The value of a direct publisher relationship

You have an overwhelming number of advertising options. So how do you ensure that you’re connecting with the best possible audience in the best possible ways?

Today’s digital advertising heavily emphasizes the power of data—which is important, because it helps you connect with the right people and produce the most efficient ads. But successful advertising is more nuanced than that.

Both banner ads and print ads provide a direct publisher relationship. This is where you choose where your ad appears, not just who sees it.

Here are some of the key advantages of a direct publisher relationship.

You know who you’re doing business with

When people see your brand advertised on a website or in a magazine, they associate your brand with that website or magazine. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Other times it’s not. It all depends on what you think of those brands you’re appearing beside–and just as importantly, what your audience thinks of them.

You don’t have to look far to find advertisers removing their ads from sites, shows, and organizations they don’t want to be associated with. Take a look at Google’s suggested searches for “advertisers pulling”:

Google search screenshot

We live in an era of boycotts, where consumers challenge (and in some cases even threaten) brands to be vigilant about who they’re doing business with.

Now, I’m not saying “Be careful, or people might boycott you.” In the vast majority of cases, that’s not what’s at stake. If you follow people around the Internet using third party relationships like the Facebook Audience Network, you’re bound to appear on sites and next to content you probably don’t want to be associated with. And your brand’s reputation, trust, and authority are at stake.

As you try to reach the Christian market, you don’t just want Christians to see your ads. You want Christians to see your ads beside the Christian organizations and leaders they already know and trust.

When you have a direct publisher relationship, you know exactly who you’re doing business with. And that means you have more control over the brand associations your target audience will make.

You tap into a highly targeted audience

It takes a lot of work to grow an audience. Many Christian organizations have spent decades building their brand and becoming known for their services, products, and perspectives. They have established readerships. They have robust email lists, thriving social media accounts, and active blogs that drive people to their website every day.

A direct publisher relationship lets you piggyback off of the work these organizations have already put into cultivating an audience that’s interested in what they do.

Not to mention, these relationships can lead to other things, like email sends to their list, appearing at conferences together, and other collaborative efforts that come from partnerships between real people.

Sure, you could use Facebook to target an audience based on demographics or personal interests. But then you’re relying on your ad to do all the heavy lifting. By choosing to place your ad on a specific platform, you get the added bonus of being identified with a website or magazine your ideal customer already trusts.

Your ads become part of the experience

Especially in print ads, a direct publisher relationship gives you an opportunity to contribute to the reading experience, rather than detract from it. Your messaging can be catered not just to the people who see your ad, but the context in which they see it.

When people sit down to read a magazine, they have particular expectations for what they’ll find in its pages. They have problems, aspirations, and interests that the magazine directly addresses–and your ads help the magazine do that.

If you want to get really advanced online, you could even use search engine optimization (SEO) tools like Ahrefs to dig into what people are searching for when they arrive at a publisher’s website, or what their most popular pages are. Then you can create ads that respond to the content on those pages or the curiosity that led them to the website.

Don’t underestimate the value of relationships

Direct publisher relationships give you new opportunities you simply don’t have when you inject your ads into someone’s social media feed or show them on millions of sites at once.

Your ideal audience is out there. Why not choose where and how they’ll find you?