10 key elements of a digital media kit

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Securing media kits is one of the most important steps a media buyer takes in considering a publisher’s advertising programs. Unfortunately, many buyers are frustrated by the state of most media kits – either the lack of relevant information they include or the registration requirements for accessing them. Buyers tell us that they ignore sites that make it too hard to get a media kit.  

How can publishers improve their media kits to attract instead of repel buyers? Here are 10 things that every publisher should include in their digital media kit. 

1. An emphasis on the quality and activity of the brand’s community. We often discuss changing the focus on audience or users to the brand’s community. A description of community better reflects the relationship between a site’s user base and their relationship to the media brand.

2. Audience data that extends beyond composition. Advertisers want more insights on who is going to a site, why they go and why they stick around. Understanding why someone navigates to and spends more time on a site is incredibly important in establishing value, especially when there are so many choices for finding similar content.

Media fragmentation is a major issue in the media selection process. Using time spent as a value differentiator is a key component, as people “vote” with their time. Publishers can highlight more time spent on a site, either through repeat visits or longer time per visit, as an important value point. 

In addition, publishers need to have a more in-depth understanding of their site’s audience, highlighting the activity of “heavy” users. These heavy users will also consume a higher share of the site’s ads, so they are more important to your advertisers.  

3. Updated site statistics from multiple sources. Media buyers have access to and use different research services. Since the research methodology is so different across the different research companies, it is important to explain any differences between your own internal web stats and those from syndicated research sources such as comScore, Nielsen or Quantcast. Site information should be current – not more than 6 months old.

4. A description of how different advertising programs can achieve results for different types of campaigns. Media properties should educate their advertisers as to how to best use their site for a branding campaign vs. a direct response campaign. For example, a branding campaign would benefit from a homepage takeover or other more disruptive, larger ad units and placements, whereas a direct response campaign might benefit from more targeting and more embedded ad units. 

One media kit I reviewed described each program and the ad unit types, size, key features, key benefits and “unit behavior,” for example:

  • Key Features: Dynamic data feed, Geo-IP Detection, Sharing (Facebook/Twitter), RSS feed for dynamic news.
  • Key Benefits: Dynamic content unit pulls from a concert listing API and shows the user a list of the upcoming selected concerts nearest to them. They can share these concerts with friends.
  • Unit Behavior: Upon initial load, local concert listings are presented to the user, search and many other features built into the unit.

This helps to illustrate how different ad units work to maximize and measure ad program effectiveness.

5. Screen grabs or illustrations of each ad unit and their placements on every major page type. Screen grabs and illustrations should indicate which ad placements can be used for sequencing, which are above the fold (regardless of browser type or resolution) and any other variances with regards to ad placements on your home page, section pages, article pages or other common page types.

6. What targeting options are available and how to use targeting with ROS (run of site) inventory.  Many advertisers don’t realize they limit their exposure and reach by “narrowcasting” targeted ads. Depending on the type of site, interactions with ads in targeted content or in content that demands high user involvement may deliver different results from ads in non-targeted content.  

7. Competitive positioning. It’s important to show how your site differentiates compared to other sites or networks in your space. Niche sites, portals, ad networks, etc., all work differently and have different values for advertisers. You should explain how your site works for driving advertising effectiveness and how your ad programs work and should be evaluated. 

8. Rate pricing – at least enough detail to help buyers understand how your rates compare. Some publishers feel the need to keep rates secret, but doing this may cost you business – and it definitely increases the time your sales teams spend dealing with leads that are inappropriate. If your rates are not at the lowest ad network level and a buyer is looking for cheap CPM media, you should not waste time trying to qualify this type of buyer. Letting buyers know your CPM level is also a statement of standing up to your value.  

9. Case studies across different vertical categories as well as ad programs. Buyers want to know that a site “works,” so including summaries of a plan, the creative and the results will make a difference in a competitive situation.

10. Easy access. Buyers should not have to register to get a healthy and robust understanding of what a site is about. Media kits are used by buyers to gather information – they should not be used as a lead generator by the sales team. Many buyers skip sites that require registration for a media kit.  What’s worse, those that do register often complain that they don’t get a quick response – or, in some cases, they get no response at all. If a buyer is considering your site, if you don’t provide them with instant information, the chances they will come back to you are slim.  

If you are concerned that your competitors will get your information, don’t worry – they will anyway, regardless of what “blocks” you put up to prevent it.  

A final note: If you sell integrated programs with offline and online media components, a full description of what and how your integrated programs work should also be included in your media kit. 

A well-executed media kit is an indispensible part the sales process. Media kits are often the first contact a buyer has with a site, so think of your media kit as the “the first impression,” which we know is the most important contact in building a relationship with future customers. The function of your media kit is to make a proper and passionate introduction to the media brand. The time and effort you put into creating, maintaining and updating your media kit will yield more and better qualified leads.

Also by Leslie Laredo: Chi and the art of digital media

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