Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Need Help? Find the Cost of Internet Advertising for Your Marketing Project

By Linda Hauck, Business Librarian

Question: My team’s marketing plan assignment includes Internet advertising, and I’m tasked with estimating media buying costs for the campaign. Do you have any library resources that will help me?

Getting Started

First, specify the type of web advertising your team is going to deploy: search, display, social media, email or media rich.

Books in the Library: Internet advertising is a rapidly evolving medium, so Falvey buys current professional books on this topic. Search the library catalog for “internet advertising” or “internet marketing” to find more books like these on my list of favorites.

Print media, such as consumer and trade magazines or newspapers, have “media kits” that usually provide data on circulation, demographic reach, technical requirements and advertising rates called “rate cards.” SRDS Media Solutions is a directory providing quick access to media kits as well as the “rate card.” SRDS provides quick access to the media kits and additional analytics but without the rate cards for web sites.

Trade and professional associations are always good sources for getting a handle on how industries operate. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is a trade association of sellers of online advertising; as such, it is a rich and relatively open site for learning about how interactive advertising is sold and measured.

Wikipedia articles on Online Advertising, Ad Exchanges and Advertising Network are recommended for their clarity, currency and ease of use. Don’t forget to take advantage of the “talk” tabs in Wikipedia to get in on the back-story.


Estimating Media Buying Costs

e-Marketer, a heavily used library resource, is by far the most efficient and reliable source for estimating online advertising costs. It aggregates articles, reports and data compiled by research firms, consultancies, government agencies and universities around the world. Search it for terms used to measure digital advertising, such as “cost per thousand” (abbreviated as CPM), “cost per click” (CPC), “click through rate” or “cost per view/visitor.” Once you have a group of articles, reports and charts, search within your results by relevant geography, platform or industry.

Similar searches in the trade news on platforms such as ABI/Inform or Business Source Premier can also yield good results but usually require a greater time investment to scan the results for useful data.

A professional tool not included in our library collection for estimating Internet display advertising is offered by SQAD Webcosts.



An alternative approach to estimating online advertising spending is to look at the historical advertising spending done by your target brand and competing brands. Ad $ Summary provides advertising spending totals for both traditional channels and Internet display advertising by brand or product category for the years 2008 to 2010.


Work the Phones

Talking to the right people is key for almost any kind of business research. Use the Advertising Red Book to find agencies that specialize in media buying or the type of Internet advertising you want to use. Practice your cold call and best personal elevator pitch to connect to experts at an agency willing to share information about how they estimate digital advertising buying costs.

(Link to the Subject Guide for Marketing and Business Law)



No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


Last Modified: April 18, 2012

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top