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Optimizing Your Website Ad Revenue

by Matt Peck, on Aug 19, 2021 2:53:22 PM

As a digital publisher, maximizing your ad revenue takes a few more steps than just firing up a Google Adsense account.

If you are truly looking to get the most out of your webpage, content, and site traffic, you have to keep yourself actively involved in both the content publishing and ad management processes to grind out kinks and squeeze out as much revenue as you can.

Here we have compiled what we think are some of the most important pieces to boosting your revenue and making the most out of your webpage.

 

Maintain Your Site Performance

Running a website that doesn’t meet users expectations of speed and reliability will end up costing you in the long run.

Not only will your bounce rates and session lengths shoot off in negative directions, your SEO rankings will also take a hit.

Since 2010, Google, in their own interest of not wanting to send users to websites that don’t provide a stellar experience, has been including site speed into its search engine algorithm. 

This means if it finds that your site is trailing behind competitors, or not meeting what they consider to be standard load time (2-3 seconds), your site will be penalized and your discoverability will suffer.

Your site is then losing revenue on two fronts. Because your site traffic is closely tied to your ad yield, taking hits to your SEO will directly impact your revenue, while the high bounce rates from the users that do find your site will only exacerbate the problem.

 

Respect Your User Experience

It may seem logical that having the absolute maximum amount of ads your webpage can handle will also bring in the most amount of revenue. But there are a couple of reasons why this isn’t the case.

First off, you're going to create an experience for your user that will immediately push them to look for their content elsewhere, decreasing your site traffic and your overall payout.

And while it may seem you are taking advantage of the time users are spending on your site, what you really may be doing is driving users away from your site and devaluing your content.

Think of it this way. If your website has only two ad slots, advertisers only have two chances per session to get your ad in front of a user. With the right audience, they might pay a premium to grab one of those two places. 

But if you are running 400 ads per session, the likelihood of a single advertiser’s ad being seen diminishes and they will inevitably pay less to advertise on your site.

Crazy and horrible ad placement by Haiti News

[source]

Also, by creating such a frustrating user experience, you are inviting users to download and install ad blocking software. In fact, roughly 30% of users browse with ad blocking enabled, with website performance consistently being users’ number one justification.

Lastly, leaving an extensive and unbridled advertising strategy unmanaged leaves your site vulnerable to bad actors and malvertising attacks. Unwanted redirects, headlines with malicious links, and offensive or shocking content are all tactics fraudsters take to lure users into potentially harmful landing pages.

Adding these advertisers to your blocklist may ease the issue, but it is far from a permanent solution. Sophisticated fraudsters will find a way around your block list and continue to attack your website with malicious content.

If you are finding you are struggling to keep these bad actors off your site, see our cleanAD free trial here.

Our unique software blocks these advertisements on runtime. This allows the ad impression pixel to fire while preventing malicious content, so publishers still get paid and bad actors lose out. 

Not only are you protecting your users, but you are also creating a financial disincentive for malicious advertising groups.

 

Adjust Your Rates To Demand

If you are seeing a lull in your publishing metrics, it's important to remember that it might not be you. Digital advertising has an eb and flow, and you should become familiar with it so that you can utilize it to your advantage.

 

Monthly CPM percent change month to month

[source]

The figure above shows how CPM rates change month to month over the course of a year. As you can see, Q1 and Q2 see significant drops in CPM rates that begin to pick up over the summer during Q3, and then take off during Q4.

Take the time during the lulls to think about your advertising budget and strategy. Experiment with something new, and see how it performs during Q3. If you are keeping a close eye on your audience, you will notice how their behaviors and interests change, and having an ad campaign ready to reflect that in Q4 will be crucial to your overall yield.

CPMs start each month low and steadily increase towards the end of the month

[source]

Along with this, CPM rates tend to drop at the beginning of each month, and slightly rise towards the end. 

This means you will benefit from lowering and raising your prices in response to these shifts.

And while CPM rates are certainly important, they aren’t the only metric you should tie yourself to. 

If you want to really squeeze out as much revenue as you can, you will also need to pay attention to:

 

  • Total Site Traffic
  • Revenue Per User
  • Revenue Per Page
  • Revenue Per Audience Segment
  • Pages Per Visitor
  • Time On Page
  • User Feedback

 

Having a set it and forget it publishing campaign may help pay the bills, but if you really want to rake in revenue you need to be actively adapting your strategy.

Read more on these strategies here.



What Is The Correct Ad Size?

The correct amount of ads, and correct ad size is going to vary website to website.  But ideally you want ads and ad placements that complement your content and don’t disrupt the user experience.

Experiment with different placements and sizes across your site and see which ones perform the best.

Generally these are the best ad placements, and sizes on different kinds of devices:

 

Desktop:

728x90 banner ad

300x250 side ad

300x600 ad tower

160x600 ad skyscraper

Mobile:

320x100 mobile, right above screen fold

[source]

And here is a helpful article about tracking users and finding the best ad placement.

 

A/B Test Your Ads

This will give you greatest insight into which kinds of placements, sizes, and advertisers are performed best for your site. 

As your publishing business grows, you will want to have a firm understanding of which ads work and what don’t. This means constantly trying new strategies and testing them against your current approach.

Not only will gain knowledge of what advertisers are performing, but which ad placements produce the best results, giving you the opportunity to charge a premium for those placements.

 

Experiment With Video Ads

Outbrain reports that 97% of users say click to play video ads are their preferred form of advertisement and result in an 7% increase in purchase intent. On top of this, video ad consumption has been on a slow rise for years, with total consumption exploding by 43% during the pandemic. And most experts say that this trend is going to last.

Finding the right placement and size will take some testing, but because of their promising metrics video ads will continue to increase in demand and it will offer some of the best CPM rates you can find.

 

Leverage Your User Data

Having a robust data collection strategy, whether through your CRM platform, Google Analytics, or third-party cookies, doesn't just give you insights on what kind of ads to serve. It can also be used to leverage higher CPMs for companies looking to target your demographics.

This will become more difficult once third party cookies are inevitably thrown out, but for the time being you can still use this information to your advantage.

It would also be wise to start building your own database of customer behavior and interest once third party tracking is no longer possible, so you can still have something to show advertisers when negotiating price.

 

Maintain Policy Compliance

This may seem like an obvious one, but maintaining compliance with your platform and SSPs can be overlooked and end up putting businesses in a difficult spot. Many groups require a certain ratio of content to advertisement in order to ensure website quality, and many more have written guidelines about which kind of ads are allowed to be shared on their platforms.

Make sure you are up to date on their policies and keep track of the ads you are serving to make sure you are not in violation. Many of these groups offer little to no recourse once you have been blocklisted, so making sure you are following the rules should be high on your priority list.

 

Conclusion

Digital advertising has many tips and tricks and if you're trying to max out your revenue setting and forgetting won’t cut it. 

You are going to need to keep a tight pulse on not only the changes in your audience, but also the ebbs, flows, and technical shifts in the industry as a whole.

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