Media ad sales teams should focus on these 8 strategies of revenue growth

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


Greetings from London, UK. I hope you are looking forward to the festive season.

In this last INMA Advertising Initiative newsletter of the year, I want to ask you a question: 

Are you always looking for new ways to elevate your advertising revenue within your media sales teams? 

If yes or no, I would you like to share with you what I believe are the main ways we can do so. Let’s see if you are on the same track. Or indeed, maybe I can steer you. 

What are the best approaches to attract, persuade, and service your advertisers? In this newsletter, I will provide you with some things that will help you in raising your media ad sales teams’ performance. I will talk firstly about the fundamentals around our required approach that will drive ad revenues and then, eight specific things I think we need to consider to action it all.

Finally, some broader thoughts regarding the understanding of our client audiences, our advertisers themselves, and the various platforms out there. And where do “value-added packages” and developing relationships fit in? They all contribute to increased revenues. 

3 key drivers of ad revenue growth 

Ultimately, it’s all about getting to grips with the core foundations of our approach to advertisers. In the ever-evolving world of media, staying ahead of the curve and adapting ourselves to the constantly changing preferences of both client audiences and the advertisers themselves is crucial for media sales teams to thrive in.

For me, in that environment, there are a number of key drivers of growth:

  • Audience fragmentation: At base level, audiences consume media across multiple platforms, and media companies have the opportunity to reach a wider and more diverse audience by offering targeted advertising solutions. We all understand this. 
  • Data-driven advertising: Advertisers are increasingly seeking (unique) data-driven insights to optimise their campaigns and ensure they are getting to the right audiences, at the right time, with the right message. Media companies that can provide valuable audience data and analytics play a pivotal role in this process. That’s where our first-party data strategy comes to the fore. Sharing the insights with advertisers (selling them at a premium) needs to be high on our priority list. 
  • Seamless channel advertising: Advertisers are now seeking integrated ad solutions that cover many platforms, allowing them to create a consistent and seamless experience (for their target audience). Media companies that can offer such solutions are well-positioned to capture a larger share of ad budgets.

8 strategies for ad revenue growth 

To capitalise on the above drivers and boost our ad revenues, media sales teams should adopt a more strategic approach more than perhaps ever before. I believe there are eight interlinked, specific things which are part of that required strategic approach: 

  1. True specialism (via expertise) is crucial. We need to develop specialised expertise about specific ad formats, ad platforms and targeting strategies to become a “go-to” trusted resource for advertisers seeking tailored solutions. 
  2. Data collection/analysis where we embrace data-driven sales methodologies by collecting and analysing audience data to identify behavioural patterns and preferences. We have to leverage this data to develop compelling sales pitches and tailor solutions to specific advertiser needs. Maybe AI can assist us here? 
  3. Strong customer relationships where we are able to develop strong relationships with existing and potential advertisers by building both trust and understanding of their business goals. We need to proactively provide insights and recommendations to demonstrate to them the value of our media. 
  4. Tech integration. Utilising advertising automation tools and data analytic platforms to streamline our sales processes, improve campaign performance tracking, and enhance customer service. Again, is this a job for AI? 
  5. Multi-channel capabilities with integrated advertising solutions that cover multiple platforms, including digital, print and social media. We need to provide advertisers with the flexibility to reach their target audience across their (and maybe even our recommended) preferred channels. 
  6. Creative storytelling that demonstrates the effectiveness of our media platform(s) via equally compelling storytelling case studies that showcase the impact of successful ad campaigns. 
  7. Embracing change. Staying abreast of any evolving trends in ad technology, in consumer behaviour, and in data/privacy regulations to ensure our sales strategies remain relevant and effective.
  8. Continually learning and innovating. Encouraging a culture of continual learning and innovating within the sales team to adapt to new market dynamics and to develop razor-sharp sales strategies. As an example, what do our sales teams know about sustainability in advertising?

