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Smaller publishers usually struggle with the same issues. Issues they wouldn’t have if they would team up with a sales house. In the last couple of years we have seen publishers shifting towards, but also away from sales houses. It is a strategic decision. We work together with both parties and by writing this article we hope to provide you with more insights on why joining a sales house might or might not be good idea.

The motivation for most publishers to move towards a sales house can usually be narrowed down towards the following two reasons.

1 – Small amounts of inventory that is not interesting for big advertisers

Publisher: “Why would a huge advertiser want to advertise on my regional news site?”
– How can you close a deal with a huge advertiser if you only have 1 million impressions a month? Why would this advertiser make time for a meeting with your salesperson?
In smaller-sized companies it can be common to only have one sales person. How can this sales manager sell display next to all the other advertising possibilities?

2 – Insufficient technical knowledge or support

Salesperson: “I have reached my targets this month and we’ve got three new advertisers on our site now!”
– That’s great, but in operations, we’ve come across several occasions where a salesperson oversold the inventory for the month. The consequences can have a huge impact: campaigns will not reach their goals, advertisers will not be satisfied and might not return.

Looking at the first issue, the challenges that can be identified are time management and your position in the market. For an advertiser it is a lot of hassle to rebook impressions to other publishers and if you are not a very big publisher, you might not be worth this hassle.
Therefore a cooperation with a good reputable sales house will definitely improve your position in the market and save you a lot of time and effort. Besides that, sales houses have inhouse traffickers with sufficient technical knowledge. They can give you a forecast of how much display inventory you might see in the upcoming month and regularly beat those targets to keep you happy.

Checklist for Independent Publishers

To find their value proposition, publishers have to research and experiment what they can sell across which channel for which price. The process of setting a benchmark. Besides that, a sales team or person with a diverse background is crucial. Someone that can network and build up relationships with your operational team, someone that has sufficient technical knowledge and someone that can sell your brand. To define if it would be good for you to become or stay independent, it might help you to answer these questions:

Are you worth more than the value eCPM a sales house can offer you?
  • Is your brand well known in the market or do you see potential for ‘putting it out there’?
  • Is it worth the salary for you?
  • Does your sales rep have what it takes or can you find one that understands the business?

If you answer these questions with YES, you surely have potential. Now the next steps will involve some strategy.

Channel approach

If you have the right people on board, you just need to find the right channels. ‘Direct versus programmatic sales’ is a regularly debated topic in the industry. The AdExchanger looks at this topic closely from a revenue perspective in the following blog: How Much Is Your Direct Sales Team Really Worth? This blog will help you to decide on how much effort you should put into your direct sales.

Programmatic knowledge

Deals within the Google Ad Exchange can be set up in no time. You can even create a once-off connection that will always allow a buyer to buy for a certain CPM, no further action necessary. The whole industry has been informed that programmatic is not ‘remnant’ any more, but lately we have been seeing more and more proof of it. The article ‘Intermarkets Speaks The Language of Programmatic Sales’ explains how to deal with the technical challenges of Programmatic sales: Publishers selling programmatic need trained “digital media operators” who can speak the language of buyers.

More information? Want to get in touch? 

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