We’re tired of hearing about empty promises made to publishers about revenue.We’re not going to name names. You probably already know whom we’re talking about. You’ve received the pitches offering X to achieve Y growth.
Cards on the table. This is not one of those emails. We’re not one of those companies.
We don’t want to waste your time. We know firsthand that many variables lead to success. Every solution reacts differently under varying circumstances for every publisher. We can’t make any promises about growth. Nor do we want to.
We do it all and we do it well. We will do everything to put you in the best situation to succeed. If we have something that you’re seeking, fill out the form below and let’s have a discussion together in the near future.
Your website is the center of your online publishing business. As a digital publisher, your site functions as the most powerful platform for delivering your content to visitors, which by association, enables you to earn revenue from every impression on your website.
Despite efforts made to cover all of the bases, we often see publishers experience a sudden dip or even an unexpected deductions or stoppage in revenue. Many companies also come to us after they have been blocked by a demand partner. When a revenue stoppage occurs many presume that they were acting in complete compliance, as they were not aware of the intricacies of the policies.
When we see these dips occur, we immediately discuss all of the potential reasons why the revenue is slowing and then chart out a plan together for reversing the trend before it is too late.
Unfortunately, not every publisher has a partner like us at hand to advise them about what to do when things may have already gone awry. In our experience, solutions for optimizing a website and its ad units are not universal. What might work for one site may not work as effectively for yours.
To address this, we decided to do a deep dive into 4 highly effective ways you can optimize your website for earning maximum yield and overall ad compliance for your website’s visitors. We hope that this post can assist you to avoid any future surprises which may arise.
To simplify the structure, we divided the content into four sections, each of which covers a vital aspect of what we believe will enable you to gain the knowledge for earning consistent and uninterrupted revenue going forward.
Click on any of the links to skip forward to a particular section.
After reading this article, we believe that you will gain valuable recommendations for your monetization strategy and the ability to begin implementing a website revenue optimization plan for maintaining and insulating your monthly revenue going forward.
Ad Inventory Revenue Optimization
Understand that it’s not you, it’s just the wrong time of the year
The summer months are an optimal time to assess what is working and what isn’t. Since the second half of Q3 is upon us and the traditionally strong Q4 is just around the corner, we recommend that you get ready for what is coming.
A significant benefit of Q4 is that advertisers tend to increase their spend around major commercial events such as:
Interestingly, brands traditionally spend less in the first month of the quarter and more in the last month of a quarter. The aforementioned Q4 holidays all fall at the end of their respective months (November, December).
According to a blog post on Sortable, “Overall, CPMs increase steadily through Q3, with a significant jump in Q4…Even with low campaign spend in July and August, Q3 out-performs Q2 as CPMs jump in September. As each quarter ends, it’s reasonable to see a drop in CPMs in the weeks leading up to and starting a new quarter. These dips are the result of advertisers’ depleted budgets, which directly impacts CPMs and fill rates.”
Google Ads recently launched a new feature for search and display campaigns called Smart Bidding which enables advertisers boosted control over seasonality adjustments.
The feature using machine learning to automatically set bids at auction to improve Google Ads campaign performance. You can read more about the feature here and learn how to implement the adjustments here.
More ads and bigger ad sizes = More revenue?
The Case for Not Doing the Obvious
You may think that having prominently sized ad units on your website look beautiful alongside your content. In reality, that huge billboard might not be the best size for achieving optimal monetization on your site despite the high CPMs it may be earning each month.
Generally speaking, AdSense recommends to publishers to limit themselves to only placing three ad units per single web page. We often see publishers adding more than the recommended limit in the hopes of generating more revenue per impression.
Populating a web page with too many ads will have a negative consequence on the user experience and will potentially affect the following metrics on the webpage:
To put things into context about how even successful ads could be changing your bottom line, here’s a cautionary tale to consider.
A webpage containing a group of successful ads, each earning high CPMs which results in a high RPM or eCPM. But, this same webpage may be earning less revenue than other pages due to the fact that in comparing it to other pages which possess lower CPMs, those latter pages may end up bringing longer user sessions overall and more overall pageviews by the user, which as a result yields more revenue aggregated per session in general in comparison.
