Ad pricing for website owners is a relatively simple proposition. There is a clear hierarchy in what is best for your site in theory, but in practise it entirely depends on what else you have running on the site and the eCPM. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves….
The hierarchy of ad pricing for website owners
CPD – advertisers pay to take over placements/pages on a per day basis. This sort of campaign can take some amount of setting up (as the advertisers may want something special to happen as part of the deal, such as different ads on different days), but ultimately it’s the best for publishers. Absolutely guaranteed money without requirement for any sort of performance.
CPM – advertisers pay per thousand times their ad is loaded. This is the second best for publishers as it’s guaranteed revenue. You know how much inventory you have (approximately) and you are selling it for a set price – simple (as long as you fulfil the booking).
Note: This is not the same as CPvM campaigns – in these campaigns you only get paid for viewable impressions. Depending on the set up of your site, you may have surprisingly few impressions that count as viewed, so take on this type of campaign with caution.
CPC – advertisers pay when their ad is clicked on. This is ok for publishers as it’s easy to optimise to. Try and put ads in places where they get clicked on more often. Or even simpler, just let your ad server do the heavy lifting (as most will have some sort of automatic optimising to clicks software built in).
There is the possibility that an ad campaign just won’t vibe with the users of your site, so not all campaigns will work, but CPC campaigns are still a pretty viable way of making money. As peoples’ reactions to advertising is strangely uniform, you can at least roughly predict how easy a CPC campaigns click goals will be to fulfil after a short period.
CPA – advertisers pay when their ads lead to conversions (actions or sales). Money from these sorts of campaigns is highly variable. They take a lot of work to set up properly, monitor and optimise. These campaigns can easily become a time-sucking nightmare. However like all of the subsets of this type of campaign (CPL, CPI, CPE and CPV), these campaigns can only really be judged once they are running.
Ad pricing advice for website owners
Which takes us to the main advice we at The Online Advertising Guide would give to website owners wondering whether to accept different types of advertising rate. Experiment! You won’t know what your site and staff can make profitable until you try them out. Ideally you would only have a combination of CPM and CPD campaigns on your site, however chances are you will be offered lots of other campaign types too and it would be silly to blanket reject them.
Run campaigns for test periods, try and optimise them, and then compare the eCPMs to what you can get elsewhere. Over time you will know what your site is good at and what it isn’t. It can take years to really maximise your revenue from online advertising, but as you should be growing your site during that time anyway, it is a worthwhile ongoing activity.
Note: Regardless of the advertising rate of a campaign, you should always try and optimise the campaign to do the best it can. In most cases this will improve the CTR, as it is usually a function of whatever else is happening. Not only will this possibly get you repeat business, but the better CTR you can tell new advertisers that your inventory gets, the more money you can potentially command for future campaigns.
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