Selling online advertising–how to get it right

My old friend Dave Morgan, CEO of Tacoda and co-founder of 24/7 was in the online ad business before almost anyone else, yet his company keeps breaking new ground. This just-published article on selling online advertising, written for publishers with sites to sell, seems like Basic Rules 101. For any site owner depending on advertising revenue, especially alternative or adjuncts to paid search results boxes, there’s a ton of good advice here.
Some of Dave’s points (edited for space):
Forget simplicity in the online media business, at least for the next few years. Too many media executives hope selling and delivering online advertising will be as simple as selling other media, such as magazine pages or TV spots. They forget not only that online media are dynamic, fully addressable, and fully measurable but also these very complicated characteristics are what make online attractive to advertisers.
Recognize there’s a publisher/advertiser mismatch, and create product accordingly. There’s currently a buyers’ market for online media. … Advertisers can and will buy only what they need and pay for it according to how well it performs.
Few publishers achieve an optimal balance between their audience, their content, and must-have advertiser needs. Fewer still have figured out how to package inventory to maximize audience yield.
Don’t wait for silver-bullet technology solutions. …. This isn’t a technology problem. It’s a business problem. The issues surround packaging and product, not silicon science.
Invest in business intelligence. You cannot create proper inventory or the right products without this information.
Don’t force compromised products on advertisers. Many publishers sell bad inventory (undifferentiated, run-of-site impressions) in combination with sponsorships or inventory in their best content sections (technology shopping or personal finance).
Is the inventory valuable? Prove it. If you believe a run-of-site inventory package adds real reach or frequency value to contextual targeting, prove it. Measure the audience. Match it to the advertiser’s target and objectives.
There’s more, and you can read it for yourself right here.

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  1. russ baker says:

    I’m the Marketing Director at Triton Distribution Systems I’m building a series of travel sites like In a few months we have built the first ever (and for now exclusive) travel inventory site whereby travelers will be able to book trips into and through out China — anyway we need to master online advertising and it is not a core competence – I’m wondering if we could talk about my company’s needs and you could recommend a resource to me.

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