Why You Should Manage Digital Ad Sales Differently from Print!
AdBoom Advertising supports associations and B2B publishers with print and digital ad sales representation. As part of our suite of services, clients regularly rely on us to transition their print publications to digital formats.
Optimizing content and ad products is only part of this process. The change to a new medium also provides advertisers with powerful new insights into the performance of their ad buys. For this reason and others, long-term success in digital ad sales requires a different approach than print in managing advertiser needs and expectations.
Accountability Systems in Print Ad Sales versus Digital
A recent study of B2B organizations found that measuring return-on-investment is the second biggest challenge that marketers face (following only the need to generate leads for sales.)
With print publications, advertisers may count on historical data, such as readership surveys, to evaluate ROI. Readership surveys provide information directly from members of associations or consumers of trade publications:
- They offer data on how many times the typical reader reads a publication and passes it along.
- Surveys provide demographic information about readers. Attitudinal studies may also show that readers value the publication and take action based on its advertisements.
In addition to surveys, print publications can also track performance by offering coded coupons. Analyzing the results of how readers use these coupons can give the publication an idea of engagement and interest.
Digital publications allow advertisers to measure ROI differently, whether they are digital editions or website versions of print content. They may use:
- Historical data: average impressions, time on site, click-through rates, and other information.
- The effectiveness of an ad buy over a long period of time.
- Real-time data on the short-term impact of an ad buy.
Digital Ad Sales Require Publishers to Manage Advertisers Differently
The specificity that digital provides is both an advantage and a disadvantage to ad sales management.
When your publications are meeting or exceeding your advertisers’ expectations, earning their ad dollars is easier. They have greater transparency into their investment, and they can see the value that an impression or click provides.
However, your advertising sales manager may face more challenges when advertisers don’t see their ads perform at the level that they expect. This can happen when the impressions that ads receive are lower than they should be, when there is a drop is click-through rates, or when the ads on high-dollar real estate, such as above-the-fold homepage ads, do not perform as intended.
While advertisers can evaluate the impact of print advertisement on their business goals, digital ads give them more actionable data that they can use to make decisions. This may also put greater pressure to deliver on publishers.
How Publishers Can Support Digital Advertisers (Even in Difficult Times)
“Ad sales” is more than getting an advertiser to make a one-time buy. The goal is to produce long-term relationships that help publishers grow.
Whether your organization partners with an advertising sales agency like ours or is working on its own, there needs to be active management of advertisers, especially when ads aren’t performing as expected. What does this mean?
- Carefully monitoring performance so that your ad sales team is ready to respond when impressions are low, CTR isn’t where it should be, or other concerns arise.
- Conducting research into how advertisers are performing compared to benchmarks throughout the industry, including their competitors. Relative success may be just as valuable to your advertisers as meeting whatever expectations your team has set.
- Establishing a plan for improvement. The ad sales team has to be ready with a solution for advertisers. This might mean testing different landing pages, placement sizes, and creative. It might also mean understanding why ads aren’t performing as intended and helping to match the buy to changing circumstances.
Increased transparency and performance tracking isn’t a bad thing. Instead, it presents your organization with an opportunity: the chance to provide intelligence and advertiser support that your competitors don’t. Distinguishing your ad products in this way can more than make up for the loss in value during under-performing periods.
Learn more about managing print and digital advertisers relationships from AdBoom. Get in touch with our ad sales agency.