Private Ads: Building Strong Advertiser Relationships

January 16, 2007 Posted by Tyler Cruz
  • Private Ads: Building Strong Advertiser Relationships
  • Condo Update

Building Strong Advertiser Relationships

I prefer to sell ads privately most of the time. What are private ads? Basically, private ads are paid advertisements that are administered and processed by the webmaster himself. The opposite of private ads would be the use of ad networks, such as ValueClickMedia, Google AdSense, TribalFusion, CasaleMedia, etc. I’ll refer to these as public ads.

I have absolutely nothing against public ads. They are an essential part of monetizing websites and do a great job at mediating between advertiser and publisher. However, I believe that many webmasters are so used to using public ads that they don’t even know that they have the option of sell ads privately.

Now, there are really only two methods of selling ads privately: automatically or by hand. I prefer the latter. I do not use an advertisement or banner management program even though there are some fantastic ones out there, for free no less, such as PHPadsNew. I therefore cannot track click-through-rates or sell ads on a CPM basis, and I’ll agree that this is a major downside of doing things by hand, but by talking to the advertisers personally, by adding their banner or other advertisement by hand and manually doing the accounting, I am more in tune with my advertisers.

For example, instead of simply having advertisers automatically purchase ads and being out of the picture completely, by dealing with advertisers personally I’m gaining a more personal relationship with that advertiser/person. They also get a better service this way as well – take the following scenario for instance: an advertiser half-way through their campaign decides they’d like to change their banner image. Depending on what automatic software you’re using, they may be able to do this by themselves, but what if they wanted to change their ad to another format, or request something that your software cannot offer?

By dealing with advertisers on a personal basis, they are getting better customer service and feel a closer connection with your site. You can also give them deals and work on obtaining bigger ad contracts. You couldn’t do this if you were simply using an automated process.

The biggest upside to selling ads privately and dealing with advertisers closely is that you open yourself up to a lot of opportunites. I outline them below:

  • Increased Revenue
  • I’ll often talk to advertisers on AIM or MSN to see how things are doing. By simply talking to advertisers and understanding their needs and wants, as well as truely befriending them, you’ll find yourself in many situations where you can sell more advertising to them.

    Take two weeks ago for example. I was bored and started to look through my AIM list to see if anyone interesting was on that I could talk to. I saw a particular person who had advertised on one of my sites for a long time, but had stopped for certain reaons and hadn’t advertised with me for several months.

    I decided to talk to him, not with selling any ads on my mind at all, but to simply see how things were going. It turns out that he had launched a few new sites and after a short bit of talking, he was interested in potentially advertising on my sites again.

    I pitched him a few ideas and offers, and a few minutes later he had spent $1,300 on ads.

    That is just one example. This happens to me all the time – I have so many great relationships with my advertisers; in the summer I was making $5,000 a month from one company/advertiser alone.

  • Repeat Advertisers
  • I’ve gained such great relationships with many of my advertisers that they keep renewing and coming back for more. I have some advertisers that have been with me for literally years. Repeat advertisers are a priceless commodity as you can even use them to advertise on multiple sites you own.

  • Free Referrals
  • If you keep your advertisers happy, you’ll be surprised what they’ll do for you. While this may seem a bad business move on their part, some advertisers will tell their collegues or friends about your site and that it’s a great place to advertise. They are selling your advertising for you!

    I also have advertisers who will enjoy my site and participate and visit it often. They’ll also tell friends to visit it as well.

  • Inside Information
  • This may depend on your niche and type of site, but I’ve gained a lot of inside information and knowledge by simply talking to advertisers. I’ll learn about new sites popping up, various interesting tidbits, possible upcoming competition, etc. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from advertisers – after all, they’re most likely not just advertising on your site alone.

I’ve made literally thousands if not tens of thousands of extra dollars that I most likely would not have ever seen if I had not dealt with advertisers privately. I’m an extremely honest salesman when it comes to my ads – in fact, I often advise advertisers not to purchase certain campaigns because I don’t think it will perform well for their particular site or needs. I believe this pays off in the long run as they’ll trust me and come back to me in the future.

So there you have it… just some food for thought.

