Ok, if the previous 10 tips weren’t enough, here are some key influencers to make sure you ask about to help you get the best pricing possible:
- SeasonalityEach niche has their highs and lows, but generally speaking it’s typical to see drops in website traffic during summer (June – Aug.) and around certain U.S. holidays. Research your industry and use consumer purchase behavior to your advantage. For instance, in some industries, the days around Thanksgiving is slower than usual. If you’re running a campaign that falls on this timeframe, ask about getting lower rates or pausing your ad during the slowdown. DoubleClick [http://www.google.com/doubleclick/] and ClickZ [http://www.clickz.com/] is a great source of information and often releases quarterly consumer Web reports on buying patterns and traffic.
- ExclusivitySimilar to economies of scale (where the more that’s produced the cheaper the unit price), if you’re banner ad is sharing space with other advertisers for less ‘solo’ time, you should be paying less. It’s important to ask whether your ad will get 100% of the rotations or sharing ad exposure. And if sharing, find out what percentage of exposure you are ultimately getting during your ad run. This is known as being “fixed ad placement” or “shared ad placement”. If you’re told you have shared placement, this is a great bartering tool to get a more competitive rate.
- Site TargetingYou’ve heard in real estate it’s always about location, location, location, right? Well online real estate is no different. Find out if your ad will be run of site (ROS), run of channel (ROC) or on specific high traffic pages. Typically, the further you drill down the more you pay. It’s known as ‘site targeting’. Similarly, the higher you go up, the less you pay. ROS is the highest (most broad) level, so it’s usually the cheapest ad location. Next is usually ROC, whose ads appear on certain channels or sections of a website. Then there are also specific pages or demographic targeting. Your goals and budget will determine which placement is best for your needs.
- Remnant SpaceOften the forgotten about query, remember to ask if remnant space is available. Remnant ads are those ad units that the publisher or ad network is having a difficult time selling for whatever reason. They can also be last minute specials or units that are now available due to another deal falling through. With more popular, high traffic websites, you can save a fortune buying remnant media. Just pay close attention to the Terms and Conditions in the insertion order, as with most special deals, there’s usually lots of restrictions and little leeway.
All of these factors will help determine the value of your ad space, and ultimately, the cost you're willing to pay to access that audience.
For more powerful and cost effective strategies to compliment your online marketing efforts, check out my new book, Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz [Que Publishing, Aug. 2011].