necessary for larger scale, direct ad sales. All you need to do is make your ad inventory available through a SSP (Supply Side Platform).
Advertisers will bid for your available inventory and the winning bidders will place their ads on your site. The bidding process, and subsequent ad placements, takes place in the blink of an eye.
Publishers gain the convenience of a streamlined ad sales model in exchange for a share of ad revenue that is typically paid to the intermediaries who facilitate the process.
Benefit #2: Highly targeted, data-driven campaigns
Programmatic advertising offers publishers and advertisers the chance to deliver highly targeted ad campaigns at scale. This is typically achieved through pervasive audience research and tracking tools that inform fairly accurate profiles of your audiences.
These profiles, in turn, help advertisers deliver much more relevant ads that audiences are more likely to respond to. One of the issues that has historically prompted consumers to block ads is that ads haven’t been relevant to them.
Programmatic advertising helps address that concern and, in the process, results in a better user experience because ads convey offers that audiences may actually be interested in.
Benefit #3: Cross-platform campaigns for greater reach and consistency
Advertising is no longer just a desktop thing. We’ve seen a proliferation of device categories and form factors in recent years and, with that, a dramatic shift in how audiences consume content and services.
One of the clear benefits of this trend is that advertisers can gain deeper insights into publishers’ audiences’ behavior and preferences, and create even more relevant ads. This has become possible through highly contextual signals from a variety of device types, locations, and activities.
Don’t Choose, Use Both! (We Can Help.)
As we pointed out at the outset, there is no need to choose between direct ad sales and ad networks. While each revenue model has clear benefits, successful publishers must continually adapt to changing circumstances and market conditions.
This means adopting the best ad sales strategy for a given audience and set of operational circumstances. AdButler’s clients successfully implement both strategies, AdButler’s audience targeting options and tight integration with major ad networks make very real contributions to their successes.
We have a wealth of experience guiding publishers towards stronger ad revenues, whether they adopt direct ad sales or ad networks, or both. Let’s talk about how we can help you too.