What are direct ad sales? And how can publishers benefit from them?

Written by
May 14, 2024

Online programmatic marketplaces bring together web publishers and advertisers from across the world, providing a convenient medium to exchange ad-impressions for advertising budgets. These services offer an efficient way for publishers to monetize their web inventory, whilst giving advertisers a consolidated access point to purchase ad-placements from across the web. However, this convenience comes at the cost of fees charged by programmatic middlemen in exchange for using their services, reducing potential profit for publishers. 

Unlike other monetization services, Venatus gives publishers access to ‘direct sale’ marketing campaigns alongside programmatic demand, thereby improving overall profitability. But what exactly are direct ad campaigns and how can publishers take advantage of them?

What are direct ad sales?

As the name implies, direct ad sales are campaigns booked directly with an advertiser or marketing agency, as opposed to ones bought using a 3rd party programmatic marketplace. Direct sales are powered by Venatus’ global sales team, who build relationships with agencies and advertisers on behalf of our web publishers, negotiating every aspect of an ad campaign prior to booking, including impressions, formats, pricing, geos and campaign duration. Once booked, each campaign is set up and fulfilled by our ad operations team, who ensure each campaign delivers in full with optimal performance. 

Direct sale ad campaigns can also include campaigns which run over programmatic services, such as a programmatic guaranteed (PG) or private marketplace deals (PMP), which guarantees web inventory for advertisers whilst reducing programmatic fees. 

Benefits of direct ad sales

How direct ad sales benefit publishers

Direct sales benefit publishers by foregoing costs associated with selling via programmatic ad-exchanges, as each party within the programmatic system acts as a middleman, charging a markup on each sale made using their platforms. Therefore, publishers can stand to boost their ad-revenue by taking advantage of higher yielding direct campaigns.

How direct ad sales benefit advertisers

By booking direct campaigns, advertisers can reduce the amount of budget spent on programmatic fees, instead gaining more impressions. As direct sale campaigns guarantee the amount of impressions to be delivered and have dedicated ad-operations teams on hand to ensure performance is optimized, advertisers need not worry about their campaigns under-delivering or under-performing. Every aspect of a campaign is discussed and agreed upon with our sales teams, alleviating campaign set up and delivery responsibilities from advertisers. 

How direct ad sales benefit users

Users benefit from better looking and more immersive ad campaigns, as direct campaign booking allows for the use of completely customizable, rich media ad placements, whereas programmatic services typically utilize standard banner or video placements. 

Why are programmatic only monetizers so similar?

As programmatic marketplaces benefit from partnering with as many demand sources as possible, many programmatic-only monetizers have an extremely similar offering, making it hard for them to increase revenue beyond programmatic demand. These services often forego direct deal campaigns, as they lack sales teams with tangible industry relationships. Across 12 years of operations, Venatus’ global sales team have established relationships with numerous global marketing agencies, with client bases covering major household brands and large budget advertisers. 

Why are direct sale campaigns hard to win as a sole publisher?

You might be thinking, what’s stopping me going out and winning my own direct campaign deals and whilst it is certainly possible, booking campaigns with large scale advertisers is a lot easier said than done. Marketing agencies and large scale advertisers often deal with massive budgets to be spread across many online and offline ad-formats, so they are unlikely to consider booking separate deals with individual publishers, as they require much larger scale than one publisher can offer. 

By partnering with numerous gaming and entertainment publishers, Venatus is able to secure large deals with household brands, advertisers and agencies and delegate these across many sites, increasing reach for advertisers and profitability for publishers. 

How direct sale ad campaigns impact programmatic auction dynamics?

Direct sale campaigns coexist alongside programmatic demand, however as direct campaigns are higher yielding for publishers, it’s important these get priority over lower yielding demand sources. Venatus’ proprietary header bidding solution prioritizes direct over programmatic campaigns, opting for the highest paying programmatic alternative when there are no direct campaigns available. As demand for direct sale campaigns fluctuates across the year, for example it is much lower across Q1 compared to Q4, Venatus header bidding solution maximizes profitability by intelligently switching between the highest paying advertisers.

Publisher FAQs!

Q: What specific costs do publishers incur when setting up and running direct sale ad campaigns compared to programmatic campaigns?

A: Setting up direct sale ad campaigns involves initial costs such as creating tailored marketing materials and negotiating contracts, which can vary depending on the complexity and scope of the campaign. However, these upfront investments are often offset by higher revenues and better control over ad inventory, resulting in a more profitable outcome for publishers. Our direct sales approach allows for a deeper engagement with advertisers, creating more impactful campaigns tailored to specific audience needs. Learn more about the benefits of direct sale ad campaigns.

Q: How does Venatus measure and report the effectiveness of direct sale ad campaigns to their publishers?

A: Venatus uses a comprehensive set of metrics to measure the effectiveness of direct sale ad campaigns, including click-through rates, engagement levels, and conversion metrics. We provide detailed reports that allow publishers to see the performance of their ad campaigns in real-time, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to optimize their ad inventory.

Q: What technical requirements or support does Venatus provide to new publishers looking to integrate direct sale ad campaigns into their existing systems?

A: Venatus offers robust technical support to ensure a smooth integration process for publishers. This includes assistance with setting up ad servers, configuring APIs, and ensuring compatibility with existing publisher systems. Our team provides ongoing support to handle any technical challenges that may arise, ensuring that our publishers can focus on creating great content while we handle the intricacies of ad campaign management.

Speak to our team today, or head to our Knowledge Base to discover our library of publisher resources.

In summary...

Direct sales are a great opportunity for publishers to boost their revenue beyond just programmatic demand. As advertisers are more willing to pay higher CPMs for high-impact rich media ad-formats, it's important to ensure your website is well optimized for rich media placements - read more about rich media optimization here.

If you’d like to take advantage of direct sales, along with Venatus’ intelligent proprietary header bidding solution and global programmatic demand, get in touch at the email address below: