We get asked this question quite a lot, so we thought we’d delve deeper into the ways of starting for new publishers, including ad networks. Whether you have a blog, a fan site, a promotional site, or anything else, ad networks can be a key way of getting going with monetization until you progress to more extensive technologies and exchanges. However, third-party ad networks aren’t just for small publishers. Many large publishers have well-established relationships with ad networks that are mutually lucrative.
Just getting started?
Some publishers will try to add ad networks or Adsense within days or weeks of creating their site. In most cases, if the traffic is very low, it won’t be worthwhile adding ad networks as the potential returns to the ad network, or even to the publisher. However, there are ad networks that allow publishers to sign up and ‘self-service’ their account, thereby allowing them to operate with no minimum traffic requirements (i.e., there is no requirement for the publisher to be serving x users or x page views per month before they sign up).
The advantage of one of these networks at this point is that it gets you used to placing ads, determining good positions, and designing your new site around where the ad placements might be.
The catch with adding ad networks like this is page load speed. If you’re not using an ad server and instead of placing the tags of the ad networks directly on site, the page has to do a lot of work communicating with the ad networks to return ads to show. This has direct implications for user experience in terms of time spent on site and bounce rate.
As you progress in size and move to the more tailored ad network solutions, these poor metrics will count against you.
Even if you choose to run an ad server and compete for the networks against each other in the same slots, there are tradeoffs in terms of page loading but also in administration. Do you really want to spend hours every month trying to administer lots and lots of tiny payments?
Which ad networks should I run?
This is another question we get regularly, and it’s different for every site. We have a fair few recommendations for ad networks that you can see here. What works for one site won’t necessarily work for the next.
You should examine the performance of each ad network over several months. Are they providing a steady stream of ads at a CPM level you are comfortable with? Are they competing with another network well? What happens if you pause them? Does overall page RPM improve or decline? What happens to load speed?
It’s also important to mention here that different ad networks can specialize in different ad types, industries, or geographies. Consider diversifying to a new ad type or a new size, running tests on new layouts, and viewing the site as both a user and an advertiser.
At MonetizeMore, we’ve always tried to treat our publishers’ sites as a whole rather than lots of individual decisions. This holistic approach has yielded better results time and time again. The other key idea here is testing; make a change to your ad stack and see what happens over the next week or two.
Finally, don’t assume that things will always stay the same once you’ve settled on a specific number of ad networks. Things do change over time; ad networks adapt, merge, and new ones appear, so keep a continual eye on your site’s performance and investigate unexplained or sudden changes in revenue.
So is there a limit to the number of ad networks you can add?
No, but there’s a sweet spot. Don’t assume that more ad networks equates to more impressions or more revenue, and be prepared to experiment with new layouts and formats to improve your existing networks’ performance.
Testing out different ad networks, ad layouts, and optimizing ads might sound great but if you don’t have the time and skills to do it all, it can be an uphill battle. Why not let MonetizeMore do it all for you? MonetizeMore is a Google Certified Publisher Partner ready to help take your ad revenue to the next level! Sign up to get started today!