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Hiring An Inhouse Ad Sales Person - Any Advice?

Because ad networks just aren't cutting it anymore



8:46 am on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's the current landscape as I see it:

--The fill rates an ad network can accomodate vary, but I'm seeing a dramatic drop (one network is currently providing only 30% fill rate!)

--The cpm rates are laughable for at least 75% of the market right now

--The quality of ads on some networks are downright scary (sneaky popups, malware), it's a full time job staying on top of it so the crap doesn't sneak thru

--Ad networks are generally SLOOOOOW...and pull down your pages loading time in the process--this is now a concern with seo

My take on the situation: The networks are too full of bloat (both on the publisher and advertiser side of things). Too many crap publishers syphoning off paying ads (and lowering the CPM value because of response rates), too many crap advertisers paying peanuts to cripple/seize up sites. Every network wants to be BIG BIG BIG and they're burning the building down around them in the process.

I like the thought of ad exchanges and bidding markets that bring advertisers and publishers together (like openx and doubleclick for example)...however, there's no quality control. One minute you see an ad for a fortune 500 company on the site, the next...you can't access it because it's cripped with malware or a popup storm served from a deviant advertiser. Visitors just LOOOOOVE that sort of thing.

Adsense--out of the question. I can't bring myself to do business with a company that says: we can't tell you the % your cut is...but trust us...really...we'll be fair...honest. WTH? What company could ever get away with that in any type of reality? Call me stubborn and stupid, but it is what it is for me.

So I've been thinking, I have a site:

--200k+ banner imps available per day (60k-70k pageviews/3 ad spots)

Big enough to make some decent cash, not big enough to work with premium ad handlers who demand 25 million - 100 million pageviews a month before they'll consider working with you (I already begged).

Although my traffic isn't mainstream huge, I think it's possibly enough that it would be worthwhile to contract someone to handle direct sale advertising for me. And I don't mean c&p network code on my pages...I mean hiring a real go-getter who can shake up and pursue direct ad sales that are decent quality and decent CPM.

Possibility: Maybe approaching a few sites that are comparable to mine (without being direct competitors), to beef up inventory and make us an easier sell. Choose similar traffic, similar content channel so that sales are focused on one channel. Keep things small enough one person can handle it all but large enough to attract some big ad buys (while ensuring a good quality inventory).

--Does anyone have any advice on pursuing this?
--What type of person/qualifications am I looking for?
--Is what I'm looking for a media buyer or ad broker or what?
--Are there experienced freelance people out there that do this sort of thing?
--What's the typical commission I can expect to pay?
--Any issues I should prepare for?

I'd appreciate any feedback and advice you can offer :)


2:26 pm on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Tallon,

You did a nice job of describing the conditions / landscape and overall picture.

Unfortunately, regardless if you are in a high or low value vertical, it will be difficult to attract direct advertisers at decent rates because of your size. Most don't want to bother with smaller reach.

I think the answer might be found in the paragraph you began with "Possibility"
And i would suggest you consider launching your own network for your vertical and plan to do all the things right - that you feel are lacking.

If you go that route, let us know how you structure and what you experience.

By the way, what vertical are you in and what cpm do you think is reasonable in todays markets.

Hope it helps


9:44 am on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

hi Tallon

I might help, do you use any messenger ID where we could chat ?

let me know



11:20 pm on Jun 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Yes, these days there are more freelance people out there. You're looking for someone who has the experience in being independent, works at home and likes it that way, and will probably want base pay plus commission.

I don't know many people who are willing to sell in this environment for 100 percent commission, especially taking on a site that hasn't had a dedicated rep before. Even if you could find that person, they would bail out as soon as they can find something stable somewhere else.

Regardless of the compensation plan, you might be paying out 50-100% of the revenue in compensation in the early months until that person is established, then drive that percentage down toward about 30% of revenue as the sales grow (hopefully).

Before trying to find a rep, you might consider looking for higher-level agencies that will represent your site. Whether they will work with you depends on the niche and the audience size. Travel Ad Network, for example, would work with a site of your size if you are focused on travel.

But I would still encourage you to consider using AdSense, even if they don't reveal their share. It's higher quality filler if nothing else, and you can bump it out when higher cpms come along.

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