7 Key Digital Monetization Mistakes To Avoid

7 Key Digital Monetization Mistakes To Avoid

Are you a publisher that struggles with underwhelming ad revenue? Or do you want to increase your profit, but don’t know how? Then this article is for you!

Despite having existed for over two decades, digital monetization is still a relatively young field. Additionally, it suffers from being deceptively simple: many people entering it for the first time may think that all one needs to do to make a profit is place a few banner ads on their platform.

However, that’s not always the case: as time goes by, more and more publishers come to realize that it’s getting harder and harder to not only increase their ad revenue but also not let it decline. As a result, getting the basics right has now become more important than ever.

In order to help you start earning more and not lose too many resources on having to constantly tweak your campaigns, we have asked our friends at Adsterra to point out some typical digital monetization mistakes they see when working with publishers.

1. Technical Issues

Let’s start with the basics: one of the key mistakes publishers make is not paying enough attention to various technical issues. This isn’t one single problem but rather a collection of them – in most cases, they will be small and rather insignificant in terms of profit loss but they do add up.

While it is generally advised to take care of the little issues last – and we agree with this – it is definitely a good idea to keep at least some of the most common ones in mind as you set up and configure your campaign. Most of them are pretty easy to avoid.


When you copy the code for the ad you’re going to place on your platform, be sure that you copied it in full and didn’t accidentally alter it in any way. Make copies of all versions of the code you use when you make adjustments to it, too – that will make it easier to track and solve any issues that may appear in the future.

Website Loading Speed

One of the big issues publishers sometimes neglect to pay attention to is slow website loading speed. While that doesn’t directly affect CPM, it can significantly reduce the number of your website visitors, decreasing your revenue in the long run.

Website loading speed can be affected by many things, but perhaps the most important factor is choosing the hosting provider that you use. It is very important to choose a good one – but please note that online reviews can be fake, so they are not always indicative of how good a provider is.

Besides hosting providers, there are a lot of other small things that affect webpage loading speed – image sizes, formatting, and so on. If you’re not sure you can pay attention to and take care of these things while designing/creating your own website, it may be better to go for a hosting service that provides website templates.


Just like website loading speed, this mistake affects ad revenue in the long rather than the short run. Website owners, bloggers, and even social media influencers – everyone who chooses to monetize their content online can benefit from search engine optimization.

When it comes to SEO, don’t focus on just the content that you’re producing: website headings and subheadings, descriptions, URLs can all also be optimized. Every new unique visitor will help to increase your revenue in the long run.


Mobile Optimization

When you create content and design your website, don’t forget to make it mobile-friendly. The share of mobile traffic is increasing day by day, yet many publishers still ignore it – and thus lose out on a lot of profit. For example, when getting banners, make 320×50px copies as this size is more mobile-friendly.

2. Using Too Many Different Ad Formats

As the industry develops, advertisement networks come up with more and more new types of ad formats. Some of them are more traditional, like banners or buttons, while others are a lot more innovative, like Adsterra’s Social Bar or live chat bots.

With there being so much choice, it is natural to want to place as many various ad formats on your page as possible – after all, wouldn’t users want to click on something they’ve never seen before, even if they know it’s an ad? Besides, isn’t it a great way to see which format performs better?

Well, not exactly. While it can indeed be somewhat beneficial, using too many different ad formats at the same time can cause quite a few issues in both the short- and long term. Firstly, it can greatly annoy your website visitors, who may feel overwhelmed after seeing all the different ads you’ve placed on your web pages – instead of enjoying themselves, they will feel like they’re traversing through a minefield.

Secondly, while most ad networks make it possible to view stats for each format and each ad you’ve placed, the overabundance of formats you’re using may still skew the overall results, especially when it comes to the overall profitability of your campaign.

Most ad networks have dedicated managers and special dashboards like Adsterra’s Publishers Statistics that can help publishers to determine which ad formats they should try out first. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of such resources.

Instead of using a wide variety of different ad formats, you can try customizing your current ones in order to increase your profit and CPM. Experiment with banner sizes and designs, button placements, different responses in live chats, and so on.

3. And Using Too Many Ads in General

Unfortunately, more ads don’t mean more money. The early 2000s-esque style of ad placement and presentation should be left in the past – it has no place in 2022. These days, users get annoyed if they see 2 or 3 ads in a row while they’re scrolling through their Twitter feed, or see more than one banner on their favorite blogging platform.

