Welcome to the January edition of Online Advertising Answers! For the first OAA of the year I’m going all mathematical by explaining discrepancies, a fundamental mathematical relationship, and optimising AdSense earnings. Hopefully, each of these answers will simplify a complicated question that has been swirling around in your head.
[Where do these questions come from? You of course – to get your question answered (and possibly featured here) find me on Quora, and ask away.]
Here we go…
This month’s questions are:
- How can I maximize earnings per 1,000 views?
- What is the mathematical relation between CPM and CPC?
- Why are page views in my Statcounter & Google AdSense accounts different?
[Click these links to skip down to the question]
Q: “How can I maximize earnings per 1,000 views?”
A: “To maximize your earnings per 1,000 views, you’ll have to do a lot of things all at once – the main one being having a reasonably successful site.
Small websites find it harder to get good deals on any service or product and sell goods at any real volume. This means you have to at least get to medium size (25,000 page views per month or more) to get any real revenue coming in.
If you have to spend a lot of time to earn a little bit of money, your return on investment (ROI) gets lower and lower making it basically not worthwhile. So trying to earn money off affiliate programs (for example) with a small site may actually be a worse idea that simply getting a minimum wage job.
To put it another way – you are asking about revenue per 1,000 views (or RPM), which means the more views you have, the more revenue you earn. And the more revenue you earn, the more money you have to invest in your website to grow – and the more your website grows, the more revenue you will earn!
Growing your site to maximise your earnings
So the first and most important thing is to grow your site. How do you do that?
You start by creating great content for whatever your site is about. While you are doing that, start all the free marketing activities that are vital to any online business:
- Growing an email marketing list – it can take a while to get a big list of subscribers, so you should definitely start this as soon as possible. Email is still one of the best forms of marketing, so don’t neglect this.
- Growing a social media fan base – again, getting a lot of followers can take some time, so start this process early. Having anything less than 10,000 followers will get you almost no returns so don’t get put off by lack of results here. Slow and steady wins the race with social media.
- Blogging – this is the simplest form of content marketing, and is a great way to optimise your site for SEO, practise your sales pitch, and build up a loyal following. It’s never too late to start blogging.
- SEO – making sure your site is optimised for search is vital. It means making sure everything you write and create can, and will be found by search engines, who are the biggest driver of traffic to websites in general. Again, results from SEO can take a while to show themselves, so it’s best to get started on the right track from the beginning and get into good habits with basic SEO practises.
All of these things, on top of simply growing and improving your website, can take up a lot of time. If your website is small, then it doesn’t have a lot of earning potential anyway, so jumping into Affiliate marketing (aka CPA) or any other time-consuming scheme is counterproductive.
This is why the best and easiest way to get started earning is with Google AdSense – it’s incredibly easy to set up, and you can make about $10 RPM from it.
Making money from AdSense
This initial $10 RPM you can earn from AdSense alone is a great start on your $15-$20 RPM goal. This is especially true because you can set these ad slots up on your site, then focus all your attention on growing your traffic.
It’s easy money while you are getting started. Some sites will actually earn $15-$20 through AdSense alone too.
[If you want to see how much money your site can earn through AdSense, use this helpful calculator.]
Note: The amount each site earns from AdSense varies greatly. From experience smaller sites earn a lower RPM too – this is because they don’t deliver enough ads for Google to optimise properly. This means small sites get the dregs while the bigger sites get the best advertisers.
On top of that, the country you are in, and the subject of your website makes a HUGE difference in how much you earn.
Making as much money as possible from AdSense
HOWEVER, there are things that any website can do to earn more money from AdSense (or any ads on their site).
1. Choose the top three performing ads
These are a 728×90, 300×600, and the best of all the 300×250. There are other ads out there, and for mobile-only the 300×250 remains top tier out of these three. However, for most sites using these three ad sizes will make you the most money.
Every site is different though, and there are a lot of ad sizes out there – if you want to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of each one, check out this guide: The Ad Size Guide.
2. Put your ads above the fold
This means make sure that at least 50% of all your ads are seen on screen the moment a webpage loads.
Ads which are above the fold perform a lot better than ones below the fold. Better performance means you can expect a higher RPM.
3. Don’t put too many ads on your site
This is the most common thing that small sites do wrong – in the quest for more money they put more ads on their site. This actually tends to drive users away, which is, of course, counter-productive.
Think of it this way – people are likely to only click on one ad MAXIMUM per page – so more ads on a page are just most chances for people to not click on them. And if those ads slow down your page too much, then people will just leave.
When you’re bigger – branch out
Once you’ve got all the basics down, and your site is over 25,000 page views per month, then you should start experimenting with more complex money-making schemes.
- Try out using other ad networks instead of AdSense (always keep AdSense alive as your backup though).
- Your blog (which you’ve been growing all this time) could start accepting sponsored posts, or do paid reviews (always disclose you are being paid though or you might get in trouble).
- You could start going heavily into affiliate marketing, as you should have a user base interested enough in you to trust you by now.
- You could sell sponsorships of different sections of your site, or of your email newsletter (which you’ve been growing all this time).
- You could sell products directly, as again now your site is large enough, you might actually be able to get a good ROI.
All of these will help you build on the $10 per 1,000 views you should already be getting from AdSense – and should easily help you get to $20 RPM.
The opportunities are endless…once your site is big enough anyway.
I hope this helps.
Q: “What is the mathematical relation between CPM and CPC?”
A: “Hi Normand,
The mathematical relation between CPM and CPC is only really useful for one thing – to know if you could get a better deal by switching to a CPM campaign. The equation is as follows:
CPM = CPC x CTR x10
In the above, I am using CTR as a percentage rather than a decimal (as that is how it is commonly expressed.
As the equation says – if you can pay a CPM which is less than your CPC multiplied by your CTR multiplied by 10 then it is likely that that CPM will provide you with better results (or that it is at least worth a test).
In reality, it should be noted that if you are running a CPC campaign then it is likely your campaign is being optimised for clicks, and so the CTR is higher than it would otherwise be. If you can ensure that it will continue to be optimised for clicks then switching might work out.
It should also be noted that you should really be running a conversion-based campaign. Clicks only have value in a limited number of situations. If you are running a CPC campaign though, it’s worth taking a look at the above to see if you can save yourself some money.
I hope this helps,
Q: “Why are page views in my Statcounter & Google AdSense accounts different?”
A: “Hi Paresh,
It’s one of the oddities of digital marketing that you will always get different stats from any two analytics platforms. This happens even when they come from the same company (for example if you were counting page views in Google Analytics and Google AdSense). This is because small differences in the way they count create big discrepancies over time.
For example, if the code for your Statcounter was put at the bottom of the HTML of a page, and the code for your AdSense account was placed at the top, the small difference in the time it takes for your page to fully load would mean that many people weren’t counted by your Statcounter account.
Or else the code of your AdSense account could be blocked by an ad blocker, or cookies from one of your analytics accounts could be rejected by some users but not others. There are endless reasons why no two analytics accounts ever exactly match up.
In general, you can expect discrepancies of this type to be up to around 30%. It’s always worth double-checking your setup to make sure you’ve implemented everything correctly, but if the difference is under 30% it could simply be “one of those things”.
Here is an infographic which explains it a bit better.
I hope this helps,
Happy New Year,