An ad network is an effective method of effectively delivering online advertising to a target market. Your responsibility as manager of the network would be to sell adverts and find appropriate high-traffic websites on which to place adverts for your clients. This is not unlike traditional ad agencies in that your priority is to identify target demographics for the client and your revenue comes from a percentage of the overall marketing budget you are managing.
Skills needed: You will need to know how the online advertising business operates. If you have graphic design skills then you will be able to create your own banner advertisements for clients – this will eliminate the cost of outsourcing this service.
Business environment and set-up cost: Due to the nature of online advertising, there are no real barriers to you working for overseas clients. You will need all the standard computer hardware and will need to get your website developed and hosted. The main expense will be the software required to run the network, as it needs to be powerful enough to serve the correct adverts to website visitors and provide your clients with reports on the traffic and trends it records. The overall start-up cost will range from £1,500 to £5,000 (2,000- 6,000 EUR, 3,000-10,000 AUD/USD), however the sky is the limit as far as advertising software is concerned and therefore the most sophisticated and highly targeted software can cost up to £50,000 (65,000 EUR or 100,000 AUD/USD).
Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
Become involved in newsgroups and forums related to online advertising or the industries targeted by your ad network, using a clickable banner as a signature that links to your website
Place links to your website at online advertising directories
Use your own ad network to place targeted banner advertisements for your services
Run an affiliate program to generate referrals and increase awareness of your business
Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online
Complimentary business ideas: If you have graphic design skills then you can offer additional advert design services
Notes: Make sure that the software you purchase is the right one for your level of business – this will require some research on your part as to how sophisticated it will need to be. Be readily available for your clients via phone or e-mail and be prepared to offer them last-minute volume discounts to get rid of excess capacity ad space.
Online examples & resources:
ValueClick Media – One of the largest ad networks
iMedia Connection – A list of the major internet ad networks
For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here