Every publisher faces different situations and challenges, but one concern that unifies all is how to achieve the best possible ROI. The end goal is to find avenues of sustainable revenue that aligns with the content, feel, and message of your website — and in return sets up great user experience.
Google DFP: The Basics
Direct sales of inventory might earn you some substantial cash, but direct sales alone are not likely to help you realize the full earning potential of your website. DoubleClick for Publishers is a powerful ad server that helps publishers manage ad inventory. At its most basic level, DFP defines the size and location of your ad units, which are essentially the building blocks of DFP.
It’s a full-featured solution that helps you keep track of your databases, tagging, and reporting, and allows you to work with both third-party networks and AdSense simultaneously as sources of revenue. Best of all, you have complete control of targeting through its “line items” feature.
Related Read: When is the Right Time to Implement an Ad Server? Once you know the basics, the next logical step is to figure out what works best for your website. We know that your investment is important, and finding ways to maximize revenue is always paramount. Let’s go over these five strategies to maximize your DFP ROI:
1) Integrate Google AdSense
Manage your inventory efficiently by having your AdSense account integrated to your DFP account. With the largest network of online advertisers, your ad spaces will have content directly related to your website (meaning your users will be more likely to care about and click on your ads) and give you multiple ad formats to choose from. AdSense also helps maximize your website earnings by filling in your unsold or remnant ad inventory.
2) Think Third-Party
Non-Google ad networks are another great resource for relevant ad content to drive a website’s ad revenue campaign. They are suppliers that can offer specific, content-related ads for publishers, but keep in mind that they’re competing too. A third-party ad network should strive to maintain relevancy to your content while promoting a positive change in your CPMs.
Finding good third-party ad networks may be a bit of a process, but it’s all about the right fit. You may start off working with a perfectly reputable ad network, only to find that it just doesn’t work for your specific needs.
Conversely, some ad networks might choose not to work with you if they don’t feel it’s a good match. The old mantra “try, try again” is key — there will always be an ad network that works for you and wants to be there when you succeed.
3) Understand Your Ad Inventory
Study how you can monetize your premium and remnant inventories. There are ad networks that will be paying higher CPMs and others at lower CPMs because of the difference on target audiences. Let’s say you have 100k impressions in your ad inventory. Premium inventory is the priority and their ads are placed ahead of your remnant inventory.
Ad Network X pay higher CPM so you assign it for your 20k premium inventory. The remaining 80k will be your remnant inventory. This remnant inventory is then allocated to Ad Network Y and Ad Network Z, who will compete with each other based on CPMs for the ad space.
Learning to balance the two distinct characteristics will help you maximize the potential earnings.
4) Configure Passback Ads
A passback tag is basically a backup ad that your ad network can use to backfill an ad space A passback occurs when an ad network is taking impressions, then reached a point that it no longer wants the additional impressions. It will “pass it on” to the next ad network that you have set up, so passback chain now happens. Normally, you will have to select 3 or 4 networks for your waterfall passback chain.
Choose the networks based on their CPMs and fill rates. This practice will teach you how ad networks behave when you see them working together to give you the quality CPMs you need. If you have AdSense on your DFP account, AdSense will be the best fall back at the end of the line.
Example of Chain:
1. Criteo = CPM floor @ $1 = 1st ad network that will receive the impressions, impressions not needed will be passed on to Komoona
2. Komoona = CPM floor @ $.80 = 2nd ad network in line, impressions not needed will be passed on to Lijit
3. Lijit = CPM floor @ $.60 = 3rd ad network in line, impressions not needed will be passed on to AdSense
4. Adsense = AdSense will fill the end of the chain
5) Keep Evolving – Optimize Daily
Managing a website for any period of time will make you deeply and personally aware of the ups and downs of online advertising. With changing times and a tough market, publishers need to think about how to get more from their website’s monetizable space. If you have reached the dreaded plateau, it’s time to find ways to beef up your ad inventory’s potential.
Since most of us really don’t have the time to pore over every possible ad configuration, a dedicated optimization expert is a way to go. Your website is their baby, and they only raise Ivy League kids.
Aside from their killer optimization strategies, they have inside knowledge of relationships among AdSense and third-party ad networks — meaning an ad optimizer can interweave your various networks to forge healthy competition and net you the best return.