Last week I was lucky enough to attend Affiliate Summit Central and while I was there I met quite a few new interesting people. Without a doubt, the most interesting person I met was a guy named Max from WhatRunsWhere.com. Max is the COO of WhatRunsWhere and he was invited to ASC to have a sit down with attendees and discuss media buying. Prior to my discussion with Max, I did not have a whole lot of knowledge about media buying. I’ve done a few small media buys for PeerFly and I have a lot of publishers who make good money doing media buys, but to be honest, it just wasn’t something that I had given a whole lot of thought or research. Max, on the other hand, knows pretty much everything there is to know about media buying and he was nice enough to share a lot of information with me, which I am going to now share you with you.
What is a Media Buy?
A media buy is simply what it sounds like, buying media. You purchase advertising on a website or network of websites for a set time or budget. For example, you could email me and offer to buy the 300×250 banner placement on the right side of this post for $250 for a month. You are purchasing that media placement at a set rate for a set time. Often with media buys you will purchase the space at a set CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). In that case, you would pay maybe $3.00 for every 1,000 times you banner is viewed (not clicked). Sounds good, but why is a media buy better than just buying some traffic on AdWords?
Benefits of a Media Buy
There are a lot of benefits to doing a media buy as an affiliate marketer. With most media buys you can get a direct link approved. So, if the advertiser has put together a great converting landing page there will be no need to put in the time and money to getting your own landing page together to presell the offer. There’s also a huge opportunity to scale.
Depending on the site you are doing you are media buy on, there may be a great opportunity to scale your campaign and get a lot of traffic. Not to compare apples to oranges, but one big issue a lot of my publishers are having with 7Search is simply scaling their campaigns. You work hard to get something to work and then there isn’t a huge opportunity to scale. With most media buys, that will not be a problem. For example, let’s say you do a media buy on E! Online. A similar demographic of user may be an avid reader of Perez Hilton and TMZ.com. You can test their display traffic with a media buy, grab more of their inventory with a higher CPM, and scale through the roof.
Risks of a Media Buy
With most direct media buys you’re probably going to have to sign an insert order for traffic and it can cost anywhere from $5,000 – $50,000+. Obviously, there’s a lot of risk in simply handing over $5,000+ for some traffic that you aren’t 100% sure is going to convert for you. When I was talking to Max at ASC12 he said it’s really important that you pay close attention to the terms setup within the IO (insert order). Some terms will require you to use your entire spend (no refunds). If you run $1,000 worth of impressions and it’s not working out you definitely need to have the opportunity to get your balance back.
Also, with a media buy you may run into issues with getting placements updated or removed. If you’re running a set of banners on a site and the offer those banners is going to goes down you need to be able to switch out your creatives and update your links. If you are stuck doing this through an account manager then by the time everything is updated you could have wasted thousands of dollars. Max said at his peak he was running media buys generating over a million dollars a month in revenue and he would spend 18 hours a day monitoring his campaigns because if something went wrong he could easily lose $5,000+. It would be to your advantage to start small before you attempt anything on that scale and luckily there are some great places to do your own media buys with a much lower barrier of entry.
How can you do a Media Buy?
Setting up your own media buy is actually pretty easy. You can try doing a direct media buy with a website owner or you can go through a network that brokers out the display traffic of other websites. For my next media buy I plan to go through a network. Specifically, I plan to use SiteScout.
SiteScout is the #1 Demand Side Platform for the Data-Driven Media Buyer! We Are Experts in Online Display Advertising, Real-Time Bidding, Behavioral Targeting, and Ad Serving!
I’ve had many people tell me SiteScout is a great company to work with so they are going to be the company I use to setup a media buy case study (to be posted later). They have billions of impressions in their inventory and a wide range of websites you can buy media on. They also appear to have a knowledgable and helpful team. The minimum deposit is $500, which is higher than your average self serve ad platform, but it’s also pretty cheap compared to some of the other media buy platforms I’ve look at. If you’re interested in using a network to do a media buy I suggest you take a look at them!
As I mentioned, I plan to do a case study on my next media buy using SiteScout, so keep your eye out for that. I will mail it to my Affiliate Manager Exclusive subscribers first, so hop on my list if you aren’t on there already!
If you have any questions about media buying you are welcome to post them in the comments below or email me. Let’s make some money.