Drilling down, having too many ads on a specific webpage can cause the following negative metrics to rise across your website:
Slow load time on a webpage
Decreased viewability percentages
Lowered number per avg. pageviews per session
Increased bounce rate
Shortened avg. session duration
In particular, page bounces are a very problematic consequence of too many ads because a bounce rate increase ends up producing:
Decreased click-through rates
Stagnated campaign performance
The combination of all of these factors could create a scenario where advertisers are bidding less on your ad placements in programmatic exchanges, which means less revenue in general.
Choosing the Most Effective Ad Sizes
What are the most effective ad formats and the most profitable ad sizes for your website?
In our opinion, there is no correct answer for everyone.
First, you need to determine the most appropriate ad slot locations on your pages, as well as defining which areas you want to sell at a premium rate and which ad slots can be considered secondary units available for lower market prices.
When selling your ad units programmatically, you must keep in mind the platform policies of monetizing your content through the various platforms.
Each platform allows a specific ratio of ad units placed on your pages vs the amount of content neighboring around it. Google, for example, requires over 50% content to be featured on any monetized page. (Note: One must take note of ad placement policies of each platform, which will determine the success of your monetization strategy.)
Your goal should be to not only have effective ads that look fantastic on your website but also to consider the need to find the overlap between which of these ads can be optimally placed within your page layout that net the highest CPMs – providing the optimal marriage between the two for yielding the highest return.
A/B Testing Ad Units
We recommend publishers to experiment with a variety of ad unit sizes, as well as checking various demand sources (SSPs), to concretely understand which ad size in which location will yield the highest return.
Through A/B testing, a publisher can uncover valuable conclusions about the behavior of their ad units through data sourced in the experiment, rather than relying solely on intuition to make better business decisions about the ad units for revenue optimization.
In our experience, A/B testing ad units is a highly effective way to judge the value of an ad unit, and as a result, this advanced knowledge can drastically increase ad revenue.
The beginning point in any A/B test is to define the goal or hypothesis that you wish to prove. After that you should measure the page and session RPMs, instead of the ad RPM of the ad unit, to gain the ability to quantify how much ad revenue you are missing out on by running one ad over another for a particular placement on a webpage.
728×90 – Leaderboard – Offers a publisher many options for arranging its placement.
300×250 – Medium Rectangle – This size dimension is the most common display ad unit due to its shape (medium rectangle), and its placement due to its rectangular shape. This ad size is ideal for a sidebar or placed within the content.
160×600 – Wide Skyscraper – This ad unit tends to have more ad inventory available from advertisers, which can increase earnings when both text and image ads are enabled. Best if used along with sidebars of webpages since it features unmatched viewability to users.
300×600 – Half-Page – Offers prominent ad placement for advertisers seeking to make a big impression. This ad unit provides high CPMs and creates a clean layout on the page that encourages minimalism on the page and offers a clear exposure opportunity.
Most profitable ad unit when it is placed at least 50% higher than the fold break
eMarketer said that programmatic video ad spends are expected to reach $30 billion in 2019, a staggering amount, which accounts for nearly 50% of all US programmatic digital display ad spending.
Video content is a highly effective method for both engaging website visitors as well as providing the ever-growing pool of advertisers a means for running video programmatic advertising campaigns.
We find that video monetization is increasingly proving to be the best way to increase their current revenue stream by opening a website up to receiving significantly higher CPMs as compared to standard display advertising.
Video’s higher CPMs are the result of advertiser willingness to pay premium prices for reaching and targeting interested, specific, and engaged audiences.
Key Benefits Monetizing Video with Total Media
Engaging content and a quality video library that keeps users on site.
Content optimization – Presenting the most popular content in the most visible manner creates the environment for more engaged visitors for consuming the video content. As a result, more ads can be placed within the content of the page.
Built-in monetization support with higher CPM’s – In-Stream unit with high-quality pre-roll and mid-roll inventory.
Pre-roll & several mid-rolls per video.
Content optimization affects eCPM and increases it.
Targets demand, according to geos, player sizes, domains/apps targeting, and browsers.
Direct campaigns with video advertisers – buying more traffic according to campaign KPI’s and benchmarks.
Video creates multiple high-quality monetization opportunities in a single placement.