The more ads you place on your website, the bigger the chance that they will get ignored, and, what’s worse, that the users that see them will be less likely to visit your page in the future.

This is very important for influencers, especially those that work with Instagram – that platform shows your content to users who frequently consume it, and if there’s nothing but (in most cases, lazy and uninspired) ads on your stories and in your feed that users just click through, eventually there won’t be anyone left to see your actual content, much less click on your partner links.

Most ad networks worth their money dedicate a lot of resources to studying how different ad formats perform on different platforms and audience types. Take advantage of that research – after all, as a client, you should be able to get access to it for free.

The most efficient way of displaying popunders, another signature ad format is having 4 of them pop up in 2 hours with a 10-second delay in between. Not many publishers can discover things and strategies like this on their own, so it’s important to choose an ad network that can help you with this stuff.

4. Neglecting Target Audience Research

Target audience research is essential for any marketing campaign. It can differ in form from industry to industry, but it’s one of the key components of the success of any monetization strategy.

It’s good to always have your target audience in mind when choosing ad formats, placements, appearance, and so on. If you run an educational blog, chances are your audience would only get annoyed by banners and invasive ads like popunders – go for formats like Adsterra’s Smart Direct Link (a simple URL that you can put anywhere on your platform) or minimalistic banners.

In some cases, ads can even enhance the content of your webpage – for example, if you’re selling swimming pools, a well-made banner ad for pool cleaners or hoses can interest a user a lot more than an interactive ad that features a quiz or some other mini-game.


5. Ignoring Innovation

The digital marketing industry never stays the same. There are always new trends, new technologies, and new regulations to consider. A format or an ad that performed well in 2021 can easily become obsolete in 2022 – and that is something you should be aware of.

Even if you don’t want to keep up with all the latest trends (which is perfectly understandable – it can be quite tedious), it is still a good idea to shake things up from time to time. Never rest on your laurels.

Compound ad formats like Adsterra’s Social Bar can be a lifesaver when it comes to issues like this one – SB is UX- and AdBlock-friendly, has great reach on trendy iOS traffic, is interactive and customizable, and offers 5 different formats in one.

Another form of innovation that some publishers neglect is making use of alternative monetization strategies. Ads are no longer the only way content creators and website owners can make money online – there are affiliate programs, sponsorships, merch, and more. Consider which alternative monetization method can fit your platform and audience best and consider using it in 2022.

6. Being Too Focused on CPM in Digital Monetization Campaigns

While CPM is one of the most important metrics in any digital monetization campaign, it is not the only thing that should be on a publisher’s mind. Your profit will depend on more than one metric, and CPM isn’t always indicative of how well a campaign is performing.

Having access to clear, understandable stats is key to making successful monetization campaigns. Look at your average website visitors, retention rates, heatmaps, scrollmaps, and so on. Consider your competitors, too: what makes their campaigns successful? How do they increase their numbers?

Earning more as a publisher is all about constantly looking for ways to improve, but in order to improve, you need to be able to tell how well your platform and ads are doing at the present moment.

7. Working With Multiple Ad Networks At The Same Time

Ad networks are one of the most important pieces in the puzzle that is digital monetization. They can make or break your campaign, so it is important to not be afraid to try a few different networks before you find the one that will be perfect for you.

However, many publishers make the mistake of working with several ad networks at the same time. No matter if it’s done to earn some additional profit, to test out these networks, or because they’re indecisive, we would still advise against it. It is better to use several networks for shorter periods of time than all of them for longer, but at the same time.

Using several ad networks at the same time can lead to such issues as ad format incompatibility, visual mayhem, loading speed issues, and more, ultimately decreasing both your short- and long-term profit.

Wrap Up

The digital monetization industry is incredibly competitive, and with each year publishers from all across the world have to come up with increasingly more creative ways to stay afloat and grow their audience and ad revenue.

While fixing the mistakes listed here may not bring you an immediate spike in profit, they will no longer slowly but surely drag you down in the long run. After all, money-making is a marathon, not a short-distance sprint – it is important to have a good foundation and some form of a long-term strategy in place.

Ready to take your digital monetization & ad revenue to the next level? Let’s talk soon!


Credits: Thanks to AdSterra’s Content Team for writing this post.

Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean has been a pioneer in the AdTech world since 2010 who believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals, programmatic advertising, and building ad technology as keys to scaling ad revenue. Here, he provides publisher resources and guides covering areas like website monetization, AdSense optimization, Google Ad Manager, Ad Exchanges, and much more.

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