When should I be selling ads on a CPC basis?
The simple answer is: if you are able to optimise campaigns.
CPC deals are very common, so you likely won’t be able to turn them down until your site is pretty large. If you are able to optimise campaigns towards CTR, or your ad server can do it automatically (and well), then there is no reason to not give it a shot.
How do I run a CPC campaign?
To run a CPC campaign effectively, you should probably make the ads as high a priority as possible, and set a 1/1 hour frequency cap on them. This is so they appear early to users on their journey through your site, and only once per visit.
You should also make sure that if you are provided multiple ads for the same ad campaign that you only ever allow one ad from the campaign to appear at any one time (it’s not like users will click on two ads from the same advertiser on the same page!).
The Cost Per Click equation is:
CPC = Cost ÷ Clicks
Optimising CPC campaigns
If your ad server doesn’t optimise ad campaigns, then you will need to optimise it yourself in order to get the best value out of CPC campaigns you can. Otherwise, they can take up all your impressions, and give you very little in return.
To optimise a CPC campaign is fairly simple – just try and improve the CTR. To do this, put more ads on any placements with a higher CTR, and fewer ads on any placement with a lower CTR.
What CPC price should I accept?
The real answer to this question is any campaign that provides an eCPM that is worthwhile to you. If you are filling blank space, this can be pretty rock bottom, but if it is competing with other ads, then see what eCPM they are getting, and don’t go below that.
Of course, to work out the eCPM of a CPC campaign you have to run it first, and that can be a risky proposition if you are displacing other ads. If this is the case, a reasonable guide would be to not accept anything below 30p (50 cents) CPC as your absolute minimum.
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