Video header bidding built-in for unified revenue optimization.
We also provide instream demand, when the publisher already has a video player and seeks to expand their monetization yield via our video marketplace. Outstream units are also part of our monetization formats.
An example of OutStream Video Monetization (InRead / In-Article).
Looking to 2020, we confidently expect continued growth for video monetization and the format to become an essential opportunity for publishers to benefit from in their monetization stack.
For more information about video monetization, click here.
Programmatic Revenue Optimization
What Are You Doing to Make More Revenue?
The programmatic industry has fundamentally changed the way publishers and advertisers interact with each other and how they buy and sell premium media online.
In the not-so-distant past, publishers and advertisers used to communicate directly and negotiated placements and CPM for premium ad placements amongst themselves.
Even more recently, if an advertiser wanted to buy premium media through programmatic direct, the only traffic that was available to purchase from the SSP was the leftover remnant traffic.
Today, programmatic is changing the transaction for the better, not only because of the emergence of the efficiency of the deal but also because more premium ad inventory is available to be purchased programmatically.
Here’s what you can do.
Exchange Bidding Dynamic Allocation (EBDA)
EBDA is a feature within Google Ad Manager (GAM) where exchanges and SSPs can bid on a publishers’ inventory, in addition to what is available from the Google Ad Manager’s Ad Exchange (formerly DoubleClick AdX), all within a unified auction inside the platform.
EBDA gives control to publishers to approve and onboard partners within GAM to access their inventory programmatically. The result is a unified auction on a much more level playing field, with the publisher sitting in the driving seat.
The single timely monthly payment for all of your revenue earned.
Exchange Bidding is tested and proven to increase yield by up to 35%.
By using EBDA, the entire flow for the publisher takes place within Google’s infrastructure, with Google handling the auction, reporting, billing, and payments.
This integrated approach creates a substantial financial and operational benefit to publishers since they need not wait for payments from each of their demand partners every month.
In the not so distant past, publishers would have to wait or chase monthly earnings from advertisers. Today, Google delivers revenue payments straight to publishers every month.
Preferred Deals allow individual publishers to negotiate fixed-price, first-look deals with advertisers. The CPM is generally higher than regular programmatic and on par with direct sales because advertisers are seeking impressions based on the specific data available or gathered by the advertiser previously.
Preferred deals are direct agreements between publishers and advertisers where generally advertisers approach the publishers about specific ad sizes, placements, and audiences, and the two parties negotiate an accurate fixed price for the impressions amongst themselves.
Whereas once advertisers would send publishers an ad tag which would link to the allocated ad placement, now the entire execution runs programmatically through DSPs and SSPs (e.g., Google Ad Manager & Display & Video 360), where a deal ID get things moving along to create a preferred deal.
With preferred deals, the CPM is generally higher than through a regular programmatic transaction, and on par with direct sales due to the fact, advertisers are seeking impressions based on the specific data available or data gathered by the advertiser through previous campaigns they managed.
Private auctions are programmatic deals that allow publishers to create a higher-priority auction available only to white-listed buyers of their choice for specific inventory the publisher desires to make available.
One such SSP allowing private auctions is Google Ad Manager, which delivers the best results for publishers.
Any advertiser interested in participating in a private auction is recommended to use a premium DSP such as Display & Video 360.
Within the private auction, publishers establish a specific floor price with the chosen advertisers and let this small group of buyers compete in an exclusive, private programmatic marketplace auction.
The floor price, in general, is higher than that of the open marketplace, so the buyers can pick and choose the premium impressions that they would like to bid on based on specific known parameters beforehand.
Direct Sales / Exclusive Deals
Build relationships with advertisers to secure quarterly or yearly agreements to fill ad placements on a set CPM rate for filled ad placements.
Your website should always be seeking new ways to increase yield from website inventory. Programmatic teams should utilize proven revenue optimization strategies for squeezing additional improvement from every ad unit consistently.
You should see improvement in your monthly revenue by experimenting with various pricing revenue optimization strategies. Your website should always be aiming to increase its revenue. Here is what you can do.
First Price Strategies and Rules
Unified pricing rules enable publishers to control the pricing of their inventory across all indirect demand sources from a single location (Inventory > Pricing Rules) within Google Ad Manager.
