Never buy list pricing – recommendations for banner advertising

There were times when only banners would go for online-advertsing. That seems to have changed to "Google" and other search engines being the main collectors of online-ad-spent. Here are some thoughts, that can help to judge possible sites for advertising and give you arguments to haggle with them about pricing.

Today most site-owners know that Google can possibly be a competitor and are willing to negotiate on pricing and placement of your ads.


  • If you want to judge, if an offer is okay, you should calculate the CPM (Cost per thousand contacts) or in German "TKP" (Tausender-Kontakt-Preis).
    1. Find out, how often your advertisement (banner) is displayed per period. If you pay monthly, you should get the so-called "ad-impressions" per month.
    2. Divide the ad-impressions by 1000.
    3. Divide the cost per month by the result above (ad-impressions/1000) and get the CPM / TKP.
  • If you do not want to calculate it yourself, you can ask the portal-owner to tell it to you. (But do not forget to check, what they believe to be a "contact" and if you agree with that.)
  • The following prices are to be judged as follows (very rough, differs) [for B2B]:
    1. CPM of 0,00 Euro up to 5,00 Euro ==> very cheap ==> ask yourself: Is the quality okay? What are the problems, that might occur?
    2. CPM of 5,00 Euro up to 12,50 Euro ==> reasonable ==> This is the "normal" range.
    3. CPM of 12,50 Euro up to 45,00 Euro ==> expensive (yet not unusual) ==> You should have a good reason, why the advertisement will pay off. (see list of good quality criteria below.)
    4. CPM of 45,00 Euro up to 130,00 Euro ==> very expensive ==> Ask a professional to consult you with these ads. It can be reasonable. But in a lot of cases, these ads will not pay off.

The range for B2C is different and cheaper.

Put stress on Quality
Please always make sure, that the quality of your advertisement is high. The following list assures good quality of your advertisement:

In general: Banner pricing is defined by the market. Check if there are alternatives to a site you want to place an ad on. If so, check their pricing. What is the difference to Search-Engine-Marketing like AdWords?

Most important things (sorted by relevance):

  • Medium (On which website is your banner placed?)
    1. What is the quality of the site? How often do they refresh their content? Is it correct or does it contain errors?
    2. What is the perceived image?
    3. What is the relation between the site or the perceived image and your company?
  • Place of the banner and probability to be seen
    1. Will your banner be placed on top or on the bottom of the page?
    2. Will it compete against other banners?
    3. Are there grafics or design elements on the site, that rival with the banner (big fotos, animations, ...)?
    4. What is the relation between content and advertisement? Is the advertisement above the logo (superior) or below? Can someone think, that the website comes from your company because of the prominence of the ad?
    5. On which pages is your banner displayed? (All pages is best in general.)
  • Size of the banner (468x60 [fullsize] is not too big any more.) See possibilities here:,
  • Technology, that you can use (HTML, Flash, Animation, ...)
  • Allowed filesize (bigger is not always better, but a severe limit has to be taken into account)
  • flexibility of site-owner
    1. Will he change banners whenever needed?
    2. Will he participate in helping you succeed? Even financially?

Some words on creating banners:

  • Make yourself clear. Use an easy message.
  • Create image. Place the Logo in the right position.
  • The banner should be loaded fast.

In B2B-advertising the biggest problem is the selection of media:

I recommend a internal and external survey with employees (sales, support, service, ...) and customers about which sites and magazines are read.

Banner advertising is relatively cheap today, because a lot of advertisers are only just starting to move their media ad spent to online-advertisements. That's why you could think of longer ranges and exclusive agreements with very important sites to keep your conditions low. Feel free to consult me whenever needed.