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Maximizing Online Advertising Networks

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Website publishers will find that online advertising networks are useful in generating revenue from unfilled adv inventory.

The sell rate of a website rarely reaches 100 percent, so what to do with the remaining inventory is a challenge.

Some publishers run house ads promoting other products and services. Some use the inventory for affiliate marketing, in which the publisher is purely a marketing agent for other companies. The publisher gets paid based on cost per acquisition.

Filling the inventory with a remnant ad network is an easy way to make extra month. The two dominant players in the market are Google AdSense and from Bing and Yahoo!

One Network Can Make a Difference

Some sites rely entirely on one network such as Google AdSense. Case in point:

A manager revealed in a meeting that an extensive project to revamp a group of sites and audit the available ad inventory had tripled the audience in no time.

After the congratulations, it was pointed out that tripling the audience meant tripling the ad inventory. A sales manager grimaced and said something to the effect of, well, it didn’t triple the revenue.

Actually, it could.

A cluster of local media sites went from $50,000 in national remnant advertising to $1 million in just a few years. Most of it came from online advertising networks with online rate card CPMs under a dollar. It was a great example of yield optimization.

Multiple Networks Work Best

A well-managed effort from the likes of AdSense can boost performance into the $5 to $10 range of page CPMs. Here is how a site or cluster can boost remnant advertising using the same tactics:

  1. Sign multiple remnant advertising contracts and track the CPMs at least monthly if not weekly. Adjust the size of each campaign to the higher CPM. Dump remnant agencies with poor results and sign new ones.
  2. Review ad inventory, again at least monthly. The cluster mentioned above discovered a tremendous amount of inventory was wasted on house campaigns and over-delivery of paid campaigns. Some of them were kicked up so high that the net CPM was lower than remnant. This freed millions of more impressions each month.
  3. Audit every site and section to see if ad tags are properly implemented, or implemented at all. Use Internet Advertising Bureau standards for ad sizes, which will increase the potential number of campaigns as well as the CPMs.
  4. Carefully consider the number of ad positions on each page. Three is probably the maximum, otherwise the page gets slow, heavy and overwhelming for the visitor.
  5. Finally, drive up page views as high as possible. More page views means more inventory, which means more revenue.

But It’s Not As Easy

Google’s dominance as an online advertising network leaves publishers with few other options except for

The other options are smaller, usually pay less and often don’t survive for more than a few years. Some also have poor security procedures that lead to the distribution of malware in ads.

Google itself is placing greater emphasis on trust as a factor in deciding how many quality ads to distribute, especially to smaller publishers.

So the environment is not as lucrative today as it was in previous years. Still, publishers with thousands of visits to monetize each month may find a valuable opportunity in online advertising networks.

With ad inventory on a site usually far ahead of the sold inventory, it is possible to generate a large volume of revenue, even with the low rates.

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