Online ad Space

Top 10 Tips for Buying Ad Space

As Publisher of Web Digest For Marketers, I sell lots of ad space. Some buyers of ad space are very sophisticated and know exactly what questions to ask, and some do not. Even the most sophisticated buyers will tell you there's always something new to learn from each buy.

Hereunder are my Top 10 Tips for buying ad space. Enjoy.

1. Compare Apples to Apples: Many media reps or media outlets will create special deals and packages for you that are difficult to compare with deals from other media outlets. Ask for all numbers to be broken out into CPMs (Cost Per Thousand) so you can easily make comparisons. Tip: Use my CPM calculators at

2. Buy in Advance: If you want total control over when and where your advertising hits, buy as much in advance as possible, especially when there is scarcity in the market. Web Digest For Marketers sells its best inventory out months in advance.

3. Buy At the Last Minute: I know, this runs counter to tip #2. But do hold some budget back for last-minute ad buys or what some call buys. This is also known as "Buzzard Buying" since you're taking advantage of last-minute deals the publisher will make available at especially good rates - because ad space is a vanishing commodity. Once it runs, it's gone. On occasion I have some of this space available. Let me know if you want to be notified when this happens.

4. Who Else Advertises?: Before contacting the media outlet, see who else is advertising in the publication. Maybe you know someone at that advertiser who can tell you how well the ads are performing.

5. Look for Testimonials: Always, always, always look for testimonials from satisfied advertisers. If there are none, something's probably wrong. For examples of testimonials from satisfied Web Digest For Marketers advertisers, check out

6. Have Your Creative Ready: Sounds obvious, right? But many advertisers, especially online, focus mostly on the media buy and then make a mad dash to get the copy and graphics in on or just over deadline. This doesn't allow time for testing privately and "sleeping on it, " which is important.

7. Ask for Volume Discounts: Don't be bashful. You pay less for a 6-pack of Coke, so why not for ad space as well?

8. Test First: Make sure you've chosen the right outlet or outlets by spreading your bets and seeing what pulls best for you. Remember to test the same creative in each publication so it's a fair test. Many firms that advertise to marketers start by advertising in Web Digest For Marketers because of the 2-for-1 ad deal offered. This allows them to test two different pieces of copy and then take the best-performing advertisement and place it elsewhere.

9. Look at Layout: Even before contacting the media outlets in question, review their product yourself. Are the ads placed well? Are your competitors advertising again and again? If they are, the ads are probably working or else they'd change the creative or the publication.

10. Assess Comfort Levels: Are you comfortable with the person you are buying ad space from? This is critical. Will he or she make good if something gets screwed up?

11. Bonus Tip - Look for Patterns: My policy to under-promise and over-deliver. I don't mention it much. I let my clients see it over time. This builds loyalty and trust, which is critical when buying something as necessary yet as ethereal as ad space. LC

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