Media-Buying for Online Advocacy: Networks vs. Publications

Media Media Buying for Online Advocacy

The Joys of Online Advocacy!

Online advocacy, digital advocacy whatever you call it we love it. These days, it seems like the options for any given online advocacy campaign are boundless. Do you cookie target? Geo-fence? Maybe hang out in the world of IP zone targeting? There’s always something new and different, and it can be overwhelming. One of the fairly simple choices you can make when you’re thinking about an online advocacy campaign is whether you want to buy through a specific publication, a network, or some combination of both.


If you have a specific publication (or publications) in mind, you can purchase inventory on their site directly. Larger publications may offer additional layers of targeting, including demographic and geographic. This option is fairly traditional (if that word can be applied to the Internet)—you’re buying space on a particular site, assuming that a particular sort of person will visit, see your message and (hopefully) click on your ad. Simply put, you’re placing ads and waiting for people to come to you. Depending on how broadly you’re targeting, and what your goals are, and of course, your budget, this can be a good option.


Purchasing space on networks is a little different, as you’re not buying on a particular website, but a conglomeration of sites that are chosen by the network based on their available inventory and your targets. This type of buy is a lot more about finding your potential supporters on the Internet, wherever they may be. Generally, I find that this method of buying ad space has a larger return.  What’s more, you’re likely to have a wider range of additional targeting options that you can layer into your online advocacy program to bump up your efficiency.

Combo Platter

Though I think that we’re moving toward a more network-oriented media-buying model, I do think there’s something to be said for knowing where you are and getting local with your ad buys. If your budget allows for you to combine a network buy with a specific publication (or handful of publications), it may be something worth exploring.

I realize this may seem like I’m just saying, “Try it all!” On the contrary, I simply mean that when you’re planning your online advocacy program, you should think very carefully about who your potential supporters are and where they may be hanging out on the glorious World Wide Web. What’s more, you should examine your goals and your budget and make sure that the option you choose makes sense without spreading your resources too thin.

Digital Advocacy

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