Best Revenue Optimization Tips for Publishers in Q4 2021

Monetization Tips & Guides
Last updated: January 18, 2023 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on January 18th, 2023

One of the biggest concerns for publishers is how they can increase revenue. This is even more important as the final quarter of the year approaches. Your earnings during Q4 will determine if you had a great year in terms of revenue or not.

The good news is that the holiday season sees higher purchase volumes than other quarters of the year. Advertisers also tend to increase their advertising spend during this period.

So in this article, we break down the best revenue optimization tips that will help publishers double down and increase revenue in Q4.

Let’s get started.

1. Increase your eCPM

eCPM refers to “effective Cost Per Mile”. In online advertising, eCPM is the ad revenue generated per 1000 impressions. With eCPM, publishers can calculate the ad revenue generated by an ad unit. A high eCPM means the publisher will see increased revenue and make more profit.

To calculate eCPM, use the formula:

eCPM-calculate-formula-revenue optimization

Difference between CPM and eCPM

CPM is the price advertisers set for 1000 ad impressions. On the other hand, eCPM is used by publishers to find out how much revenue they will earn per 1000 ad impressions.

Why should publishers calculate eCPM?

Calculating eCPM is very important for publishers who want to significantly increase revenue in Q4.

Here are two key reasons why should you calculate it:

  • eCPM shows the exact revenue publishers generate when they run ads on their site
  • It also helps publishers to determine the type of ad units that receive the most impressions. With this knowledge, publishers can run better ads in the future.

For instance, if an Ad Exchange paid you $10,000 for 1.6 million impressions, for a 336 x 280 ad unit and $40,000 for 4.2 million impressions, for a 160 x 600 ad unit, it would be difficult to directly compare both of them. But, if you use the eCPM formula, you will know that you earned $6.3 per thousand impressions for the 336 x 280 ad unit and $9.5 per thousand impressions for the 160 x 600 ad unit.

With the eCPM calculation, you can create and plan your ad units appropriately.

How to increase your eCPM

Here are some tips to help you boost your eCPM numbers:

I. Test multiple Ad networks

Ad networks are companies that aggregate ad supply from publishers and match it with advertisers’ demand. As a publisher, it’s important that you work with the right ad network.


To increase your revenue, you need to ensure that relevant ads are shown to your site visitors. Sure, there are a lot of ad networks you can choose from but it’s best you choose the one that’s the right fit for you. Don’t choose an ad network because of the unique capabilities they offer.

For instance, if you run a niche website, you should work with a vertical ad network because they focus on delivering advertising to a specific (niche) audience. So, choose an ad network that fits your website requirements.

II. Experiment with different ad formats

There are several articles online on the best ad formats to use. But the reality is that it’s not one size fits all. The ad formats that work for other websites might not work for you. So if you want to boost your eCPM, you need to do your own experiments.

Here are some of the commonly used ad formats:

Banner ads: These are permanent square-shaped or rectangular ad formats. Banner ads are the most popular ad formats. The problem is that there are a lot of banner ad formats to choose from.

How can you know the best to use on your website?

The best practice is to choose the one with the highest fill rate. Also, avoid the banner ads that are targeted by fraudsters. A study from Pixalate and OpenX found that found 11% of the traffic coming from video banner ads that are 300×250 pixels is bot-driven. The study also showed that this ad unit type had 31% higher ad fraud than other ad units sold via OpenX.

💡 If you use a solution like Traffic Cop, you will be able to easily identify and block ad fraud. Traffic Cop will keep your ad inventory safe from fraudsters and ensure your ad revenue is protected. Try Traffic Cop

So as much as possible, do your research before choosing the ad sizes on your website.

Interstitial ads: These ads have the highest eCPM rates because they are full-page ads. Interstitial ads occupy the entire screen of the viewer’s device. Although this ad format has a high eCPM, consider the viewer’s user experience before using it. The best time to use this ad format is between content so that it appears at natural app transition points.

Video ads: This ad format can appear in two ways.

  • Intended – the user can skip the ad after 5 seconds
  • Compulsory – the user will be redirected back to the normal interface after the video has finished playing.

Video ad formats are increasing in popularity these days. Just experiment to find the best format for your site.

III. Monitor price floors

A price floor is the fixed CPM or eCPM price from which advertisers can bid for ad placements in an auction. It ensures that advertisers are not buying ad impressions at prices below what is set by the monetization partner or publisher.

So to increase your revenue, keep an eye on the fixed pricing rules during the Q4 so that you do not miss out on demand.

Regularly monitor price floors for different ad formats, industry trends, and market rates so you will recognize the ad units that can give you a higher eCPM during Q4.

IV. Use the right ad placements

Experiment with different ad placement and ad sizes on several sections on your site to find where you will get the most impressions. A statistical tool will help you identify the best position on your webpage by computing your click-through rates.

