In our website, we sell advertising space - both banners via CPM, sponsored text links, and newsletter advertising. In our experience, here are what advertisers are looking for when choosing sites to use for their advertising:
1. Who are the visitors = It is important for advertisers to know whether your site's visitors are what they are after. More than just traffic numbers, they want to know whether they can get targeted traffic from your website. They want to know whether the customers they want are visiting your site.
2. Traffic levels = Advertisers will often ask you how many visitors/pageviews/uniques you get in a month. Some will go to Alexa.com to check your traffic standing (not accurate, but many see it as a good guide). If you are selling banners through CPM rates for example, they will normally ask you how long it will take you to show the 20,000 ad impressions they ordered (or how many they ordered).
3. Your rates = how comparable your rates are with others.
4. Customer service = advertisers want QUICK support from sites they want to advertise on. You need to be quick to respond to their emails, whether inquiring for your media kit or asking your ad rates or checking the performance of their ad campaigns.The key to understand is that advertisers will always look for metrics to help them gauge the ROI they can get from advertising in your website. If they don't think your site will not give them a good ROI, they will not advertise or renew their advertising on your site
5. Monitor campaign performance = advertisers want to see how their campaigns are doing on your site, so they can make decisions fairly quickly whether to change the creative, pause the campaign or increase the campaign. You need to be able to provide them with real time statistics. We use phpadsnew and it is just great (and FREE!).
As to what rate to charge, the amount depends on a number of factors:
- Who is your audience and how desirable is your audience to the advertisers? If your audience are techies or those who have the propensity to purchase higher-ticket items, then you can charge a higher price as compared to an audience of students.
- What is the rate of comparative websites in your niche? You don't want to overprice yourself out of the market yet you don't want to undercharge as well
- What is the rate advertisers are willing to pay in your site? You may charge $5 per CPM and yet for months nobody's taking you on the rate even though you may get inquiries -- this implies that advertisers think your rate is too expensive. But if you charge $0.50 per CPM and advertisers are flooding in, then you may be too cheap and can afford to increase your rate.
- What is the CPM you get from other advertising vehicles? Do you run Google Adsense, and if so, what is your effective CPM rate with them? Or if you run banner ads through ad networks like Burst Media, Valueclick or Tribal Fusion, what is the CPM you're getting? You can use those values to help you gauge your rate.
Since you're just starting in the game, experiment and see what rate the market will bite. You can start at $1 per CPM and see how it goes.
In terms of accepting payment, majority (99.8%) of those who will advertise will pay by credit card so make sure you have your own merchant account as well as Paypal.