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Going Direct vs Through An Ad Agency when Media Buying

Going Direct to a website you’d like to advertise on has its pros and cons.  The biggest pro being you can cut the middle man, and get more bang for your buck (by that I mean more quality traffic).    The downside is there’s no ad network helper that will keep tabs on your stats.  You will need to do that yourself, and for that you will need an ad server.

So, what steps do you have to take to find websites to advertise on directly?

Step #1 – Find out who is your demographic exactly!

By demographic I mean their age, average income, location, sex, etc.  The more you know about your customer the better.     If you know all of this info, awesome – if not it’s best to hit up sites like compete.com, alexa.com,  quancast.com.

Step #2 – Find sites to advertise on who match your target demographic

-Look through the top sites in the world on alexa.com
-Perform a search for your main keywords,  the more niched the better.
-Look for sponsored reviews on sites like reviews.com, ones that fit your product/service
-Google Adwords placement tool

*These are just some ideas to get you started, obviously with a little creative thinking outside of the box there are many other sites/places you can find to advertise on.

Step #3 – Contact The Webmaster + Negotiate a Price

Found a site you’d like to advertise on? Great! Now it’s time to contact the webmaster.  More of than than not, you will find the contact information right on the page – but what if it’s not visible?  Well check their WHOIS records and gain their email address that way.  Even if they use privacy, you can email the privacy protection email and hopefully get a response.

When you contact the webmaster,  be brief, about what your intentions are.  If they are willing and interested in what you are after, ask them more qualifying questions like how many page views (impressions) their site gets, how many unique visitors, from what geo locations, etc.   The more you know the better,  after you got the data you can prepare a proposal and submit your offer to them.

A general rule in negotiating is to always start lower than what you are willing to pay, since its human nature to haggle; this usually works in your favor.    Be a low baller, don’t be shy.   Offer them 0.40 CPC to start, which is ultra low considering the norm is $2 CPM but many website owners haven’t got a clue about internet marketing, so this is where you may find traffic gold – when you score ultra cheap deals for quality traffic.

There are other creative ways to get an ad spot up on a website, some webmasters are game if you give them a sample product to give away,  or you write a guest post on their site and in it place a text ad,  or sponsor a contest.   There are many more creative ideas;  Google around.

Since many website owners haven’t got a clue about dealing with media buyers, you will have to prepare terms of agreement and an insertion order, which might sound alien to you but it will protect your interests should you have to dispute the deal with your bank, or paypal if the website you bought on decides to screw you over.

Remember,  honest people have no problems doing honest business. If someone isn’t willing to sign your agreements, then best avoid them.

Going direct can render great benefit, however expect a lot of rejection and/or being ignored.   Many don’t take these seriously, it’s like telemarketing a total numbers game.

  • Alex Torres

    Very good advice, once i get the ball rolling with the networks i will start looking to go direct. Thanks Attila!