Condo Update

I met with my realtor again today (I baked him some nice chocolate chip cookies, hot from the oven :)). I had to wait over the weekend for the sellers to sign the Purchase Agreement. I looked over everything today and signed it myself. I then wrote a cheque for $25,000 as a down payment. This was obviously the largest cheque I’ve ever written – it was a quite strange feeling to say the least.

So I’ve again progressed through the stages. There are still a few more steps however. The next is for my mortgage broker to work with the bank and approve and set up my mortgage; I’ve only been pre-approved thus far – now it must be initiated and set up officially. The bank will then do thing such as have my condo surveyed and appraised and such – this will be no problem as my place is brand spanking new and the same units in the building sold for $10,000 more. This is expected to take 7-10 days.

After that’s done, I’ll have to meet with a notary and lawyer to have the deed handed over and to fill out more paper work.

The posession date is set for February 24th – 39 days from now. I wish it was sooner – I’m so anxious to move in now. I’ll give my notice to my landlord soon as I need to give at least a month’s notice. I’ll start moving the small stuff myself the week before moving in, and will hire a moving company on the last day to move all the big stuff. So, unfortunately that means there will be no photos for you guys until I move in.

However, for those interested, I’ll provide some of the features of the place:

  • Modern, low-maintenance exterior with cultured stone detail
  • Engineered rain-screen designed finishes
  • Individual decks with tempered glass or decorative railings
  • Extensive landscaping with water feature, fountain, and gazebo
  • Guest parking
  • Secured, heated underground parking
  • Wheelchair accessible complex
  • Individual storage lockers
  • Enter-phone security system with cameras
  • Spacious social/activities lounge with outdoor patio BBQ pit area
  • Sprinkler system
  • Low-E double-glazed, thermally isolated, energy efficient windows
  • Individually air conditioned
  • Modern interior Champher Bead drywall corners
  • Designer White Frigidaire Appliance Package – self-cleaning coil element range; 21 cf fridge – spill-proof glass shelves; built-in dishwasher – ultra quiet insulation – 4 level precision wash – energy star-rated; over-the-range microwave with 2 speed fan, 115 cf 950 watts
  • Roughed in plumbing for built-in vacuum system
  • In-suite laundry rooms
  • American Standard bathrooms with soaker tubs
  • Ceramic tile foyer; 40 oz nylon carpet; quality lino in bathrooms and laundry
  • 8.6 coufered ceilings on the top floor
  • Pre-wired for High Speed Internet/Shaw Cable
  • Most suites have a gas fireplace
  • Well-planned kitchens with designer White Foil Cabinets with crown-moulding; brusiged chrome hardware; white tiled backsplash; double stainless sink; some kitchens feature breakfast counters
  • Window coverings/screens
  • Elevator
  • Each floor features a designer colour scheme
  • The St Paul Home Warranty
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Posted: January 16th, 2007 under Articles  

13 Responses to “Private Ads: Building Strong Advertiser Relationships”

  1. PigsnieLite says:

    Waaah, Tyler has a condo, Tyler has a condo! See! Pigsnoit wuz right — always go for the high end & you wont be sorry! Fixer uppies are a pain! Designer colour scheme, oh my! Send pics of palace to PLite please.

  2. Tyler says:

    Congrats for the new Condo Owner!

    Let’s hope you didn’t make BC Chocolate Chip Cookies to help relax your realtor ;)

  3. Dave Starr says:

    I noticed some of the places you were looking at earlier and frankly I thought they were a little below the level you should be aiming at.

    I kept my mouth shut as I try to avoid giving personal money advice, considering all the mistakes I’ve made myself along the way.

    This one looks like a very decent investment, I hope it works out well.

    Just too damn cold there in the winter for me ;-)

  4. Nate Whitehill says:

    Excellent article, Tyler. I am a long time reader/first time poster to your site. I just started my own blog and many of the articles you and John Chow have written have provided me with excellent information. Thanks again!

  5. mikez006 says:

    if you don’t use any software, how do you keep track of impressions? Or do you sell by length of time?

