How to Prevent Your Online Business from Needing an Economic Bail-Out... I Mean Rescue
The devaluation of Web site advertising (and content) is happening faster than the U.S. dollar -- or "American peso" as my friends abroad call it.
Just this past week, I rejected an advertiser's offer to pay us a whopping $5 cpm (cost per thousand) for a run-of-site ad placement. Only a few days earlier, we received a proposal from YellowBrix to syndicate some of our content for one-half a penny (a $5 cpm) per page view or a flat rate of $50 per month for each publication! Of course, we also walked away from this offer.
Your Web advertising programs should be littered with value. Simple geographic or time-of-day targeting should be the first place you start. Test reducing the number of ad spots on a page to increase click-thrus and conversions for higher-paying advertisers. Lastly, give your advertisers exclusivity in their ad positions instead of diluting with a low share of voice (SOV).
If a nice portion of your online revenue comes from e-newsletters, you should be more than prepared to change your thinking about how you price your advertising. I wouldn't even call this a trend as most advertisers now insist on paying only for the impressions you deliver instead of the e-newsletter's "reach" (size of the list). I really never subscribed to Eric Shanfelt's theory that "for X dollars, your ad of this size and location will reach this many people (your e-mail circulation)." Savvy marketers don't buy into the idea that they could reach a potential audience so they should be charged more. Is your goal to get their business, or just take their money?
The good news is that traditional publishers are catching up to online pure-plays in areas like content management and ad serving. We already have the audience, in most cases great editorial, and established brands, so let's stick to our guns and not be bullied by offers that will have us in need of a rescue.
Now excuse me, I'm off to the resort for a round of golf and a spa treatment.