Make Money Blogging: Direct Advertising Sales

Direct ad sales = mucho dinero.

[This is a part of the Make Money Blogging Series.]

This one is pretty obvious and you already see it being executed on everywhere you go.

If a blog has any traffic and any community to boot then direct advertising sales is something definitely to be considered, and is most likely the first place you want to start when beginning your adventure into monetizing (the art, craft, and strategy of making money off of) your blog.

Direct ad sales is simply trading space on your blog for another organization’s information, which is typically an image or text link. This image and/or text link could be advertising a particular product, service, business, or even another advertising service (which always makes me chuckle a bit).

The thing to remember with direct ad sales is that you are in control of advertising and thus keep 100% of the sales and revenue generated from the transaction. Keeping 100% of the profit is always a good thing to consider!

The space on your blog could be in your header (top part of your blog), footer (bottom part of your blog) or sidebar (very typical to see it here) or within the content of each blog post (very strategic). The size of the banner depends on the size of the available space provided as well as the number of advertisement slots that are being served.

Of course there are some advantages and disadvantages to this model as well as some other considerations. Here they are:

The Advantages:

Think about it...

The amount of ways that you can do direct advertising sales are limited to your creativity and flexibility with how you want to run them, which is an advantage of sorts.

You can:

  • Set your own rules for advertising. You have control!
  • Set your own rates, payment schedules, payment options/gateways, and time slots. You decide!
  • Set the sizes that you offer and the amount of offerings.
  • You can have the flexibility and/or consistency that you want in regards to guidelines, and rules for type, content, weight, and context of advertisement.
  • Connect directly with the buyer and organization; establish greater relational equity with businesses.

Ultimately the bottom line is that with direct advertising you can set the ground-rules for how you want to advertise and sell your blog space and have control over nearly everything.

For some people this is the only way to go.

The Disadvantages:

Time is money. Seriously.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share some of the things that are less-than desirable as it pertains to direct sales and advertising on your blog.

Here are a few:

  • Client-relationship management might not be your strong suit and if there are potential disagreements with payment, processing, rate of return/return on investment, and more, then you have to deal with that directly. Following up on a non-paying advertiser can be some people’s worst nightmare. Yikes!
  • Finding advertisers can be rather difficult in the direct model. The advertisers have to understand that you exist (which is sometimes the largest challenge), become educated on the value of your property, run the gauntlet as it pertains to your rules and stipulations, start the conversation with you from a business perspective, and then setup a payment plan, etc.
  • Your the boss which means you’re ultimately responsible. If this isn’t your cup-o-tea then you might not like the direct sales model since you have to be in charge from soup-to-nuts of the business, marketing, and return on your partner businesses dollars. Too much responsibility? For some the answer is YES!
  • The biggest reason a lot of people don’t like it is because it requires a lot of time to manage. From setting up the advertisements to the client-relationship management, to payment and follow-up, the end result is much more time spent managing the stock, inventory, and accounting than what is actually worth the ad space. That’s a bad place to be!

The bottom line here is again that of control which can also be your worst enemy if taking control takes a lot of time. You have to decide whether it’s worth it or not.

Typical Pricing Models:

A few pricing models.

There are a few ways for your partner organizations and businesses to pay you as it relates to direct advertising sales, and here are some of the most typical:

  • Pay per Time – Usually you will offer your spaces on the per month basis but I’ve seen it done by weeks and even days. You can offer discounts per quarter or even per year if you so wish. Advertising starts on a particular day and then ends on a set amount of time or period.
  • Pay per Click (PPC) – This has been a growing trend in advertising spend and essentially you would charge them for the number of clicks that their particular advertisement gets. The advertiser typically has a “ceiling” or “cap” of how much they want to spent on a set campaign and then you run their advertisement until a typical metric is met or the money runs out. This could be dangerous for the advertiser if the owner of the blog is a bit “shady” and clicks the advertisements themself or pays someone else to do it.
  • Pay per Impression (CPM) – CPM stands for “Cost per Mille” which is latin for 1,000. So it’s the cost an advertiser will pay for 1,000 impressions or views of their advertisement on your blog. The more traffic your blog has the more that advertiser will pay (and quickly!). If your blog doesn’t have much traffic then their advertisement might sit there for a while until they swap out or run out of their campaign budget.

There are tons of variations of the above three but those provide the typical foundations of most advertising models and campaigns. For new bloggers venturing into advertising sales I would most definitely suggest the first, Pay per Time, and usually start on a per month schedule.

I hope that helps provide some context and education around one of the most prominent advertising models around! It still is, to be quite honest, one of the most strategic and financially rewarding options out there and it should be in your mix of offerings almost always.

So what about you? Is this something you do? Is it something you’re planning on doing? How’s it working out for you?

[This is a part of the Make Money Blogging Series.]