  6. tylercruz says:

    PigsnieLite – No pictures, sir! As I said, the only photos I have do not give it justice so you’ll have to wait around 40 days…

    DaveStar – Yeah, well the condominum market here has been steadily skyrocketing so you can only get so much for $220,000 here unfortunately.

    But anyhow the problem was that I had previously only been approved for a $150,000 mortgage which had severly limited what I could afford.

    Nate Whitehill – Great. Hope to have you stick around – and also hope to see you on PublisherForums.com :)

    mikez006 – I do everything in Excel for accounting, and I don’t offer impressions. I charge on a monthly (or longer) basis.

  7. Jane says:

    Congrats Tyler. Where is the condo located (State) for the condo market to be skyrocketing? Your first place is always the biggest buy…then it comes easy after that, just keep at the sites :)

  8. tylercruz says:

    Jane – I’m in Canada, on Vancouver Island. I took at a look at the real estate statistics and charts/graphs and trends and there is no doubt it’s been on a steady increase over the past few years. In fact, just over the past year I believe there was a 30% increase.

    With the Olympics arriving here soon, it will only drive the prices further.

    I live on Vancouver Island which is a beautiful island off the coast of Vancouver BC.

  9. soundofgold says:

    Hi Tyler,

    Congrats on the condo. I only came across your blog few days ago and I must say I really enjoy reading it.

    Just regarding the private ads – IMHO we should not forget that for blogs and sites which do not have big enough visitor base this may not be the option.

  10. Laura says:

    Congrats on the condo!

    I have to admit, I think it’s odd that you think that you can’t have the exact relationship that you talk about while still using PHPAdsnew (or even a paid service). What you consider “by hand” is exactly how we manage our private advertisers while using PHPAdsnew. What kind of people are advertising with you that they don’t want to know impressions and click through rates for their campaigns? Do they just not know much about advertising?

    But beyond that, aren’t you selling yourself short by not basing your rates on actual impressions? I am sure you take your impresions into account when creating your rates, but where’s the incentive to pump up traffic on a daily basis?

    I would hate for your readers to think that it’s a good idea to not offer at least the minimum tracking of impressions and click throughs. Most companies (IME) will require at least that, if not a way to log in and see that for themselves whenever they please. So what’s stopping you from using PHPAdsnew?

    But beyond that, you missed a level of advertiser in between. We have an ad agency that represents us individually – it’s neither a “public” network or private ads (I don’t do any work). but provides significantly higher CPM rates. Since they represent a network of sites, they can leverage that for buying power. I am not sure what other industries might have this type of network, but it provides a nice first tier of banner ad income.

    Just my thoughts. :)

    Laura

  11. Joshimitsu says:

    Well done tyler, that is great news!

  12. tylercruz says:

    Hi Laura,

    As stated in my blog, I’m not against PHPAdsNew, it’s just not for me. The point of the post was not to weigh privatizing ads vs public ads, nor administering ads by hand vs an automated system, but to showcase the power of dealing with advertisers closely.

    As far as impressions and such, I give the site information such as uniques, impressions, etc. and then if advertisers wish to track their click-throughs and ROI and such, they can do so with their own tracking software.

    I also use those intermediary ad agencies you’re speaking about. I use several of them, and they are good in obtaining multiple campaigns at once or larger campaign runs, so I do enjoy them. The only downside is that the process takes a bit longer since they are a middleman.

    Cheers,

    Tyler

  13. [...] As for Tyler’s blog, I believe it could use some improvement. For one, I think he should try and update it more frequently, and when he does make it about developer/internet related topics, as to attract visitors and not to bore them away. For example, I am subscribed to both Tyler’s and John Chow’s RSS feeds. When I check them usually three times a day, I will usually always see a new post from John, but maybe only once for Tyler, and sometimes not even once per day. Also, Tyler’s posts are usually not developer-friendly. Recently, he has been talking about his condo, taxes, and a game called Second Life. All of which are not interesting to his average reader. An example of a good post from Tyler would be his post on Private Ads: Building Strong Advertiser Relationships. However, this was posted in January, and since then there haven’t been any posts like it. Although I do enjoy reading about the life of a work-at-home twenty year old web developer, most people are interested in the hard content, and thats why I think Tyler hasn’t seen the traffic I think he wants. [...]

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