Just about every web site owner has thought of a day when they will be able to harvest huge profits simply by putting other people's ads on their site. Put up your site, insert ads, and wait for the checks to arrive.
And why not?
TV pulls down billions, your local daily newspaper probably gobbles up 80% of the ad money spent in your town, and your favorite top five rated radio station practically prints money. Media earns. So why can't your web site get in on the media money frenzy, too?
While Internet advertising has been a bit slow to get started (banner ad rates aren't any higher than they were in 1996), online advertising is starting to show signs of real promise.
Optimistic predictions peg online ad sales topping $23.5 billion by 2005. That is even MORE than network TV earns. To make matters even more exciting for the small business owner, there don't seem to be many mammoth corporate sites running away with all the audience. Even Yahoo, the king of web traffic, is having problems keeping Wall Street happy.
What To Expect.
Most web sites ads are in the form of banners. Banner rates are based on how many visitors your site gets. Just like advertising on TV or print, rates are CPM (cost per thousand visitors). The CPM rate for banners has been at $35 for years.
I would be sloppy if I didn't also mention that a great many sites discount their rates if you ask. In reality, the average CPM rate (when you ask) is well below $35. This sort of thing isn't at all unusual in the media world. I once worked for a radio station that had a published rate of $75 per commercial. Most clients got their spots for just $30. One major supermarket who had a knack for negotiation was getting the same commercials for just $12.
One way to tell if a site isn't getting any advertisers is to note how many of their banners advertise their own site. Either they aren't getting anyone to buy their banner space or the rates are so low it is more profitable to advertise the company's own products.
When you publish your ad rates, try to keep them high. It's much easier to negotiate a lower rate than to raise low rates later on. Most media profits come from higher rates. When your unique visitor count goes up, raise your rates. When an important writer regularly sends you content, raise your rates.
Here's Who Can Place Ads On Your Site.
Fortunately, there are some very large and growing ad networks that bring thousands of everyday web sites together. These well organized packages of sites are very attractive to advertisers. Even for big companies, they are the way to go if you want to do an ad campaign on the Net without spending a month going from site to site setting up the deal.
Make your first stop at TheAdStop.com. They include how-to advice and a host of reviewed ad networks that can get you started.
eAds.com pays from a nickle to 20 cents per click and won't accept sites get less than 100,000 impressions per month (an impression is when a visitor sees a banner).
A site that is highly focused on a specific topic of interest to a certain valuable audience will produce better results for banners. eAds will negotiate a special price for sites with banners getting more than 500 clicks per month.
BurstMedia.com has taken the specialized site concept to a lofty level. They believe highly specialized site content provides better results for advertisers. On a recent visit, Burst was featuring LongHairLovers.com, a site for women with long hair.