As a publisher, your bottom line is to get the highest yield in return for your ad impressions. Small publishers have the luxury of testing and scaling.
However, as you grow to become a premium publisher, yield management, yield optimization, and ad operations can become cumbersome.
We know a segment of big publishers who are more likely to outsource their ad optimization and testing. On the other hand, there are other publishers who are more comfortable having an in-house team of ad ops experts managing their inventory.
Whatever your preference, MonetizeMore is committed to empowering your strategy. Here we bring you the ultimate list of yield optimization for publishers.
We base our tips on real, time-tested, ad operations experience, and lay out the best techniques for optimizing and managing your remnant ad inventory.
Basic yield optimization for beginners
1) Build a site layout that’s in season
Consider some site redesign depending on the celebration or season. If it’s St. Patrick’s Day, why not change the theme to green or something related? When the site is fun, and in season, user engagement is likely to improve.
Also, check out metrics that relate to your user-experience (i.e., bounce rates, top exit pages, average time on site). Keeping users engaged is key to monetization.
2) Master acronyms & numbers
CPM, RPM, CPC, CTR – do your assignment and master your key performance indicators. Check out our AsOps Q&A: Understanding CPC and CPM Pricing.
3) Text ads – complement, blend, contrast
Experiment with text ads by doing some tweaks with different colors. Some color combinations perform better than others. It depends on the site and the only way to see which one works perfectly for you is to test!
4) Use the best performing ad sizes
For desktop, the ad sizes proven to be most effective are 728×90, 300×250, 336×280, and 160×600. Placement and targeting are key.
When you find the perfect blend of sizes and their placements, you’re on the right track!
Read: Best Adsense Placements
5) Stay compliant with AdSense policies
If you want to stay in business, comply with AdSense policies and rules.
Check out our fun meme: 10 Most Common Adsense Violations.
Advanced publisher yield management and optimization
6) Use an ad server
An ad server is extremely necessary, especially for high-level ad optimization. It allows you to set bidding priorities, day & time for the ads to serve, geographical locations and devices to target, etc.
It’s also the main tool for Ad Exchange to compete with other 3rd party ad networks. Also, remember that more competition means higher CPMs.
7) Ad targeting
Plan out how you will target your ad inventory. You can have tiers (e.g. geographical locations, devices). In most cases, Tier 1 geographic locations tend to perform better than the rest of the world.
This means optimization is more granular, enabling you to rank the bids accordingly.
8) Implement geo-targeting & frequency capping
It pays to ask your ad representative what their top-performing geographical locations are and target those accordingly. If their reporting interface cannot generate a report accordingly with just a single tag, be sure to request a separate tag based on your targeting.
You might want to try Tier 1 vs Rest of the world.
Frequency capping is used particularly for ad networks that cannot fill at 100%. This is to limit the number of times they can bid on the site and minimize passbacks. This is optional though.
9) Choose the bigger counterpart over the small ones
Do you want to run multiple ad sizes on your ATF (above the fold) placement? If you have a 728×90/468×60 ad unit, just stick to 728×90 and ditch 468×60, unless you have a good-paying advertiser willing to buy it.
Advertisers usually pay higher CPMs for bigger ad sizes. The same is true with mobile wherein 300×250 is far better than 320×50.
10) Try non-standard ads
You cannot only rely on standard ads alone. An extra revenue stream is always a big help. Try out anchors, sliders, interstitials, popunders.
That’s not saying you should run all of them! Choose the format that you think would fit your site perfectly while keeping user experience in mind.
11) Leverage CPM floors
Play with CPM floors. It allows you to set the minimum amount acceptable to you and filter out low paying ads.
12) Have a strong passback waterfall & avoid an infinite loop
The main challenge here is finding a good ad network to use – minimal discrepancy, good CPMs, decent fill rate. The key is to test and see. One very crucial thing to remember: avoid an infinite loop.
This means, passing the impression back to the same ad network in the chain. A very lengthy waterfall is not recommended as it results in lost impressions.
We would recommend a maximum of 3 ad networks in the chain, and all terminate in a 100% fill ad network. It’s easier to track and monitor.
13) Implement Header Bidding
Header Bidding is tested and proven to increase yield by up to 35%. With Header Bidding, you do have no more passbacks to monitor, plus it grants access to premium advertisers.
Ad optimization for your mobile inventory
14) Build a mobile responsive site
Aside from it being favorable to Google’s search engine, a mobile responsive website provides a better experience for users. The content is viewable, readable, clean, and sleek.
15) Treat tablet as desktop
We recommend for your layout for tablet devices be similar to desktop. This is because CPMs tend to be higher for bigger ad sizes.
16) Sign up with mobile ad networks for mobile inventory
These networks have access to bigger mobile advertisers, their campaigns are targeted specifically for mobile, and the rates are usually better.
Some examples: Google Ad Exchange, Smaato, Millennial Media, Glam Media, Optima Media.
17) Try 300×250 BTF on mobile
The tendency for mobile users is to scroll down to read your site’s content. This is why in most cases (not all), below the fold ad placements tend to attract engagement.
18) Try mobile in-banner video
Video ads tend to pay more than display. But in order not to compromise page load times, decide on the maximum number of video ads you want to run and target them accordingly via an ad server/DFP.
We trust you’ve enjoyed our Ultimate List of ad Yield Optimization & Management techniques for Publishers. Want access to even more powerful yield optimization techniques? MonetizeMore can help take your ad revenue to the next level with a wide range of advanced ad optimization techniques, header bidding, and proprietary AdTech. Sign up for a Starter account at MonetizeMore today!