A station manager’s short course. This is part four of a five-part series running this week to help GMs lead the digital sponsorship effort.
Now that we’ve talked about people and inventory, it’s time to talk about tools of the trade.If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, just take a moment to revisit why digital sponsorship is worth your effort.Hang in here with us – you’re rounding third base!
So.Ad-server software.Is it worth the trouble and expense?If you have only a few ad units, you may be tempted just to let your online team hard-code them. But that approach quickly becomes unsustainable as your program takes off.
Ad-server software can automate a variety of tasks: rotate messages, organize campaigns, track ad views, track click-throughs, generate reports, and more. Much like the affidavits and reporting on the on-air side of your business,campaign analytics and reports are a baseline expectation for sponsors (and their agencies) in digital sponsorship as well.
Ad-serving software makes all of this possible easily, and in real time. If you’re serious about digital sponsorship revenue, eventually you will need to make this necessary investment.
A Minimal Investment Approach
But do you need to acquire ad-serving tools from the start?Not necessarily.If you are right at the starting line with digital sponsorship, you might consider one or more of the following options, which can help you get in the game with little effort or expense.
Network: If your traffic is on the lower end, consider adding your station’s online traffic to the traffic of other public broadcasting sites and join NPM’s PMI Channel. NPM sells on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis, and while network participation typically drives down CPM, it is an easy, turnkey way to get up and running with online sponsorship sales. Plus, you’ll be able to leverage the campaigns that may be running on the national sites, which meet high creative guidelines that are tailored to public broadcasting standards.
Outsource: Consider outsourcing your entire digital ad operation to NPM’s network via PMI Ops, and take advantage of custom training and coaching along the way to prepare your station for future growth and the potential for in-house sales.
Hybrid: Explore selling and serving your highly trafficked online content areas or features yourself, whether on a CPM or flat fee basis, and designate remnant or other inventory to the PMI Channel. This could give you the best of both worlds, but will require you to get ad-serving tools in place.