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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Basics of selling ad space on your site - Part 1

Here are a few basic tips if you're trying to increase ad sales on your site, or if you're thinking about starting for the first time.

1. Know your audience
Do surveys asking people about themselves, and work out your site's demographics. If your site has some form of membership, or accepts donations, you should absolutely have information about those people. They're your most devoted visitors -- know who they are and what they're interested in.

2. Know your audience's value
If your site serves a niche, know how much of a niche it is. And if your site isn't very popular, make sure that there's something about your audience that makes them different from the audiences of other, more popular websites. Know your audience's value, and know exactly why I should buy on your website instead of someone else's.

3. Know your ad space's value
Once you've determined the relative scarcity of your audience, know how much to charge for your ad space. If only a small number of people go to your site (low reach) and you're charging a lot of money, your site had better be the only website on the internet they visit. Because, remember, chances are I can find your audience elsewhere. So price accordingly. Have a niche, and charge an appropriate amount based on the scarcity of your audience, and the reach to that audience that your site has.

4. Charge by the CPM
This is harder than charging by the week/month, but it gives some guarantee to your advertiser that people will actually see their ads. You might not be able to do this at first because it does take some management and administration, but it's something you should be working toward.

5. Be picky with your advertisers
If you become known for having pointless, irrelevant ads on your site, that space becomes less valuable to other, more appropriate advertisers because they'll know that your audience expects ads in those spaces to be irrelevant -- so why would they ever look at them? The ads on Penny-Arcade are an excellent example of being picky with your advertisers. Those ads are incredibly relevant to their enormous audience.

6. Use standard ad sizes
I know, I know, I've complained about standard ad units plenty, but this advice is for people looking for advertisers, not advertisers looking for brand new opportunities. Assume the advertisers you want already have ad units created and don't want to spend money making new ones just to fit into the ad space on your site. Be able to take ads they've used elsewhere and use them on your site.

More to come!!


Anonymous said...

Man your site is stale. Perhaps you got a real job at a haberdashery instead of continuing your SEO scam. Or you're busy picking baco-bits out of your tofu.

Joel Kelly said...

Ahaha! Thanks for your input! I'll take it under advisement...

Ben said...


ohhhhh snap.