When I looked into selling advertising space here on Business Plus Baby the first place I went was Google. Unfortunately, most of the information I found was way too advanced and technical for someone like me who was just starting out with web advertising.
In the end I decide not to go down the advertising route at that time (more on that in another post!), but I wrote up what I did find in this post: how to make more money from your website: advertising and sponsorship because I thought it would be useful for someone else.
One thing I didn’t cover in that post was what a prospective advertiser would want to see if they were thinking of buying an ad on your site. These stats are usually part of your media pack. And so that you get more than just my opinion here 🙂 I’ve asked some Business Plus Baby guest posters what they’d like to see if they were thinking of advertising on your website.
The basics that any advertiser would want are the number of page views of your website every month and the number of unique visits. (The visits are the number of times pages on your website have been viewed. But someone may come to your website and view eight pages while they are there. So that would be one unique visit but eight page views.)
So your first step is to set up Google Analytics so that it can record all this data for you. You’ll want to do this at least a month before you start selling advertising space so that you’ve got a month of data under your belt. Of course, the more data you have the better, so if you’ve even got half an idea that you might want to sell advertising space at some point, set up Google Analytics ASAP.
Let’s look at some other stats that your prospects might want to see. The average time spent on site and the bounce rate both measure how ‘sticky’ your site is. Average time spent on site is easy enough to understand and the bounce rate is the number of visitors who leave having just visited one page. The bounce rate is usually given as a percentage and you want it to be as low as possible, although 20% is very good.
You can include more than just website stats, too. If you have a mailing list (if not, that’s something else for your to-do list!), you could include the number of names on it in your media pack. Space in a targeted mailing can be very valuable for advertisers, but even if you’re not selling space in your newsletter, a large mailing list shows you’re influential. Emma Burford of Mums Business Directory suggests including the number of likes on your Facebook page and Twitter followers, too.
It may be worth carrying out a short survey to find out the profile of your visitors. Information like their age, gender, if they have children, ages of their children and so on could show that your website is a good match for your advertisers’ target market. You can do this for free using Survey Monkey and you could encourage people to take part by offering a prize for one lucky entrant.
Of courses, you don’t have to display this information openly on your website if you don’t want to. You can always ask prospective advertisers to email you if they’d like to know your stats. Or you could share just very basic stats on your site and email the rest on request. Frances Weir of children’s book storage supplier Big Book Little Book Cardboard Box says “I would expect you to be unwilling to share certain info (such as referral sites and keywords) as I could use that info to bypass you altogether!”
If some of your stats aren’t that impressive yet, think about either not including them for a few months until they’ve improved (unless that would look suspicious!) Or you could explain that your website/mailing list is only a couple of months old but is growing at a rate of X% per month. Julia Odgers of KidsTravel2 says “indicate if there is a seasonal variation or if you have busy periods during the year”. That’s another good reason to get Google Analytics up and running as soon as you can – you’ll need several months of data at least to pick up on seasonal variations.
And if getting all these stats straight is making your head spin, remember this is just good old fashioned marketing. You’re trying to show that what you have to offer is valuable to your prospective client, the advertiser. Julia Odgers says “I would also want to see what makes you unique, different and special to others in the market place – why would I want to advertise with you? Is there a unique angle you have that others don’t?”
Do you have any other suggestions for which stats would like to see in a media pack? Leave me a comment below!
*Update, 27/9/2012 *
I’ll write a post at some point on why I changed my mind, so you might like to join my mailing list if you don’t want to miss it?