How to Sell Against a Competitor’s Inaccurate Online Data

Here’s some tips on selling against a competitor’s pumped-up numbers.

USA Today’s recent article How Much is Internet Traffic Worth? made us ponder about the measurement and accuracy of traffic data in online ad sales. The author paints a pretty bleak picture. Do we now live in a world where it’s hopeless for ad sales reps to fight against their competitor’s fraudulent fluff?

We don’t believe that. So we asked Digital Advertising Sales expert Ryan Dohrn for his take on the situation and some ways for ad sales teams to deal with a competitor with pumped-up data.

Ryan: All too often I get a call from a client telling me that their closest competitor just stole another ad deal using false or misleading data. This seems to happen specifically with digital audience traffic.  

So how you do to sell against that??  The answer might be easier than you think.

Here are six things to consider when presenting accurate online data about your ad products:   

1.  Include 3rd party data: One of the things I love about the audit bureau BPA is they offer a digital audit as well as a print audit.  These audits are affordable and offer a third party to gauge the integrity of online data and establish credibility. Be sure to use as many third party sources as you can.  For example, you can use and Google ranking for key phrases, audits.  

2.  Create comparison sheets or comp sheets. Use a grid system to show how your products stack up against your competitor’s.  Create a quick read that is easily understandable. Use it as a key visual in your presentation.

3.  Do not bash the competitor. Instead, focus on your differentiating factors and focus on you.  Be strong and bold about what makes you different. Be sure you have studied your competition carefully and you know what you are talking about.

4.  Demonstrate the differences. Try saying this to inquiring ad sales clients, “Comparing our magazine to theirs is an apples-to-salmon comparison.  We are not even in the same food group.”  Then, show your comp sheet.  

5.  Recognize that price becomes the main factor in the buying decision. You still have to give your customers a very good reason to buy advertising from you when two competing products seem similar.  Look at #3 on this list and really make sure that the differences between you and the competition are clear.   

6.  Address the issue head on. Have your publisher call their publisher and in a very professional manner, explain the situation.  I know this sounds bold, but sometimes the competing publisher is unaware that their sales team is being overzealous with the facts. (Be sure to have hard facts—like emailsas evidence before you take this step.) It may not change anything, but it’s worth a try. 

You will probably see this issue on a regular basis in the advertising world.  It’s really nothing new. And although the depth and breadth of online tracking data is constantly evolving, you can still fight back with truth, integrity, accuracy and a keen understanding of your market.

Ryan_New_HeadshotMore about this guest blogger: Ryan Dohrn is an executive ad sales coach and has taught over 3,000 ad sales executives his 360 Ad Sales training system.  You can learn more online at



Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Inc & Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ
– Google+: +NicheMediaHQ

Image from



One Thought to “How to Sell Against a Competitor’s Inaccurate Online Data”

  1. Thanks for the mention Ryan. BPA currently audits over 400 sites and if the magazine circulation is also audited by us, there is no charge for the traffic audit.

Comments are closed.