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23 Apr

Best Traffic Sources Part 3: Direct Media Buys and Real Time Bidding

Cam Connor May 20, 2013
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In the third and final article on the Pros and Cons of the different traffic sources, we’re going to be covering the pros and cons of doing direct Media Buys, and using a Real Time Bidding platform(RTB).

Direct Media Buys The Pro’s and Con’s

Direct Media Buys are when you buy banner ad inventory directly from a website, generally on a CPM basis. There are many pros and cons to doing this, but overall, it’s one of the best ways to get traffic.

Pros:

Buying Media directly from a website is a tried and true method. It’s probably the oldest method for advertising online, even older than Search Engine Optimization. You might think that the “fly by night” high tech traffic sources that give you thousands of clicks at the push of a button sound really great, but, the truth is, the tried and true methods, are hands down the best. Another great advantage to Media Buying is the freedom it gives you. When you’re doing direct Media Buys, you’re working with individual websites, so you don’t have some “overlord” entity like Google, or Facebook telling you what to do with your campaigns. Most websites are pretty lenient, but, if one of them doesn’t like something you’re doing, there are a hundred others who will be just fine with it 

No one company can ever dominate all the available banner ad inventory that’s out there on the market. Which then brings us to the next point, namely, there is literally an UNLIMITED amount of banner ad inventory on the net, so scaling becomes very easy. In fact, contrary to popular belief, scaling is actually easier in some ways with Media Buys, than with other traffic sources like Google AdWords, because once you find something that works well on one website, chances are, it will work well on a similar website as well, so you can easily start out at only $25 a day in profit, and work your way up to $1,000 a day.

Another advantage to Media Buys, is the fact that you’re using banner ads. Once you learn banner ad copy, you have WAY more freedom than if you were using text ad copy, which means, you have a greater possibility of creating a banner ad that’s much higher above the average banner ad CTR, than you do of creating a text ad that’s higher than the average text ad CTR. When you combine this fact, with the fact that you’re paying on a CPM basis, you can end up getting WAY more bang for your buck, than you could with a traffic source such as PPC. Last, but certainly not least… because of all the banner ad inventory that’s available on a daily basis, and all the banner ad inventory that never gets purchased, overall, it’s a lot cheaper to get clicks with Media Buying than it is with PPC. So, Media Buying is an excellent traffic source for people who want freedom, and want to be able to score a lot of traffic, relatively quickly.

Cons:

There aren’t as many cons to buying Media as there are with some other traffic sources, but I’ll take a moment to go over some of them now. One, banner ads can be a double-edged sword. If you don’t like the graphic design aspect, for example, or, you get intimidated by the fact that banner ads are just a “blank slate”, then maybe Media Buying wouldn’t be your ideal traffic source. Another downfall, is that because you’re buying directly from different websites, you’ll have to do some negotiating to get the best prices. If you don’t know how to negotiate, it can be very difficult to find traffic cheap enough to turn a nice profit. Last but not least, since your buying from individual sites, while scaling up can be easier, it can also be more time-consuming, because you have to talk to each individual site, one by one.

 

Real Time Bidding Pro’s and Con’s

In my opinion, while RTB is a relatively new traffic source (only a few years old at the time of this writing), it’s still extremely good, because it’s an improvement on something that already worked really well (Media Buying). There are far more Pros than Cons with RTB’s, so let’s go over them now.

Pros:

One of the nice things about Real Time Bidding, is it makes scaling up EVEN easier than with direct Media Buys. You just allocate more money for traffic, as you did with Google or MSN adCenter, and you’re good to go, so it really streamlines the Media Buying process. Another HUGE advantage to using an RTB, is the fact that you can target INDIVIDUALS, as opposed to entire websites, like you have to do with direct Media Buys. This means, that you can drill down, and get traffic that is even more laser targeted, than other type of traffic on the net. You can target people who recently purchased a certain thing, you can target any demographic, target by location, and so much more. You can even target people who have visited one of your landing pages before, because it will place a cookie on their computer, which will then allow you to target that person REGARDLESS of where they go on the internet. This is called “retargeting”.

Lastly, an RTB will allow you to do what’s called “Auto-Optimization”, which will look at all the data from all your different prospects, find what attributes overlap, and then, target people based on those attributes, so you’re only targeting the people who have PROVEN to be converting prospects. Very cool.

Cons:

With RTB, there are relatively few downsides, in fact, the only one I can think of, is that there is, to some extent, a lack of transparency, which means, that the RTB platform can mark up the traffic, without you actually knowing it. Usually this will be very limited, and this is how some RTB’s make their money in general, however, the mark-up isn’t too bad, usually only 5-10% tops, which is well worth it for what you’re getting in most cases.

Also, since RTB’s are relatively new, I’m sure that more platforms will hit this market, and make it even more competitive, which will ultimately help to drop the prices and mark ups.

 

SiteScout

That concludes this three part series on the Pros and Cons of the different traffic sources, we hope you’ve enjoyed. There are still many other minor Pros and Cons, but, if you’ve read all three articles, you now have enough info to make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

 

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