Inside Google Ad Manager, publishers can set pricing rules for all indirect demand sources to compete in a single-stage auction with consistent rules and pricing across all channels.
Open Auction via Authorized Buyers (formerly known as Ad Exchange).
Private Auctions (both optimized and non-optimized).
First Look demand.
Third-Party exchanges that participate in Exchange Bidding.
Non-guaranteed line item types Price Priority, Network, and Bulk (currently in Beta).
Effective Floor Pricing Strategies to Consider
Lower floor rates from the beginning of the month (when demand is lower).
Increase the floor rate near the end of the month (when demand is higher).
Since Google has embraced header bidding in Google Ad Manager 360, a good strategy would be to set a lower floor price to allow more bidders and buyers to bid on the inventory – lowering the floor price will increase the fill rate.
Revenue sharing can work effectively with video while setting a floor price if the publisher wants the demand to bid from a specific floor price and higher.
Floor prices might change during the month and need the attention of the publisher. Changing the floor prices according to the demand bid, will lead to better monetization with higher performance.
Revenue Share Pricing Deals
Set revenue sharing pricing deals with a minimum CPM rate. Doing this will ensure the market will determine the price by auction.
Ideal for remnant inventory
Maintaining Compliance to Policy Standards for Publishers
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Publishers have many things to consider regarding the focus and relevance of the content on their websites.
What was the core intention of the published content?
How did my site enrich the user experience?
Is my content easy to locate on the website?
When it comes to maintaining compliance of Google’s monetization guidelines, remaining cognizant of Google’s best practices can deliver a professional, utility-driven website experience for users.
One such Google recommendation to note for publishers relates to the content. Google is specific in defining its rules for monetizing content and what it describes as sensical and nonsensical content.
“As stated in our programme policies, (one) may not show Google ads on pages or apps with little or no value and excessive advertising to the user…includes pages or apps with nonsensical content such as automatically-generated content without manual review or curation.”
What does this content policy explanation mean for publishers? When we analyze the value a website provides, it is essential to think about the user experience. By going through this exercise, it is possible to consider the many different ways a publisher can engage and interest a visitor.
The user experience should be at the core of everything your website aims to provide.
How does our website spark user interest?
How does our content provide value to the user?
By analyzing your website and its content, you are conducting an essential exercise to confirm that the actual written content on your site has a focused theme and overall consistency tightly aligned to the original intent/purpose of how/why the user is visiting the website in the first place.
If you can address these questions by analyzing your site’s layout, the amount of useful content and the general ease-of-use accessibility for the user, then you are laser-focused on the core reasons why you will keep your compliant safe from experiencing future policy violations.
Remaining policy safe/compliant is not just a quarterly check that you should undertake.
Instead, it must be in your company’s mission statement and expressed in all areas of your website regularly. This initiative requires careful stewardship on every level throughout your company to be maintained on a consistent schedule.
In our experience, publishers who heed close attention to their site’s content curation and overall content presentation demonstrate that the user experience is central, paramount and value-driven not just Google, but more importantly, built and purposed for the benefit of its audiences.
Something to consider about Ads.txt
Google AdSense announced in early 2019 that it would be making ads.txt mandatory for all of its users. According to the protocol, publishers are required to place the ads.txt in each domain.
As of now, the company has also started issuing warnings to the user in the form of notifications in AdSense Dashboard, which alerts them that their earnings might be at risk if they don’t fix the ads.txt file issues.
Acquiring a depth of understanding about AdSense is a valuable skill to possess in this business. We always recommend (and recommend to all of our publisher partners) the fundamentals of the terms of AdSense policy.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to us here.
Google’s Ad Recommendations for Chrome
Google is making a concerted push to motivate publishers to revamp the advertising experience on their site in a way that benefits the end-users. Website owners are recommended to cease using the following types of ad units:
Pre-stitial with a countdown (No full-page ads/ Transition/ Maavaron) on a user’s first entrance to the site
Large sticky ads
Auto-play video ads with sound (Outstream)
Auto-play video ads with sound
Post-stitial with a countdown (No full-page ads/ Transition/ Maavaron) when a user decided to leave the site.
