Breaking through media buyer walls

Driving sales can take some tricks on the web, but some simple changes may be all you need. MONIQUE TALBOT

Monique Talbot

By Monique Talbot

As I was sitting in an ad agency meeting the other day with one of my sales team, trying to convince some 20-something media planner/buyer that one of the sites we represent was perfect for their client, I was thinking “imagine trying to get in to see this kid if you were a single site owner?”

As an online sales agency we represent some of the best online websites in Australia like SEEK, Carsales and Ticketek for example. Yet we find it challenging to get in front of some of these agencies on a regular basis.

Some of our sites have over two million unique visitors each month, so you would think these sites should be in demand from advertisers, wouldn’t you?

The difficulty is that advertisers have a plethora of choice about where to spend their online ad dollars and getting ad agencies to place their clients’ ad dollars on sites other than ninemsn, Yahoo, News and Fairfax is a constant battle.

So imagine how difficult that task would be if you were just a publisher of one site with a fairly small yet highly targeted niche audience and you wanted to offer paid advertising on your site?

Want to bypass the media buyers? One smart way may be to do it yourself through sponsorships and partnerships. Approach key strategic partners or people that you think may have an interest in reaching your website audience and offer them a paid sponsorship opportunity.

If you allow partners access to your audience and they see value in partnering with your brand, a longer term agreement (say 12 months) is usually best for both parties, as it can take some time to ramp up the value of the advertising and it also offers your partners some form of exclusivity over your audience.

Make sure you and your partners agree on the value of the proposition, or be aware that if you have a highly sought after audience, once people see advertising on your site they may approach you for a similar opportunity for themselves. And you will kick yourself for the next 12 months if you have already “given the farm away” on your partnership!

Another option is Google: Google has the technology and the world wide search power to put your marketing message in front of millions of people and similarly you can profit from all of those millions of searchers on Google too.

By signing your website up for Google AdSense (you can do it online for free at and click on Advertising Programs) where you can according to the Google spiel: “ Earn money from relevant ads on your website. Google AdSense matches ads to your site’s content, and you earn money whenever your visitors click on them.” Sounds pretty easy to me! Sign me up!

But beware you will need a significant amount of traffic to earn really good bucks this way, but if it is just a little extra pocket money for your website that you are after then this may be the easiest way.

Advertising networks: These are quite a new entrant in the Australian online market, but with $1.2 billion dollars being exchanged in online media, it is likely to be something we see more and more.

The ad networks in the US and Europe aggregate website traffic and sell it from one centralised point and usually have technology behind it to super charge performance of these ads on the network.

One network I am very familiar with is which takes inventory from websites globally and layer technology over the top of the websites to ensure the best return for the website publishers and advertisers.

Many ad networks specialise in paying on a performance basis – cost-per-click, cost per application or even cost per sale, so that the more effective the ads on your site are, the more revenue you will be able to generate. Like Google AdSense you will still need substantial website traffic to be attractive to advertising networks like

“Good old contra”: It won’t make you any money to run someone’s ads on your site for free while they run some of your ads on their site, but what it might do is save you some of those hard earned marketing dollars.

If you swap contra with other sites just make sure you have a fair and transparent way of making sure both of you get what you agreed out of the contra, and ensure that the creative (the banner ads) you use has an effective “call to action” on it, to encourage people to click on your ad to drive as much traffic as possible to your site.


Monique Talbot started her online career back in 1996 with Yellow Pages Online, and is one of the pioneers of the Australian online adverting industry. After successfully launching the Yellow Pages site, she took up the role of national sales and marketing manager for one of Australia’s largest ISPs OzEmail. She left in 1999 to start her own business, Tempest Online Media. Zoom Direct is a further extension of Tempest as Monique sees the future of online advertising lies in providing practical, highly targeted EDM solutions in conjunction with broad reaching, online display advertising. She is totally convinced the medium and the industry in Australia is still in its infancy.

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