We’ve just completed another featured publisher interview at RMX Direct. Read on for more about Star Media Group and how they use RMX Direct to improve their ad monetization on their online radio sites.
Star Media Group Inc. is a conglomerate of online radio stations that span a number of genres. These stations include www.star104.net, www.club977.com, www.977music.com, www.kmgx.com, www.oldiesradionet.com, www.radiostorm.com, www.club977hitz.com, and www.rdl101.com. Jamie Davis is the President of Star Media Group Inc., and he is our new Featured Publisher.
Vince Panero (VP): How did you get interested in web publishing originally? What were those early days like for you?
Jamie Davis: We started in internet radio years back and were looking for a way to monetize our listener traffic. Audio ads were still new and not very popular as of yet, so we looked to image and banner advertising on a CPM basis. The first months were rough and low in earnings, but after a few months, everything just sort of took off, and we found ourselves growing our revenue every month. It’s been great ever since.
VP: Can you tell us about your online radio-focused website? Having this focus, are there any particular issues exclusive to your site that you had to overcome to make the advertising model work?
Jamie Davis: Our website (websites actually, we operate 3 sub-portals of stations under our parent corporation) consists of several online-only radio station webcasts, each predominantly windows media based. It is imperative that our sites run banner advertising that is parallel to the type of audience we draw in. It’s been tough at times to accomplish that goal, as some of our advertisers have simply thrown any old ad up there without specifically targeting our demographics. RMX Direct has helped with that by providing targeted ads along with the use of their Media Guard system to prevent unwanted ads from being shown. We’ve also had some problems in the past with getting the most money for our inventory. RMX Direct also solves this problem with the bid-based system they utilize.
VP: Did you get into this with the idea that you would make ad dollars from this site? How did you initially monetize your site? What problems did you encounter utilizing these early methods?
Jamie Davis: Originally, webcasting was simply something I enjoyed as a hobby, and eventually, it became more of a full-time job and I was happy to be able to do what I liked to do. Initially, we didn’t really monetize our site; most of our DJs were just in it for the thrill of internet radio and having an audience listening to their picks. After a while, bandwidth became an issue, and we turned to some sort of advertising revenue. We started out with audio ads, but during our first days, times were tough because audio advertising was still very new to the market, and internet radio was pretty new itself. After a while, we decided banner-based ads were the way to go.
VP: Why did you start using RMX Direct as your ad network management system of choice?
Jamie Davis: RMX Direct allows us to rotate our outside publishing accounts in their system and eliminates the need for us to have to install and utilize our own system, such as phpAds or AdJuggler. These systems, with our amount of web traffic, can heavily tax our web server and cause downtime after a few hours of heavy traffic. We can rotate our current accounts in RMX Direct, while at the same time allowing the RMX networks to compete and outbid for our inventory. It really helps us monetize our traffic on a new level, both by keeping our overhead down, and increasing our overall revenue.
VP: What statistical changes have you seen since you started using it? For example, have your eCPM and revenue increased?
Jamie Davis: Our eCPMs as a whole, across our entire inventory measurement, have increased by at least 20%. Our revenue has also increased along the same lines thanks to this. We’ve noticed that much more of our traffic has been monetized, and less defaults and PSAs have been shown across all our advertising accounts.
VP: What do you like most about RMX Direct? Are there helpful parts of it that other ad management interfaces simply don’t offer? And how does it address the specific needs of being an online radio-focused website?
Jamie Davis: I really enjoy RMX’s overall administrative platform. When I log in to the system, I can not only view revenue for the day, but I can also easily rotate all of my ad engines into the mix and set up a rotation I prefer, based on geo-targeting, eCPM, frequency, etc. It really eliminates a lot of the hassle of having to install and administer my own rotation system. No other ad management interface I’ve seen does this as effectively. It really allows us, as an online radio web portal, to manage our ad placements effectively and easily. Our revenue enjoys the benefits of this.
VP: Do you have any tips or tricks that you think others using the exchange might find useful?
Jamie Davis: There are really no tricks to this, but I do have one tip. Keep your eCPMs for your outside networks updated at least weekly. I update ours on a weekly basis, and it really helps our revenue grow. Don’t just set a general CPM and sit and wait, or everything suffers. Keep everything updated on a consistent basis.
VP: Do you have any final thoughts on this “exchange concept” (network transparency and competition, the utility of having just one login, etc.)?
Jamie Davis: This new ad exchange platform has revolutionized everything in the online advertising world as far as I’m concerned. If we could get all of our networks to join into this system, I don’t think I’d have quite as many problems as I have when it comes to running the technical aspects and financial aspects of our company.
VP: Thanks for being a member of RMX Direct, Jamie.