Ad density is higher than 30%
Flashing animated ads
Large sticky ads
Full-screen scroll over ads
We recommend to all of our publishers to review their site status in Google’s Ad Experience Report, a tool that allows publishers to check and evaluate if Chrome has identified any ad violations occurring on the site.
Next Steps – Putting Everything into a Revenue Optimization Plan
We hope that this comprehensive overview about how you can optimize your revenue will allow you to consider all of the different ways you can earn more revenue per impression and run a smooth, efficient operation that remains policy-compliant going forward.
While at first, it may feel like taking a deep dive into the unknown with so many complicated and time-consuming revenue optimization strategies to consider, you should press forward with a critical evaluation to potentially implement each one by one and aim to do whatever you can to improve your monthly revenue.
Your website should strive to be an efficient money-making machine and always be growing and evolving to changes in the industry that occur.
Regardless of the size of your website or your current CPM rate, we can assist you in implementing all of the optimizations as mentioned earlier solutions onto your site and then offering unmatched optimization management services.
Areas which we can actively assist your website to make more revenue:
Google offers advertisers several tools to launch digital campaigns. And if the AdWords platform is well known to every advertiser, then Doubleclick Bid Manager (DBM) is a premium solution for advertising agencies and companies that have significant budgets. For such a “premium” has its own legitimate reasons. What is the difference between DBM and AdWords, and when is it best to use each of these tools? Now we will tell in detail.
Alpha and Omega of a successful advertising campaign is access to a relevant target audience when the budget is spent on attracting your potential buyers. This targeting makes DBM a unique tool for advertisers. Using AdWords, you can form an audience by demography, interests, geography, topics. And all this is only on the Google database. In the case of DBM, third-party traffic providers come into play – more than 90 advertising exchanges and 900 million sites. DBM provides 90% coverage of typical cookie-based audiences on all exchanges, in all formats and in all regions. With such a scale, new criteria are added to the traditional targeting criteria – page context, user behavior scenarios, and much more. All this makes the target as flexible and accurate as possible, and therefore the chance of getting relevant leads increases significantly.
Bonus Programming Purchases
All purchases of advertising in DBM occur automatically. DBM advertisers can choose from a number of programmatic purchase options, including guaranteed programs, direct deals and open exchange. For example, you can directly automatically buy a place to place in such premium media as Avito, TASS, Picabu, TripAdvisor Russia. By the way in AdWords, there is no direct access to the sites.
Hard selection of publishers
Not every publisher can offer their inventory in Doubleclick. All sites are subject to rigorous selection, which ensures high quality advertising sites.
DBM offers the opportunity to analyze campaign programmatic using 35 metrics and over 50 indicators. For example, one of the most useful of them is Active View. This is a Google technology that allows you to determine whether a user has seen an ad and how long it has been displayed.
So is Doubleclick Bid Manager or AdWords anyway?
Most likely both that, and that. AdWords might be enough for search advertising and small display campaigns. But if you want to increase control over display advertising, to be able to develop a large-scale advertising strategy aimed at targeting potential customers, then DBM will be an excellent tool in your arsenal.
Total Media Group is the first official Google partner in Russia for the Doubleclick ecosystem. Today we are proud that dozens of leaders in their respective fields, including Aviasales, Ingate digital agency and many others, have chosen Total Media as their supplier Doubleclick Bid Manager.
With mobile game revenue at an all-time high in 2017, game developers are hurrying to find the perfect balance between user experience and ROI. It takes a lot of money, time, and effort to get the ball rolling and, obviously, the end goal is to make money – not only to cover costs but to make a profit as well. Yes, in-app purchases are a great way to stimulate a revenue stream but with only 5% of app users willing to spend money on in-app features, there is a roof. You want to find that sweet spot between game design and monetization so that your users will return and you can keep the lights on.
I love pop-up ads…. said no user ever.
You’ve developed a game you know users will love and you would hate to see your hard work go to waste because of intrusive ads. One misplaced ad during an epic battle moment or a prize reveal could cost you a user and, at the rate gaming apps are being downloaded for iOS and Android, this could mean even thousands more. Avoid annoying your users by becoming familiar with less-intrusive ad formats and designing your game accordingly, so that you won’t be that game.
Love the player and the game.
