Taming The 900-Pound Gorilla

Any of you other media folks starting to get a little ticked at the 900-pound gorillas in this space? Come on I know you are. How many times in the past few months have you heard quotes like these from reps?

  • “I’m sorry your ad banner didn’t meet our specs. All banners have to be under 128 bytes in size. Don’t even think about looping animation. And if your banner has an input field, the entire thing needs to be programmed in Fortran.”
  • “You want to switch creative??? I’m sorry, but we can’t do that. I wasn’t even supposed to take this buy. It’s under our minimum commitment of $10,000 a month.”
  • “So what if we only delivered 8 percent of our guarantee this month? We’ll make it up next month.”

What happened to the old “Internet entrepreneur” spirit? For some successful Internet ad sales folks, it seems to have died a quick death. Or has it?

That’s the wonderful thing about online media buying. When the 900-pound gorillas start to throw their weight around, there’s always the option of dealing with the 8-pound monkey instead. And I hope the media buyers who find minimum monthly dollar commitments, restrictive creative specs, lackluster service and inflexibility to be unreasonable will allocate money somewhere else.

The media buyers are starting to get frustrated by the new restrictions being placed on the advertising they buy. But it’s not the frustration that site publishers should be concerned with. It’s the effect these restrictions have on the media buyer’s bottom line. And when the bottom line is negatively affected, the money gets allocated elsewhere. It’s natural selection at its best.

If you’re a publisher who wants to keep his site from being Darwinized, reflect upon some or all of the following questions when you get the urge to be unreasonably restrictive:

  • If I impose a minimum monthly dollar commitment, how will my customers test creative and locations on my site? Will they have to blow an entire $10,000 to figure out that the Weather section of the site works better than the Finance section?
  • If I insist on limiting the number of times advertisers can switch creative during a campaign, will I also limit their ability to optimize their return on investment?
  • Will the failure to deliver ad views according to contracted levels affect my chances of getting on the buy next time?
  • Are my banner specs too limiting to allow for the testing of new ad formats or the use of more effective rich media formats? Do I think that advertisers will continue to produce GIF banners when other formats are clearly more effective in many cases?
  • Are competitors as restrictive as we are with their advertising regulations?

Just remember, the ad dollars will naturally gravitate toward the sites that deliver the most favorable ROI. And when the difference between a successful media buy and an unsuccessful one might be half a percentage point’s worth of response, do we really want to make things more difficult to implement for the agencies?

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