Pros and cons of selling ads directly to advertisers or through ad networks

As a publisher, you want to be in complete control of the advertising that appears on your website. You can choose to sell directly to advertisers or work with ad networks to get the ads that you need. There are definitely pros and cons to be had with both, which is why a mixture is often the way that many publishers choose to go. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from both types of advertising.

The most obvious benefits of selling directly to the advertiser is that you get to keep one hundred percent of the revenue and typically are able to charge a higher ad rate. You also get the opportunity to build a working relationship with each advertiser, which usually leads to future ad campaigns with them. Business owners regularly discuss great direct advertising opportunities with each other, further giving the relationship importance.

On the negative side of things, you are going to have to spend money on a sales force who you hope will be able to deliver a high volume of quality advertisers. Being able to obtain those advertisers means that your site will need to have a very large following in order to make it appealing to advertisers. If you are going at it alone, generating traffic and finding advertisers is a juggling act that does not always go well. Even if you are capable of selling ad space while refreshing your website with quality content, you will then need to be adept at managing the ads that you bring in.

It is those negatives that often drive publishers to consider using ad networks when they sell ad space. Yet, while that may seem like a great idea at first, ad networks end up taking a good chunk of the revenue that you generate from advertisers, with the number sometimes going as high as fifty percent. You will have no way to build a relationship with any of the advertisers you use, and the ad rate that you charge will be a whole lot less that what you would get if you sold advertising directly.

You also need to consider the positives that come with using ad networks. In this scenario, you will have the ability to do it all yourself. If the ads are supplied by a network, you will not have to dip into your budget to hire a professional sales team or need somebody to help manage the campaigns. You will also have immediate access to a wide variety of advertisers, many of whom you may not have thought of or been able to get if you had approached them directly.

The one thing that the ad network option has in common with direct advertising is that you will need a solid ad management solution in place to take care of your ad inventory and help maximize your revenue. Perhaps the best way to approach this issue is to sell all the ad space that you can directly, while leaving the ad networks for those spots that are still unsold.

December 18, 2014