About as close to sweet spot as it gets, rewarded video is a win-win situation for both you and your users, and, not to mention, for advertisers (win-win-win?). Reach the 95% of non-paying users by offering them in-app currency for watching video ads. This way, your user gets “free” currency while you and your advertisers make real money. You can play around with the placement: pre-gameplay, mid-gameplay, or post-gameplay. Just make sure that your gamer isn’t in the middle of finally finding out what’s over the wall. Who said that UX and ROI need to come at the expense of one another?
You play the field while they play the game.
User experience doesn’t stop at ad placement and timing. Contextual targeting is critical for maximizing your ad earning. You can target different users by considering keywords, time, and specific messages – basically finding a way to connect with them through user experience. By working with multiple ad networks, you can ensure suitable ads for all your users and make things less “spammy”. Different ad networks will offer diverse eCPMs – the more suitable the ad request for your users, the higher the eCPM and the more money you can make.
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Here’s a thought – designing your game with the ads in mind. This is a great way to ensure natural integration of advertisements and smooth user experience. By leveraging art and animations into the game itself, you can tie ads into the storyline of the game – more of an inception, if you will. Ad earnings will increase with better visibility and user engagement.
If you got it, flaunt it.
If you haven’t designed it yet, make sure you consider a premium model of your game. A free version attracts more users and is more effective for long-term user acquisition than paid games. However, by leveraging in-app purchases for temporary upgrades, your loyal users may eventually want a premium version of the game and will be willing to pay to have certain permanent features. If not, they will still stick around for the free version.
Embrace the data.
Analytics and data are helpful for game developers to better understand their users. You can see metrics such as what kind of users the game is attracting, how long they play, and what features they like most. This is great for tweaks, adjustments, and overall user satisfaction. Using data and analytics to funnel your users’ willingness to pay is a clever way to increase ad revenue. For example, if native or video ads are causing users to leave the app, consider analyzing user data and showing ads once players reach a particular level or after a certain amount of time spent playing. More likely than not, these users like the game by this point and won’t be scared off by ads.
Talia Chudacoff is a Senior Account Manager at Total Media. You can contact Talia by email at talia(at)mediatraderz(dot)com or on LinkedIn
Developed through the IAB Tech Lab project, ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers), is a tool created for publishers to allow for a public declaration of the companies approved to sell their digital inventory.
The IAB states on their website that the purpose of the tool is to “increase transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem.” Ads.txt aims to give publishers control over the end-to-end distribution of their inventory. The tool strives to eliminate counterfeit inventory (display, video and mobile ad units) from being sold across the ecosystem.
As more and more publishers adopt the Ads.txt tool, interested buyers will be in a position to evaluate requests being sent to their buying platform from websites, which in turn aims to raise confidence that the inventory they are seeking to purchase is 100% authentic and non-fraudulent.
At Total Media, we have already have an abundance of experience working with premium publishers seeking to maximize their ROI with Ads.txt. If you would like assistance with Ads.txt, we can help you with everything along the way in addition to providing you with the finest premium monetization available for publishers.
How Does Ads.txt Work?
According to a recent article published by Ad Ops Insider, the process in which Ads.txt increases transparency and brand safety work like this:
Publishers put a file on their server that says exactly which companies they sell their inventory through. The file lists partners by name, but also includes the publisher’s account ID. This is the same ID buyers see in a bid request, which they can use as a key for campaign targeting.
Buyers use a web crawler to download all the ads.txt files and the information contained within on a regular basis and use it to target their campaigns. This means buyers know that if they bid on request that comes from an authorized ID, it’s coming from a source the publisher trusts or has control over.
Why is Ads.txt Important?
The emergence of Ads.txt marks a milestone in the industry and provides empowerment to publishers to take back control of who represents their inventory and brand.
Who is Using Ads.txt
According to the recent article published Ad Ops Insider, adoption of Ads.txt by publishers is growing quickly in 2017.
Through a self-created web crawler in Python, Kneen was able to deduce from a pool of 1,930 domains from the top 10,000 websites ranked on Alexa that approx. 13% of these publishers ranked in the top 10,000 websites listed on Alexa globally are publishing a Ads.txt file, including ESPN.com, WashingtonPost.com and CNN.com.
