While most forms of online marketing have an immediate return on investment (or failure), a media buy require a large upfront investment. Often, there is no guarantee of traffic, conversions or sales, and the cost is significantly higher than a single day of PPC advertising. So, the only real way to increase the chances of success with a media buy is to do a lot of research before purchasing an ad slot. Here are three tools that will make this much easier.

  1. Quantcast

Frequently online marketers get too attached to keyword research and search targeting. When you purchase an ad slot on a single website, search statistics become far less important. Instead, you want to know about the people who visit that website.

Quantcast provides a detailed breakdown of those demographics for millions of websites, allowing you to research not only the demographics of your target audience, but those of the websites on which you might place an ad. If you promote dating website memberships to men, review data for sites like AskMen.com and compare that demographic data to the sites on which you are considering a media buy.

  1. Site Scout Calculator

The Site Scout blog has a fantastic Media Buy calculator that allows you to determine the potential profitability of a campaign based on the impressions you are promised, the cost of the media buy and your current conversion rates. These numbers will likely change depending on where you promote your offer, so you can use the calculator each week or month to review your performance and decide if your campaign is converting high enough to continue.

  1. Buy Sell Ads

There are dozens of networks that facilitate direct media buys (both as a site owner and an advertiser). BuySellAds.com is one of the largest, and while you may not decide to purchase ad space through their marketplace, you can get a good idea of what people are currently paying per impression in different niches. This can help you budget your media buy and compare against individual rates if you contact a specific website for an ad placement.

Taking the Right First Step

Media buys can be very risky. You’re spending a lot of money on a single advertisement with no way to step back if it does not convert. So, make sure to do your research well in advance using these three tools and your own assessment of each opportunity. If done properly, your media buy will be successful immediately, allowing you to reinvest in more ad space and increase sales exponentially.