Is chasing online ads for you?

The revenue may be tempting, but will ads on your website be a benefit or a burden? MONIQUE TALBOT

Monique Talbot

By Monique Talbot

I was at a cocktail party the other night when an enthusiastic business owner bowled up and asked me should he outsource selling online advertising on his website. I am asked this a lot – when is the right time to outsource sales?

My first response, as always, was: “Why do you want to do it?” And the answer he gave cited the typical reasons I am usually given:

  • We need more revenue.
  • Everyone else is doing it.
  • The board/CEO wants us to do it.
  • We want to add value to customers’ experience.

But this is the wrong place to start. Before you make the decision to outsource your online ad sales, you need to think long and hard about why you want to do it and what your objectives are for doing it.

Consider the impact on your business, especially if you have just spent considerable time and more importantly, hard earned marketing dollars to drive traffic to your website. Is it going to distract you from your core business? Will advertising turn your potential customers off your site? Do you care?

Of course those of us in ad sales believe that any paid advertising never detracts from your user experience on your website and will even aim to make the ads complimentary to your website experience. For example having car insurance ads around the private car listings on is a natural fit, or a bank mortgage ad on a real estate site. These advertisers will pay a premium to be in a premium position on a relevant website.

But as I explained to my excited business owner, a word of caution.

Don’t believe everything you read about the amount of advertising revenue flowing around Australia. The online ad market in Australia is valued at over $1.2 billion. But be mindful that at least half of all those online ad dollars spent in Australia go on Google for search marketing and another large portion of it goes on the large portals like Yahoo and ninemsn, and the newspaper properties owned by News and Fairfax plus networks of websites that represent large independent sites like Carsales, SEEK, Coles and Business Spectator.

He also asked me if size mattered? Well, that was the good news.

Having a small, unique, yet highly targeted audience is very valuable. But I reminded him yet again that getting the attention of media and advertising agencies is a challenge that should never be underestimated, and is it really his core business?

As a first step I advised him to put a web tracking tool like “Google Analytics” on his site to measure traffic, as this will help value inventory and assist him in evaluating his potential online ad dollars. That will at least give him some idea of the value and whether the time, energy and resources he will need to devote to selling online advertising is worth it.


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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