Kneen breaks down the types of publishers that are publishing files and their most common partners (Google is tops, unsurprisingly), and makes recommendations for how to improve on the Ads.txt concept.
Why You Should Know About Ads.Txt
The fight against fraud in the ecosystem appears be heating up as publisher adoption of the tool is increasing. Though only time will time how the ecosystem will look once both the Sell and Buy side integrate it into their products and processes.
In our experience, creating a website is simple. Either you build it yourself through a clever pre-built template from companies such as Wix or Squarespace or you can hire a web designer to create something that suits your needs. The end result is often a difficult project with limited experience.
Though where things get really tough is building up a loyal user base that will drive revenue from your sites’ traffic monetization.
After working with publishers of all sizes across the world, we’ve come to understand that what helps publishers achieve an effective monetization strategy and subsequent revenue flow, is building a visitor base through consistent and persistent content creation and publishing.
Without a frequent stream of original published content, your site will not attract and retain enough visitors to monetize.
The goal of this post is to underscore the importance of using your published content to push your website to new levels of financial success. The planning, execution, and evaluation of your content strategy will influence the eventual success of your monetization strategy.
In this article, we will dive into why content is the core driver of web traffic and how increasing your web traffic from unique content will be the primary catalyst for your website’s monetization growth.
If the idea of earning $20,000 USD or more per year from one ad unit on your website is your goal, read on so you know how to begin planning and executing the necessary steps and understandings to reach your financial goals with your website.
The Importance of Content
It is our belief that content is the gasoline that drives your financial growth in the long term.
The decision to embrace a content-first strategy reflects an effort to have your content be at the center of everything you do and how your company/website aims to attract new customers/readers.
Everything your website represents will be displayed through your content and subsequently, will be amplified to attract visitors to your website that will view and potentially click on your ad units. The more updated and interesting your content, the more visitors will come to your website, and the more valuable your CPM prices will be for purchase via direct sales and through programmatic markets.
For your Ad Units to be Financially Valuable, Your Content Needs to be:
Published on a frequent basis
Relevant and unique to your target audience
Well-written and grammatically correct
Original in nature – meaning not aggregated from third-party sources
Timely and self-aware of its purpose
Useful to explaining, solving, or demystifying a challenging or popular/interesting topic.
The Key Benefits of Excellent Content:
New traffic to your website through SEO (Google, Bing, etc.)
Establish your website as a thought-leader on particular topics
Each new piece of content will act as a separate revenue stream for your website
Content influences and converts visitors into paying customers
Higher CPMs for your ad units
Social engagement – Shares on online social networks
Focusing on Your Content Strategy
Creating content for your business is a large part of an effective marketing strategy for attracting your target audience. The central goal of good content creation should be to publish posts which fulfill the needs and interests of your current and ideal readers/customers.
Through your content, your company will have an excellent opportunity to connect with interested individuals who are seeking influencers to enrich their interests and potential business needs.
The trick is to finely tune your content marketing strategy in order to build out a plan of content that is specific and repeatedly clustered around particular subject areas. The core benefits here would be to publish on a consistent schedule and to begin being categorized by Google’s search result algorithms as an influential and focused publisher for user search results.
Google will eventually pick up on your content’s subject consistency and begin aggregating your posts in search results relative to your content’s topical focus. If you achieve this, you have a winning content creation strategy.
If enough people begin clicking on your content, well, then the good times start to roll:
Higher search rankings on your posts in search results
Better status in your industry as an influencer on your subject matter
Higher CPMs for your website’s ad units
Your New Monetization Strategy
Once you have the content strategy in place, now you have to think about the monetization strategy. There are a number of ways that you can monetize your website. It is obvious that first, you must define the appropriate ad slots on your pages, decide which areas will be sold at a premium rate and which ad slots can be secondary for lower prices.
Your monetization strategy will most likely be a combination of direct and indirect selling. For the sake of this content, we will focus on the indirect channels method, specifically, through Google AdSense or DoubleClick AdExchange.
When going indirect, you must keep in mind the platform policies of monetizing your content through various platforms. Each platform allows a certain ratio of ad units placed on your pages vs the content around it. Google, for example, requires over 50% content on the page. In addition, one must take note of ad placement policies of each platform which will determine the success of your monetization strategy as well.
