by Danny Meadows-Klue
Many web publishers have unsold space and fail to get the most value of it. Danny Meadows-Klue reflects on a few ideas Digital’s team have found that work well for publishers. They are only a start, but are designed to show ways to get more value from online inventory.
1. Cross promote; smartly
Look for ways to use the unsold inventory to drive traffic or awareness of different sections of the site or between you and a partner website who are exchanging banners. Treat contra advertising and house advertising as if it were paid for space; really invest in high quality advertising with a large range of executions to promote different aspects of the site in different ways. Remember that the house advertising influences the consumers’ experience of your site and your brand – this should showcase what you do.
2. Run a research campaign
Use some of the spare inventory to run a research campaign to prove the power of online advertising. If clients in your market do not yet believe online advertising can work to build brands (as well as drive response), then run a research survey to prove the point. The technique was first run in Europe in 1998 and involves surveying consumers for their awareness of a brand (or their perceptions and image of the brand), and then surveying them after the campaign has run. It’s the same technique used in print and television advertising effectiveness studies, and can test purchase intent, advertising recall and any aspect of brand effectiveness. The methodology can involve surveying pre and post the campaign or by looking for the differences between the group exposed to the campaign and a control group.
3. Introduce new advertisers
Look for firms who don’t use online at all, or who are just starting out in their online advertising journey. Use blocks of thousands or even millions page impressions as a way to bring non-advertisers into the business. Set up a structure for inviting advertisers to come into the business through a trial programme like this.
4. Harness sales networks and affiliate programmes
Try affiliates for bringing in additional revenues but test with small volumes of inventory first. Use this to explore whether the value will be significant. Examine which types of deals and which types of content create the most value for the advertiser, and bring the most revenue to you as a media owner.
5. Find one CPC partner; learn how to use this channel
Look for one online business that you can work with to explore CPC deals with. Work directly with the brand to generate clicks and leads for them. Find out what works, how, and why. Test your ideas and use this space to learn about how you can monetize some of the unsold inventory. Keep the learnings with just one client and use this to explore the way your business behaves.