Should you offer self-service advertising on your website?

Running a website, especially a high quality site, can take up a lot of your time. If you don’t have the funds to hire someone to run certain aspects of the business, it can quickly become overwhelming. One of the best ways to raise money to grow the business is through advertising on your site. But what if you don’t have the time to go out and find advertisers on your own? One option that is very attractive is to let advertisers come to you via your own self-service advertising program, which allows potential advertisers to go in and create their own campaigns without going through some other salesperson or a third party ad network or exchange. There are some very obvious benefits that come with going this route, which is what we are going to look at now, so let’s get right to it.

More control
When you get your ads from an ad network or ad exchange, you are tied into their pricing and the advertisers that they already have on board. You often can exclude certain categories but do not get to choose specific advertisers. Price and commission are set by the ad exchange and you have little to no control over that. When you go with a self-serve ad server, you are in total control of everything, from the price for each ad space to choosing which advertisers you actually want to be on your website.

Your website likely has many different sections and areas that are available for advertising and different ad placements with different dimensions. Therefore, ad rates vary significantly because of location, dimension and format. An ad on the homepage should be more expensive than an ad on a sub-section. An ad placement at the bottom of the page is less desirable than a top ad placement. A video ad is worth more than a display banner ad. Also, there is nothing worse than seeing ads that don’t really fit the subject of your site or even go against what your site is about. Therefore, having that level of control is unique to a self-serve ad serving solution.

Higher profit level
As we mentioned earlier, going through an ad network or ad exchange means giving up control of the ads you show. You also give up a significant percentage of your ad revenue as their commissions for providing the marketplace for advertisers. They offer you a rate and you can either take it or leave it. There is little to no negotiation power for a single publisher. If there is a problem with an ad, you have to go through the third-party ad vendor to get the problem solved, which takes up your valuable time. If you are a small publisher, you might not get the needed attention and issues might not get resolved in a timely manner. Going with your own self-service advertising system, you cut out the middleman. You can build a direct relationship with your advertisers that they will value while getting 100% of the ad revenue. However, you will need to be able to attract potential advertisers and retain existing ones, which often means having a high quality website and keeping it desirable for advertisers.

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