Direct advertising has its pros and cons

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


Direct sales have been a part of our “sell” for many years now and will be around for many years to come.

In a world where programmatic advertising has emerged and even become a dominant way to sell, we should not overlook direct sales nor the option of self-service — especially for smaller, perhaps local, media and advertisers.

Adding programmatic to direct sales

In my opinion, media companies need to add to their programmatic services a direct sales facility — especially when it comes to booking campaigns for the bigger clients and/or agencies and brands, which normally will include the high-value advertising accounts.

The actual value of an advertising client may help dictate which ad service is the best option.
The actual value of an advertising client may help dictate which ad service is the best option.

In the current environment of much global uncertainty and the continued recovery mode from a pandemic, it’s really important to ensure we are developing our most valuable (and profitable) relationships. 

All of which leads us firstly to direct sales. 

Whilst direct sales offer sales teams valued face time with their best ad clients, this also benefits brands. Buying direct enables advertisers to run a myriad of customised campaigns across multiple ad channels and gain access to guaranteed ad inventory for a certain price on certain Web sites. 

This also can help with brand safety, a key concern for many advertisers in an environment where fake news and misinformation can be prevalent.

Direct ad sales though can be a labourious process for some, chiefly smaller, media organisations. It needs your sales teams to carry out a concerted human effort with regard to satisfying client wants and needs, or maybe campaign negotiations, contracts, etc. This requires a “not insignificant” commitment to time and resource — as well as the possibility of human error — which is particularly of concern to local and regional media, where money and effort expended usually needs to be more frugal.

Due to the nature of direct sales being very much “hands on,” it’s probably now best to seek an alternative to this type of process for the more low-value accounts.

High- vs. low-value accounts 

While all of your ad clients should receive excellent service from us (a given), specific levels of service should be proportionately tailored to each client account.

At the end of the day, it takes the same level of time and effort to process a one-off £100 order as it does with a £50,000 order from a major advertiser.

A possible alternative for some is to offer our clients a self-service answer for their smaller advertising buys. This will free up time for sales teams to focus on the larger or possibly more complex accounts that generate greater returns.

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About Mark Challinor

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