Earning $20,000 a Year Starts from an Ad Unit Yielding $55 a Day!
Let’s say that you have gotten your content strategy and monetization strategy all lined up. What would you specifically need to do to reach $20K from one Ad Unit through indirect/programmatic channels? What should be your expectations?
First, we should break down the bigger goal into smaller goals. So if the number you are going for is $20K/year, what would it be on a daily basis?
$55 per day in revenue is what we are looking to achieve ($20,000 per year / 365 days)
In order to earn $55 per day, we’ve created a set of plausible scenarios of what would have to happen:
55 pages on your site earning $1 per day
110 pages each earning $0.50 per day
220 pages post each earning $0.25 per day
There is one additional parameter that you should track, and that is how many pages your visitors view per each visit – # of page views.
Let’s say that your website has 220 pages, each of which features one ad-unit of ADX, for you an average Cost per Mil (CPM) of $0.25. In addition, your visitors visit on average 2 articles per each visit – 2 pageviews per visit.
With the above in mind, in order for you to reach your daily goal of $55, you would need to generate 220K impressions per day to your website. This translates to 110K visits per day at 2 pages visited per user.
Now, you may think that it sounds like a pretty big number. You may wonder how you drive 110,000 visitors to your site on a daily basis. The good news is, that by altering any of the components of the above equation, you are able to achieve your goals quicker and easier.
It should be pointed out that the CPM rate of your website ad units will fluctuate based on your core topics and the geographic location of your visitor traffic.
If a majority of your visitors are from a tier-one market (North America, Western Europe, etc.) and your website’s content is featured in a competitive vertical, it’s likely that your CPM would be higher than featured in this example.
Let’s look into what happens when your CPM rate is increased from $0.25 to $0.40 through good traffic, intelligent content, and expert ad optimization.
$55 per day / 0.40 CPM = 138 x 1000 = 138,000 page views per day (50M per year)
Keeping the 2-page view average per visit, you will be able to achieve your goal with just 69,000 visitors per day.
This is an interesting example because it shows that with just a small $0.15 increase in average CPM, from $0.25 to $0.40, you will arrive at your goal much faster and with fewer visitors.
Consequently, you will earn much higher monthly revenue if your visitor base remains the same as in the original example, 110K. Within this scenario, your site will earn a massive 160% increase in profit because the $0.15 bump will reward your site with an additional $12,000 USD annually from the consistent stream of visitors that you’re already been receiving. The beauty in this is that the same traffic, arriving at a 60% increase in price per CPM, would be $12,000 USD more profitable, compounded, and advantageous for your financial goals.
Strategies for Increasing Your Revenue
We would like to advise you to diversify your monetization sources. Publishers are not limited to only using AdSense on their website. You are free to add new monetization channels in parallel within your monetization strategy!
By adding additional channels of monetization or re-organizing/optimizing your ad stack into your ad waterfall, your goal of making $20,000 a year from an ad unit can be easily overachieved due to additional monetization revenue.
Furthermore, with the push to produce more content (hopefully you’re already thinking about adding unique video content as well) on your website, matched with the monetized posts with direct and organic site traffic, your revenue growth will be compounded with every impression that occurs on every one of your website’s pieces of content.
While at first, it may feel like taking a deep dive into the unknown with so many intriguing options available to publishers, we completely appreciate that adding new monetization solutions to your website is not a straightforward and simple process. Regardless, you shouldn’t be hesitant to press forward and try to do whatever you can to improve your monthly revenue.
Your website should be a vehicle for making money and we’re here to assist you along the way to amplify your monthly ad revenue. Regardless of the size of your website or your current CPM rate, Total Media can enable your website to add all of these effective monetization streams to your website and then expertly manage all of the complex optimizations thereafter.
We hope the writing of this post has assisted you to better understand the benefits of looking into the ways to increase website traffic from content and how to view the ways it is possible to increase the revenue you can earn from your traffic. We hope that we have empowered you with valuable information which may make your website’s revenue potential more viable than it is today.
Brian Blondy is the Marketing Manager at Total Media. You can contact Brian by email at brian(at)totalmediasolutions(dot)com or on LinkedIn