Self-Service Advertising

A Guide for Marketers

When leveraged correctly, online ads offer your brand many opportunities to connect with your audience, and it's not limited to business sizes—everyone can benefit! They give businesses more control over what information they provide, helping customers get relevant insights you can easily update. More than 50% of customers prefer personalized experiences, and the added control offered through self-serve advertising empowers businesses to cater ads to every stage of the customers' experience. 

That is where knowing how to use self-service advertising comes in handy.  

The greatest benefit of self-service advertising is having complete control of your ads from beginning to end, which means making only the most informed decisions regarding who sees your ad, when they see it, and what they see.  

If you're already familiar with self-service advertising, click here to get started and place an ad with McClatchy Ad Manager today.

Otherwise, keep reading to learn more and walk away with some of our best tips for using self-service advertising!

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What is Self-Service Advertising?

The big question on everyone's mind is what is self-service advertising, and how can it help me? For decades companies have struggled with having control over their advertising. Self-serve ads give you that control and offer your brand more unique opportunities to reach and resonate with your target audience.  

Self-service advertising allows you to not only purchase ad inventory whenever it’s convenient for you but also lets you: 

  • Define the criteria for your ad campaign  
  • Streamline ad distribution 
  • Track performance and make real-time adjustments 
  • Manage first-party data 
  • Target your unique audience  




Understanding Self-Serve Ads 



How does self-serve advertising work? First, self-serve ads are nothing new. You may already be familiar with similar concepts in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn Ads. Self-serve ad platforms allow you to place ads yourself by choosing where to place them and letting you see analytics, such as how users interacted with your ads. 

They allow businesses to reach audiences on multiple platforms of their own choice. You choose when, where, and how you want to display your ads. The benefit is it is suitable for smaller businesses and marketers who prefer autonomy and allows decision-makers to choose directly.  

The drawbacks are that it is not ideal for businesses with larger budgets looking for an all-channel approach. Also, because the system is constantly developing, some features might not be immediately available to all industries and businesses.  

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How Self-Serve Ads Provide Greater Autonomy 

Gaining greater autonomy over your ads is crucial in an environment where one wrong move can damage your brand.  

With greater autonomy over the ads you create and deliver, you benefit from: 

  1. Greater Control Over Your Options 
  2. Managing Your Ads for Your Budget 
  3. Streamlined ad distribution, tracking, and invoicing 

Greater control over your options and how you manage your ads and budget are crucial to businesses, regardless of their size. Every brand's budget is different. Self-serve ads allow SMBs to fluctuate how much they spend on their ads to meet their needs. Are you experiencing growth? Increase your advertising spend! Are you trudging along during your slow season? Tighten your spending with just a few clicks! 

For large businesses, self-serve advertising means more transparency! The problem for most marketing leaders (76%, according to one study) is that they would spend 50% or more of their budgets on investments if there were more performance transparency. Self-serve advertising delivers. 

Self-serve platforms also provide a single platform to manage, track, and pay for advertising. That streamlines your process by letting you do everything at once. You won’t have to go through multiple hoops to conduct your advertising with this straightforward system. 


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Further Benefits of

Using Self-Service Advertising for Marketing Strategies 

Wondering what other ways businesses can benefit from self-serve advertising? Here are some of the most critical impacts of self-serve ads on your brand and business. 

Saves Time and Increases Efficiency in Placing Ads  

Since you can place ads easily and at your convenience, you can save time and boost efficiency by going into their platform and placing your ads yourself. Negotiations and other time-consuming processes force advertisers to spend more time 'working things out' than driving results. This latest advancement takes it all out. 

Control Your Budget  

You are the best expert on your budget since you see it and work with it daily. Self-service advertising allows you to make real-time changes, from how much you spend on your ads to who you are targeting and how. You risk spending too much or not enough when a publisher has complete control.  

On the other hand, when you have control, there isn't much of a risk at all—you know what you can afford to drive the best results possible.  

The Platform is Always Available  

Websites don't sleep, which means you can access the self-serve platform at your convenience. Forget the outdated steps of waiting until traditional work hours to reach out and adjust your strategy. You can make changes in bed if you need to. 

Displays Analytics About Your Business  

Business owners can review their analytics and make changes accordingly. Did you notice that one ad is performing better than the other? You can look at what’s working to improve the ads with lower performance to build off your success. Real-time data means you don't have to wait until the next campaign to improve your efforts. 

Provides Multiple Options for Ads and Platforms 

Since you can place a variety of ads on multiple platforms, you're given a multitude of options to reach whom you need to reach. Your audience isn't only on one channel — they're often on a mix of 20 or more at a time — so you shouldn't be limited to only one. 

System is Growing and Improving  

A major, long-term benefit of self-serve advertising is that you're only seeing the tip of the iceberg in what's yet to come. It's still in the early stages of advancement, which means there's so much more to discover. Self-serve will only get better—learning it now only increases your benefits down the road. 


Key Features of Ad Manager:

  • Self-Service Platform
  • Real-Time Campaign Reporting
  • Instant Access to Ad Placements
  • Creative Builder
  • Brand Safe Content Alignment
Supports Sustainable Local Journalism

Tips for Making the Most of Self-Serve Ads 

Getting started with self-serve advertising can be intimidating at first. However, these expert tips will help you ensure you get the most out of your efforts: 

1. Understand Who You Want to Reach: Know your target customers so you can deliver messages that resonate and relate to their specific needs on platforms they're most active on.  

2. Know Where They Consume Information: Some audiences consume print media or digital editions, while others receive newsletter blasts through their email. Know where yours is used most often (and what audiences prefer).  

3. Know Their Media Habits: Place ads where your audience consumes media, whether on social platforms or relevant websites.  

4. Check Regularly to Monitor Performance: Make sure your ads reach your customers, get their attention, and perform optimally. Regular tracking and monitoring aren't just for informing decision-making during your next campaign—they can also inform your next move in this campaign. 

5. Experiment for the Best Results: Experiment with messaging, placement, and time to find the best mix for reaching your customers. Scrap and learn from your failures while building off your successes. 


Keep in mind that self-service advertising is a constant, ongoing strategy. High ROIs don't happen overnight. They tend to increase over the course of a prolonged campaign. However, with the right strategy, guidance, and best practices, you'll find that the marketing method is more than worth learning. 

McClatchy's new self-serve platform is the latest installment of our integrated marketing experience. Check out McClatchy’s Ad Manager to learn the simple six-step process today to boost your business’s ROI!   

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