Only by understanding the evolving needs of advertisers and leveraging data-driven insights can our sales teams can become truly indispensable partners in driving ad revenue success and, as a consequence, build deeper/stronger advertiser relationships.

3 things ad teams need to know

Finally, let’s now take a deeper dive into how we apply some of the above elements practically. “Knowing” is key:

1. Knowing our audience(s) properly: Obvious maybe, but it’s one of the first steps to increase ad revenue is to know your audience well. 

We need to collect and analyse data on who they are, what they want, how they consume our media, and how they respond to ads. This will help us segment our audience(s), tailor our content, and optimise our ad inventory. Tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or perhaps Nielsen ratings can measure and monitor our audience behaviour and preferences. 

We also will have first-party data (remember: unique data that we own) which allows us to analyse who is actually making the purchase. From this data, we can start to build similar audiences to identify additional consumers who might be interested in the advertiser’s brands/products.

2. Knowing our advertisers: Another key success move is to know our advertisers and their goals. 

We need to research and understand their market, products, services, competitors, and their challenges. We also need to identify their pressure points, needs, and expectations from advertising with us. This will help us with compelling proposals, relevant potential solutions, and demonstrate to them our value proposition. 

Serving your advertisers (via a consultative sell) starts with a deeper understanding of their goals. By aligning our strategies with advertisers objectives, we can not only enhance our value but establish lasting and mutually beneficial/trusted partnerships.

It all leads to increased revenues.

3. Knowing our platforms. The third crucial focus is to know our platforms and their strengths, too. 

We need to be aware of the different media channels, formats, and devices you can use to deliver your client’s ads, as well as how they perform in terms of reach, engagement, conversion, and retention. 

You also need to know how to leverage the features and benefits of each platform, such as interactivity, personalisation, targeting, or analytics (via tools like Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager, or Adobe Media Optimiser) to manage and optimise ad campaigns across the various platforms.

And a few bonus thoughts

Measuring is important: We must measure the results. Track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS). Use this data to identify what’s working, what’s not, and to make adjustments to your client campaigns as needed. (And see my recent blog on attention metrics for a growing trend we can’t ignore).

Create value-added packages: One of the most effective strategies to increase ad revenue is to create value-added packages that entwine different media products and services  …and benefits. We can offer our advertisers more exposure, reach, frequency, or impact by bundling our ad inventory across platforms, formats, or genres. We can also offer them additional services, such as creative design, content production, and/or performance tracking. 

By bundling ad opportunities with additional perks — such as exclusive access to targeted audiences, insightful data analytics, or creative content collaborations — we can provide advertisers with tremendous added value. 

These packages will not only boost revenue but also help develop long-term partnerships. They demonstrate our commitment to helping advertisers achieve their goals and ultimately lead to more trust, more renewals, and more referrals. 

Follow up and nurturing relationships: Finally, an essential strategy to increase advertising revenue is to follow up and nurture relationships with your advertisers. We need to maintain regular contact, provide feedback, offer support, and seek referrals. We also need to anticipate their needs, suggest new opportunities, and upsell or cross-sell our media products and services. 

It’s important to tailor our content to where a consumer is in their buying journey. If they’ve visited our client’s product pages multiple times but haven’t purchased, we want to ensure we serve them a retargeting ad for that product (as opposed to an ad for a different product). 

Overall, our media sales teams should be able to navigate the modern, dynamic media landscape and essentially position themselves to capture a larger share of the total ad revenue pie.

It’s what we can demonstrate we deserve … if we choose to deserve it. 

About this newsletter 

Today’s newsletter is written by Mark Challinor, based in London and lead for the INMA Advertising Initiative. Mark will share research, case studies, and thought leadership on the topic of global news media advertising. Sign up for the newsletter here.

This newsletter is a public face of the Advertising Initiative by INMA, outlined here.

E-mail Mark at with thoughts, suggestions, and questions or follow him on Twitter (@challinor).

About Mark Challinor

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