By Ashley Welch

Different ads

This report outlines “best practices” of advertising for news and information start-ups. 22 publishers of local or niche start-ups were surveyed about their advertising practices and what works for them. These practices have proven to be effective for start-ups to increase their revenue and establish a sustainable economic model.

Table of Contents

Methodology

Methodology

  • Who We Surveyed and Why
Banner ads

Banner ads

  • Offer products that best serve your client’s needs and demands and make the sales process as easy as possible for them
  • Create banner ads in house to hook customers and follow IAB standard sizes.
Ad network

Ad network

  • Don’t let your ad network choice undermine your value proposition to your best advertisers.
  • IdIf your site covers a niche market, find an ad network that caters to that niche.
Mobile ads

Mobile Ads

  • Make your site responsive and enable ads to appear.
  • If you have the resources, invest in an app to increase ad inventory
Video ads

Video ads

  • If you have a specialized skill, such as video production, use it to your advantage to attract and hook clients.
  • If you have the resources, invest in video to stay competitive in the market and try using a video network.
Sponsored content/posts

Sponsored content/posts

  • Clearly label sponsored posts to ensure your credibility as a trusted, unbiased information source.
  • Don’t let sponsored content overwhelm your editorial content.
  • Keep production costs under control — particularly if you’re just starting up and have limited production bandwidth.
  • Make sponsored ads consistent with your overall message so users pay attention to them and the brand is happy.
  • Offer sponsorships for sections of your web site.
Social media services

Social media services

  • Package social media posts with sponsored content.
  • If you have a significant, engaged social following, sell posts or events against it.
  • Offer social media consulting services to clients who do not have these resources available.
Contests and daily deals

Contests and daily deals

  • Provide deals that best serve your audience and integrate them into editorial content.
  • If you have an engaged social following, offer contests on social media pages.
Contextual advertising

Contextual advertising

  • If your site caters to different niches within a general topic, offer targeted advertising within those niches.
  • Target ads based on reader demographics.
Vertical advertising

Vertical advertising

  • If your audience has expressed interest in a particular subject area, try selling ads around it.
  • If you see an unfilled niche in a coverage area, try to fill that gap and sell ads against it.
Directory

Directory

  • Remember to promote the site’s directory.
  • Pay attention to the directory’s presentation.
  • Serve your audience’s needs first and don’t compromise your site’s core values, even if it sometimes means leaving money on the table.

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About the Author

Ashley Welch currently works as the editor for CBS Interactive.  She previously worked as a health reporter for CBS Interactive and Everyday Health Inc. Her colleagues describe her as someone who thrives on building strong relationships for news stories and social media events with pivotal organizations and people who work in the health industry. Welch is also a 2011 alumna of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.