For better or for worse, selling ad space is no longer the primary way to go in the age of mobile devices and real-time marketing data. If you’re looking for new ways to energize profits for your publication’s online presence, then maybe it’s time you leveraged something even more desirable to advertisers — the precious data you have on the audience they seek. Let’s take a closer look at why it makes sense to switch to this new model for success in the digital marketplace.
The Demise of the “Ad Space” Model
In the ancient days of the print-only era, advertising in a particular publication was about as reliable a way of reaching a specific demographic as any. If you sold computer kits, for instance, you’d probably want to purchase ad space in magazines such as Popular Mechanics; after all, you could logically assume that the subscription base for that magazine included your target market. But even back then, the object was never to be seen in Popular Mechanics — it was to reach that audience segment.
In the modern era of Big Data, it’s clearer than ever that advertisers are looking to buy their target audience, not the medium that connects to them. They don’t care which publication or media channel feeds that audience to them. And that’s a problem if you’ve been relying on ad sales to keep your enterprise afloat. Or is it?
How to Profit from Your Data
Of course there’s no way you can profit from subscriber and visitor data you never collected, so look at your data collection methods to see whether they need beefing up. For instance, are you capturing age, sex, location, family size and income data from those who sign up for online exclusives, coupons, subscriptions and other goodies? These are all valuable data that can help you create cross-sections of your readership for advertisers to peruse, and they’re only the tip of the Big Data iceberg.
Make sure you’re collecting data on which of these people are focusing on specific topics, pages and videos. How long they view each item is critical too, especially if you plan on adopting the new cost-per-hour (CPH) model for pricing your online ads. This model can help you hook advertisers by guaranteeing them a certain amount of exposure time to their target audience for their advertising dollar.
READ MORE ON COST PER HOUR: Cost Per Hour: The Financial Times’ New Measurement for Website Success
Which devices are your readers using to access your site? That’s an extremely important tidbit, because it allows advertisers to create targeted ads for those specific devices, platforms, user locations and usage patterns. Send these details, along with website page views, to your advertisers in real-time feeds, and you’ll become a trusted resource for prime audience data — and that’s something advertisers will pay top dollar for.
Stop worrying about selling space and focus on selling your audience instead. By establishing your publication’s companion website as a data curator and instead of just a piece of advertising real estate, you’ll be able to transcend the old revenue model and keep your publication in the black.
How can publishers effectively strengthen their data capturing strategy in order to attract more advertisers and increase ad revenue?