How Much Time Should You Put Into Ad Optimization?

Ad Optimization
Last updated: September 5, 2019 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on September 5th, 2019

It’s a sad story that most publishers spend the majority of their time on traffic generation when there are so many low hanging fruits on the ad optimization side. Are you one of these publishers?

Get as much traffic as possible and let AdSense monetize the traffic: You spend 95% of your time on SEO, SEM, social media, online guerrilla marketing, and other traffic generation tactics. You have AdSense set up directly on your site and that’s all you have done with AdSense.

The only time spent with banner ads is selling them directly: In your mind, that’s the only means to make real money with banner ads on your site. You feel that you’re practically giving away your ad impressions with your unsold ad impressions that go to AdSense because the CPM’s between your direct sales and remnant inventory are so huge.

You have an ad server setup and you tinker with a handful of third-party ad networks: You have implemented an ad server into your site (ie. OpenX, Ad Tech, DFP, Real Media, etc.) and you have added a few third-party ad networks. You have seen a boost in your CPM’s and ad revenues as a result. You check your stats every once in a while and tinker with your setup as a passing interest.

You have set up an ad server 6 months ago and deal with close to ten ad networks: You have really caught onto the whole ad optimization opportunity. You have a fairly complex waterfall chain setup for your passback strategy. Your secretary consolidates your ad revenues across all the ad networks. You spend about 10 hours a week on dealing with ad networks and tinkering with your ad network setup.

As you can tell, the optimal scenario gets better as you go from case 1 to 4. However, even case 4 is not even close to the most optimal setup for an online publisher. Ad optimization is more than a full-time job. For example, if you have a 100M page views per month site/network of sites with international traffic, you should have a dedicated team optimizing the ads on your site. None of these cases utilize technology either which is a big loss in your ad revenue generation potential.

If your site has over 5 million page views per month, you should have at least one employee working full time on ad optimization. It will more than pay off for itself because there are always so many opportunities to grow your CPM’s and to dramatically boost your ad revenues with the same traffic levels. With someone dedicated to the world of ad optimization, they are able to take advantage of the following opportunities:

Establish close relationships with the ad reps

This allows your site to take advantage of new revenue generation opportunities before other publishers. You’ll also have much stronger potential to negotiate better revenue shares, more access to premium advertisers and the potential for your rep to pull strings on their side to increase your performance.

Acute Optimization

Your dedicated employee will be able to optimize on very acute factors: geography, psychographics, time of day/week/month/year, category, browsing platform, etc.

With someone so dedicated, they can take the time to really split hairs on the optimization process and incrementally boost the CPM’s which adds up when taking advantage of all the acute optimization opportunities.

Monetizing every portion of the site

Your dedicated employee can monetize every nook and cranny of your site that is just waiting to make you more money.

What sections aren’t you monetizing?

  • RSS Feeds
  • Organic Videos
  • Exit Pages
  • Email Newsletters
  • Organic Search Pages

Having the monetization brain of the team

Thinking of doing a re-design? Not sure about what type of users to attract to your site? Wondering what you’re earning per user is? Wondering if it’s worth it to add another ad or maybe eliminate one? All these questions are for the person in your company that is fully committed to ad optimization.

When someone is 100% in the ad monetization world, they have a much grander insight into the monetization of your website. This is essential to any website that has advertisements.

Our biggest piece of advice

If you own a large traffic website, don’t try to tackle ad optimization on your own. If you are, you’re missing out on a huge world of ad revenue generation opportunity. With that said, don’t just hire anyone. You need someone who has been in the online media industry or has optimized ads on websites before.

It’s not a cakewalk to dramatically boost ad revenues for your website. Not anyone can do it. If you try to hire someone cheap for little to no money, you might be saving $20-$30k per year but you could very well be missing out on $50 – $100k per year or even more.

If you’re not able to find someone that would fit into such a position, your next option is to outsource. You can go with an automated yield optimizer or you can go with an ad agency that maintains a close relationship with your company and acts as a stakeholder as your ad monetization brain.

If you go with an automated yield optimizer you’ll benefit from a fairly simple setup and the small degree of benefits of #2 and #4. You’ll have to take on the risk of taking off about 15% off your revenues right off the top.

In Closing

If you’re dedicated to finding your full ad revenue potential and realizing the full extent of all four benefits via an experienced team that utilizes ad optimization technology but with an intimate ad agency set up, look no further. We recommend doing your research first. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you realize your ad revenue potential, contact us here.

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