Let say you are a new, strictly online publication, readership is at 5,000 unique per issue and going up with a bullet.
How do you initiate with advertisers, direct contact or through a 3rd party? Also how do you get a pulse on market price?
First, the number of uniques isn’t really the key to advertising as much as the number of pageviews. Second, whether you have enough traffic to be valuable also depends heavily on your market. Dan Ambrose has a client in the oil and gas industry that can charge more then $100 per thousand page views for ads…but other in hobbiest sectors that have a tough time getting $10 per thousand.
What ever you do, going through a 3rd party like a network will probably drive your advertising revenue down by 90% as they generally sell on (low) price and you only get a part of what they take in.
Generally 5000 uniques a month might represent 25000 page views. At that level you’ll have a tough time generating significant revenue UNLESS your audience is VERY SPECIFIC and VALUABLE. For example, advertisers will pay a lot to reach doctors because they control and direct SO MUCH spending on healthcare.