A make-good campaign is what happens when you fail to deliver all the required impressions on time for a directly sold ad campaign on your website.
It works like this: Movie Studio X has a big Hollywood blockbuster coming out in July. They’ve contracted with Advertiser A to deliver 100,000,000 impressions across a variety of websites. Advertiser A brings you a deal to deliver 1,000,000 of these impressions between June 1st and June 30th.
You run the campaign as planned, but for some reason, you fall 200,000 impressions short by the time June 30th rolls around. What happened? Maybe traffic lagged in the summer. Maybe you over-booked. Maybe you messed up trafficking the campaign. Maybe there was a huge discrepancy between your tracking numbers and the advertiser’s tracking numbers. A lot can go wrong!
It’s possible the agency just pays for the 800,000 they received and call it a day. Alternatively, they may request a make-good campaign of 200,000 impressions for the first week of July. This simply means that you will run the campaign for a extra week, for free, because you didn’t hit the original goal on time.
A make-good campaign is also a viable strategy for dealing with high viewability requirements. Suppose that an advertiser requires 100% viewable impressions. Your site average is 80% viewable. You can’t magically make ads 100% viewable overnight, but you can run the campaign normally, and then offer a 20% make-good campaign to meet the requested number of viewable impressions. As a publisher in this situation, you would want to mark up the cost of viewable impressions to cover your losses on the non-viewable ones. If you pursue this route, it’s very important to know your viewability in advance. You should also check early on to make sure the advertiser’s viewability numbers are tracking similar to your own.