banner advertising

How to Charge for Online Banner Advertising

As bloggers, we deal a lot with the selling of text links, but not so much with banner ads.  As we discussed earlier, small blogs typically use fixed pricing models, so how do we know what to charge for banner ads?  This discussion identifies several factors for helping you set rates for online banner ads.

What is a Banner Ad?

The term banner ad originates from the wide or tall graphic ads that first started to appear on web pages.  Today, we will use the term banner to cover all types of graphic links.  The difference from a text link and a banner ad is simply the fact that a banner is a graphic or image type link.

Example Banner Ad:

make money online

Why don’t I get many offers for Banner Ads?

As small bloggers (<50,000 unique visits), we tend to receive mostly text link requests.  A text link is typically purchased for SEO benefits only.  The link builder wants their client’s link on your homepage, and won’t mind if it appears below your page fold.  The SEO benefit exists regardless of whether or not that text link appears above the fold.  It’s different for banner ads.

A banner advertisement aims for a visual benefit.  The client wants a lot of pageviews or impressions on that banner, which means they want people to see it.  Think of a highway billboard.  Billboards on busy highways can charge more, because the billboard gets more views.  Smaller blogs don’t get the million views most banner advertising demands, therefore, we don’t get many requests for them.  Pageviews or impressions aren’t as important for text links.

Online banner advertisements are also usually priced using CPC or CPM models.  We don’t use that type of pricing on small blogs.

Factors to consider when pricing a Banner Ad

1. Banner Ad Size

Banner ads can be of all shapes and sizes, but if you want to know the current standard sizes check out the IAB Ad Unit Guidelines.  I typically deal with the following sizes:

  • 125 x 125 – (Square Button)
  • 120 x 60 – (Button 2)
  • 300 x 250 – (Medium Rectangle)
  • 160 x 600 – (Wide Skyscraper)
  • 468 x 60 – (Full Banner)
  • 728 x 90 – (Leaderboard)

2. Type of Graphic Used

Besides the size of the banner, there are other characteristics to consider.

  • Animated Graphic
  • Plays Audio
  • Clickable Embedded Text

3. Location of Banner Ad

Locations can get very complicated, but most commonly they are placed in headers, footers and the sidebar.

  • Top of Page
  • Header
  • Sidebar
  • Above Post
  • Within Post
  • Below Post
  • Footer
  • Above or Below Page Fold

When pricing a Banner Ad

A banner ad is a visual advertisement, therefore it should be priced based on it’s visual marketing value by analyzing the 3 factors listed above.  A 125×125 box ad takes up more marketing space on your home page sidebar than a text link does.  So, why should you charge the same for both?  Don’t.  Think of a banner ad as a higher end type of advertisement.  We don’t get many of them, but when we do, you need to price is appropriately. A good starting point is to double the price of a text link in your sidebar and use that as your sidebar price for a 125×125 box ad.

online advertising rates

Confused?

With so many factors impacting the rate of a banner ad, it can be a little overwhelming at first.  I suggest first identifying locations where you are willing to place the online advertisements and document those prices for yourself.  Create easy pricing models and locations.  For example, a 300×250 medium rectangle ad in the top of your sidebar for all pages.  Or you can have a set price for homepage only and then secondary pages.

The most important takeaway from this article is that banner ads and text links are two completely different online advertisements often with different goals.  A banner in the sidebar should be priced higher than a text link in the same sidebar.

About Jason Castellani

Senior Consultant for ATCS Inc. and Principal of Castellani Media LLC., a collection of blogs focused on providing unique content and entertainment. Began blogging after quitting my job and backpacking for 1 year with my wife. I became fascinated with the impact of social media and how social media marketing can help businesses grow. My goal is to continue building consulting services in an effort to remain digital nomads. @JasonCastellani

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14 Responses to How to Charge for Online Banner Advertising

  1. Jeremy Branham October 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Wow, that seems like a lot for a banner ad! I never considered charging twice what I do a text link but I would LOVE it if someone is willing to pay me that! :)

    • Brooke vs. the World October 20, 2011 at 4:19 am #

      I definitely agree that it should be more than a text link, and I definitely charge more than a text link… but I never get double. Should really push harder!

      • Jason October 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

        Brooke, you should push harder, but at your own risk. Meaning, you will get less banner ads at higher prices, that will surely happen. But, think about the real estate of your screen and what you are sacrificing to get that banner ad in there. If it’s below the fold, you aren’t sacrificing a lot. But, where you place four 125×15 box ads, I can fit 16 text links. That’s a lot of money. Do I want my readers to see a visual 125×125 box ad of “Airport Parking in Glasgow”? Not particularly. It seems a bit cheesy. I would rather they pay me to stick it at the bottom of my sidebar as a text link. Unless, they want to pay enough to offset that visual discomfort. I don’t want banner ads unless you are willing to pay for it. They take up a lot of room, they will be noticed by my readers and they typically are not beneficial to my readers.

    • Jason October 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Jeremy, it seems like a lot to many bloggers, but that’s because we aren’t as familiar with marketing space concepts. We mostly deal in SEO links. When analyzing the visual value, the game changes. We now focus on space (size) and location. That visual space should be a very big concern of yours. You are openly sharing that graphic with your audience, versus a hidden SEO link in the bottom of the sidebar. You are also sacrificing valuable blogger real estate. Where an ad now appears atop your sidebar, could have been a drill through page opportunity for you visitors. You move other important widgets that are intended to keep your readers on your site further down the sidebar. All these factors increase the price of that marketing space.

  2. jade October 20, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Are these prices for a month, a year? Just wondering so I can compare prices, thanks!

    • Jason October 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      They are not over any given period. The example is to show that your banner ads should be priced much highe than your text link slots. As a reference we showed that a 125×125 box ad should be double your text link cost, regardless of the time frame.

  3. Katrina October 22, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    Measuring the screen real estate is exactly what Todd (of Todd’s Wanderings) advised me to do when considering prices. Glad to see I’m doing all right. Very helpful post, btw. Thank you!

  4. DTravelsRound October 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Great tips! Now … can you point us in the direction of how to get advertisers to want to buy banner ads?? ;)

    • Jason November 1, 2011 at 5:28 am #

      That one is difficult. Banner ads are specifically built for pageviews. Most smaller blogs, <100,000 visits, aren't getting enough pageviews to attract banner advertisers.

  5. Cole @ FourJandals November 5, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    We had our first banner offer this week. Curious to know, do you or should you sign a contract with the advertiser?

    • Jason November 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      Sorry for the late response. An email detailing the terms is all you need.

  6. cash4wealth January 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Jason thanks so much for this important info on banner ad rate. this just ave me a better idea to deal with a client in need of ad banner space on my blog.

  7. cash4wealth January 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Jason thanks so much for this important info on banner ad rate. this just gave me a better idea to deal with a client in need of ad banner space on my blog.

  8. AdUnleash March 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    This is really good info as it can be confusing and difficult for the average person to figure out a base price. It all depends on the market and waht kind of volume you are dealing with.

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