For instance, a heat map tool like Hotjar will help you identify the best places to place ads on a webpage by analyzing the viewer’s behavior. The tool will identify the sections of the webpage that sees the most engagement.

💡 A mistake that many publishers make is adding multiple ad banners on a webpage. The reasoning is that more ads equals more clicks and hence; increased revenue. This is not true. Adding multiple banners on a single webpage will only lead to increased banner blindness.

V. Generate search engine traffic

The greater the number of visitors to your website, the more impressions you will get. More impressions will translate into higher click-through rates and increased revenue.

Of course, all traffic sources are not created equally. Some traffic sources will have a higher impact on your eCPM rate. Particularly search engine traffic. In fact, studies show that search engine traffic has a higher cost per action (CPA) than other traffic sources like social media.

VI. Load ads dynamically

As a publisher, do not go with a fixed number of ad units on every webpage across your site. Factors like the webpage layout, content length, and user engagement should determine how ads will load.

For instance, an article that is 2500 words will have more scroll depth than a 1000 words article. So you can place more ad units on the longer article since the viewer will spend more time on the page.

2. Create more Seasonal Content

Historical data from Google trends shows that the search traffic for certain keywords or content increases during the holiday seasons. To generate more traffic to your website during Q4, create more seasonal content.

If you are a publisher with a new website, you can study Google Trends to identify high-traffic content ideas for your industry during the holiday season. For more established publishers, use Google analytics to find the content on your site that gets high traffic during the fourth quarter of the year. After you get the results, create similar content for this year.

3. Refresh high traffic content

This is a simple but effective strategy to help you increase the revenue you generate from your content. On your website, they are certain pages or posts that drive significant traffic to your website. It’s best practice to refresh the content on these pages/posts.

Not only will this improve your SEO, but it will also ensure that the content is updated with the latest information so you can keep up with competitors. Another advantage of updating old content is that you will boost your overall search authority and position in the SERPs. The higher your climb in the SERPs, the more traffic your content will get.

4. Enable geo-targeting

Geo-targeting refers to when ads are only shown to users based on their geographical location. This includes country, state, city, zip code, IP address, and even down to the radius around a specific location.

Publishers can use geo-targeting to determine the kind of ads the viewer will see. You can set your ads to show depending on the viewer’s location. This is especially important for mobile viewers. Local search is heavily affected by mobile use. Data even supports this. Studies from Thrive Analytics show that 60% of consumers use their mobile devices to search for local products and services. So showing your viewers local ads can increase your CTR.

Geo-targeted ads are more personalized and usually have more CTRs and conversions. Using geo-targeted ads in the fourth quarter can help increase your revenue.

5. Avoid redesigning your website

Website redesign is a time-consuming project and should not be done during Q4. Any slight change to your website during this time can affect user behavior and experience. If the redesign negatively affects your website and user experience reduces, you will see less engagement on your ads. Less engagement will lead to low CTR and fewer profits. Instead of embarking on a big project like website redesign, focus on updating your content and optimizing ad placements.

6. Make your site mobile friendly

As the Google algorithm constantly evolves, websites that are not mobile-friendly will lose a lot of their organic traffic. This will result in fewer impressions on your ads and a lower eCPM. So if you want to increase your revenue, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Some simple tips to make your website mobile-friendly include:

  • Make your website responsive. This means that your website will be able to adapt to the screen of the viewer without limiting the information that can be seen.
  • Make information on your website easy to find
  • Remove text-blocking ads and limit pop-ups
  • Increase the speed of your website
  • The button sizes on your website should be large enough to work on mobile
  • Do not use Flash as they slow down a webpage load time
  • Use large font sizes

When your website is mobile-friendly and offers a high ad engagement, advertisers will want to bid on your website for more impressions.

7. Try out direct sales

You can significantly increase your revenue by directly selling premium ad spots to advertisers. Advertisers are always looking to place their ads in spots where they will get the most engagement. So if you have a highly targeted audience and generate a ton of traffic/impressions, advertisers will be willing to buy inventories directly from you. You can even be proactive and reach out to relevant advertisers with your offer.

Direct selling to advertisers also means that the publisher will take home all the money since no ad networks are acting as a middle man and taking their cut of the revenue.

However, direct selling is most profitable when your website gets a high volume of traffic. For smaller websites, focus on finding ad networks with a high eCPM rate.

Ready to increase your revenue in Q4?

The fourth quarter or holiday season can be very profitable for publishers. The key is to put strategies in place to ensure that you optimize your ad units and placements for the best performance. The tips in this article will help you get started.

Remember to regularly analyze your results so you will find out what works and the areas you will need to improve.

Which of the tips in this article will you implement this fourth quarter?

Will you change your ad placements?

Or will you experiment with different ad formats?

Sign Up Now to book a free consultation to help you implement actionable strategies to boost your ad revenue in Q4 and beyond!

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