Bloggers who make their money from direct advertisers rather than through AdSense can make as much as 3-4 times higher CPMs. The direct ads market is a significant step up from monetizing via other methods. When should you take this step? Read on.
=> What Direct Advertisers Are Looking For
There are a few things that direct advertisers want in a site they’re advertising in.
Firstly, they’re looking for traffic. If your site doesn’t get enough traffic, they’re not even going to bother with negotiations.
Secondly, they tend to be very brand conscious. Specifically, they want their ads to be displayed on websites that complement their brand.
That’s why a “how to get rid of acne” page on WebMD can command so much higher CPMs than other sites built on the same topic. Advertisers want to be associated with a brand like WebMD.
Direct response advertisers sometimes do go for direct ad placements. However, by and large direct advertisers tend to be more brand conscious than response conscious.
If you want to shoot for the high CPM ad buyers, you’re usually aiming for brand-oriented ad buyers rather than purely response-oriented ad buyers.
=> When Should You Start Taking on Direct Advertisers?
A good sign that it’s time to start taking on direct advertisers is when people start approaching you to advertise on your site.
That means that people are already seeing your site as a reputable site in your space. They think you have traffic and are starting to believe in your brand.
Once you’ve made your first sale or two from people approaching you, you can start taking a more active role in soliciting future advertisers.
Apart from this rule of thumb, generally you’ll want to be getting at least half a million pageviews per month before seeking out direct advertisers. Your brand needs to be well recognized in your space and your home domain’s Page Rank should be at least 3 or 4.
=> Final Words on Dealing with Direct Advertisers
When you first take on direct advertisers, you’ll need to set up your own ad serving software. Generally, you’ll want to set up your site so that it displays direct ads first, then displays AdSense ads once your higher CPM ad buys run out.
You’ll also need to come up with your policy around text link buys. You’ll almost certainly be approached regarding buying text links. Though they can be a good source of revenue to start, selling links can damage your rankings in the future.
Finally, remember that direct advertisers are real human beings. Unlike dealing with AdSense code, you’ll now have to manage a real relationship. That means figuring out what’s important to your advertisers and making sure they’re continuing to get that by advertising with you.