Sponsored Advertising 102: What to charge for ad space


Welcome to Sponsored Advertising 102!

Have you ever wondered why an advertiser didn’t follow up after you submitted your ad space rates?

Why you’re not getting buyers at all?

Why an advertiser says your rates are too high even though you’re charging what others in your niche charge?

Why advertisers ARE jumping to buy ad space from you?

You could be charging too much or too little in the case of the last option – even if you’re charging what “everyone” else charges.

Today I’ll share how to determine what to charge.

Whether you’re a multi-topic blog or niche blog, you can successfully sell ad space and sponsored posts and be profitable at it, as long as you’re honest, you know your audience and you’re providing value.

Now that we’ve discussed how to entice advertisers, let’s move on to what to charge for ad space and sponsored posts.

Update 12/6/2013. I apologize for the lateness of this post. I scheduled it for yesterday and then played nursemaid all night to sick kids not realizing the post didn’t publish. Because I spent 3 hours this morning trying to get this post to publish, a newer version to publish and then my blog to work which all broke due to a plugin, I’m behind schedule. The affiliate marketing post will publish on Monday December 9th, 2013.


What to charge for ad space

As I mentioned in Sponsored Advertising 101, when working on a client’s search engine marketing campaign, I will seek out blogs who’s audience is the client’s target market. For example, if my client in a tennis wear line, I will seek out opportunities to work with blogs that create content for tennis players. If my client is a pet store, I would like to work with bloggers who create content for pet owners.

Once, I’ve found compatible blogs, I will filter my list based on media kits, which involves crunching numbers. It all comes down to dollars and sense (not cents) and the client’s budget.

But filtering based on media kits isn’t as simple as who charges more or who has the most traffic. Cause you know, that would make my life too easy. Instead we must look at where we’ll get the most bang for our buck.

There’s a formula I use to determine where we’ll see the most ROI, and I’m going to share that formula with you so you can use it to determine your pricing.

Here’s the formula: -4 = (-4y-8)/(y+2).

Now I’m sure many of you are very good with algebra and using this to determine your pricing is going to be a piece of cake.

I, on the other hand, sucked at algebra, so lucky for me this formula is fake.

You gotta love me people.

When determining which ad space will bring the highest ROI, I use the CPM model, that is cost per thousand views.

CPM makes the most sense for campaigns focused on heightening brand awareness.

Side note: I usually only run cost per click ads with Google. This is because those ads are specifically written and delivered for people who are searching to “buy now”.

Here is the real formula and how I use it.

1. I look at the average cost per thousand for each candidate.  (You can use this formula to determine what popular blogs similar to yours is charging to determine your rates. More on this shortly.)

Blog A has 30k pageviews per month. Her ad space costs $50/month. I need to determine how much she is charging per 1000 pageviews.

30,000 divided by 1000 is 30. $50 divided by 30 is $1.66 per 1000 page views.

Blog B has 85k pageviews per month. Her ad space costs $125/month.

85,000 divided by 1000 is 85. $125 divided by 85 is $1.47 per 1000 page views.

Blog B is the least expensive option, though they are charging more and have more traffic.

 How do you use this info?

Step one:  Visit popular blogs similar to yours, view their advertising rates and traffic stats, use the above method to determine what they charge by 1000 page views.

Step two:  Divide your monthly traffic by 1000, multiple that by the amount you found in step one.

Using the example from the previous section, if Blog A is charging $1.66 per 1000 views, and you have 50k views per month, the formula would be $1.66 x 5o = $83/month

I would suggest using this price for your biggest ad space. If your biggest ad space is 300px, then a 150px ad space should be $41.50. Half the price of the bigger ad.

If you’re not sure who your competition is, you can use SEMRUSH to find your competition. I certainly use it to find prospects.

Let’s say, off the top of my head, I wanted to advertise with The Pioneer Woman and blogs like hers.

I can plug her url into SEMRUSH and choose Competitors from the sidebar and go through the list of her 51k competitors to find prospects.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 8.34.00 AM

You can plug your blog url into the search field and find your competition (as I and other advertisers would determine your competition to be).

A Word About Niche Blogs…

Niche bloggers tend to charge more. This is because all of their content is focused on one topic. A niche blog with the same amount of content, social shares and traffic as a multi topic blog can usually rank for more keywords related to a specific industry in the search engine results. This gives niche blogs an advantage over multi topic blogs depending on the advertiser’s product and market.

For example, a digital photography blog will have more keywords in common with Canon Inc. then a multi-topic blog that has a photography category. Another point to note is, though multi-topic blogs tend to have bigger audiences, not all of their audience may be interested in digital photography. However, nearly all of the digital photography blog’s audience is Canon’s target market, so the blog can and will charge more for ad space because this niche blog is not only increasing the brand’s exposure but also giving the brand direct access to their market.

Sponsored posts.

Sponsored posts should be written to entice the audience into becoming the brand’s customer and to impress the brand with your outstanding marketing skills.

Now that you know how to determine pricing for ads, deciding what to charge for sponsored posts is super stinking easy, but only if set an hourly rate for yourself.

1. Choose an hourly rate.

2. Average your hours spent on a post and multiply that by your hourly rate.

3. Add the sum of number two to the cost of your biggest ad space.

If you’re having trouble deciding on an hourly rate, keep this in mind:

1. You’ll have to use/read/evaluate the product or service.

2. You’ll need to take pictures.

3. You’ll need to proofread and seo that post.

4. You’ll need to promote that post on social media.

I sometimes suggest that people look at job boards to see what magazines will pay a writer. This method once worked, I’m not sure if people are publishing that info in “help wanted” ads anymore. But if you can find any, that’s a good place to start. Do not look at freelance writing “help wanted” ads. Those looking to hire freelancers are usually looking to pay less then they would a staff writer. Consider yourself a magazine editor for your magazine and decide what you want to pay your best writer (you) hourly.

 Take. Action. Now.

Now that you have info on how to charge for ad space, get moving bub!

Compile a list of your top 20 ranking keywords, group them into categories, research brands that would want to rank for those keywords and hit those people up with your advertising kit that showcases that you know their market.

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  1. says

    Ha! I was THE WORST at algebra ~ however, when math involves money, I totally get it! I am going to pin this. My teeny tiny little blog is so not ready for advertisers and coming up on a year now, I don’t know if it ever will be…but…if it ever takes off in that direction, I’ll be prepared! Thanks and Happy Holidays!
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