Online Advertising Answers: May 2021

Welcome to the May edition of Online Advertising Answers, where I share some of my answers to my favourite of your digital marketing questions.

This month I outline some top social media advertising tactics for Dane, reverse engineer CPM for Roksana, and tell Yusuf how many page views he’d need per month to live off ads on his site (spoiler it’s a lot).


[Want to ask a question? Head on over to my profile on Quora and ask away or email me at]

This month’s questions are:

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Online Advertising Answers



Q: #12excludeGlossary


A: #14excludeGlossary method, but that requires a lot of setup – 6 very different but generic images, and 10 different sets of copy.

How it works is that you simply target a geographic area with your lead gen ads, but nothing else (and use campaign budget optimisation). You then make an ad set with 6 ads in it – one with each of the different images but all with the exact same ad copy. Then copy that ad set, and in the second ad set, change the copy for every ad to your second set of copy. Repeat until you have 10 ad sets.

The point of this is to just lean into the fact that Facebook’s algorithm is pretty amazing at finding people, and so each ad set will find its own best copy & image combo for a specific set of people.

The key here is to make the text and images all very different in style. So have an illustrated image of people working out, a young woman exercising easily, an old man struggling, etc – whatever is appropriate but quite varied. And with the text have one long copy, one short copy, one with emojis, one which emphasises health benefits, one which emphasises value for money etc.

The great thing here is that once it’s set up you don’t have to do a lot. You do lose out on seeing which interest groups worked best, but you can learn a lot about what sort of ads work best. If you are running your lead forms directly on Facebook (which you should) it really works amazingly well.


The Inverse Unicorn

Another tactic is the weirdly named #15excludeGlossary which Larry Kim came up with. Choose a niche (for example Star Trek) and then combine it with your niche – so in this example, images of people from Star Trek working out, or memes about people from star trek working out, or whatever.

Then target people who like both Star Trek AND Health and Fitness and you’ll get comparatively amazing results. I don’t like this so much because there is always the potential of backlash from niche communities and you need some knowledge of them to make the tactic work well.

Also, by its very nature, you are creating a smaller pool for yourself to fish from. However, it is repeatable and if you find a community that really likes what you’re selling then you’ll have also done some amazingly useful branding work that you can leverage again and again.


Prospecting and Retargeting

The third is the classic prospecting and retargeting tactic. Run a broad brand ad, then retarget people who interact.

Facebook used to say you should run a 30 second really broad ad and retarget people who watched 50%+ with another 10s video that is more specific to your brand and then retarget the people who watch 100% of that!

If you have a big budget then you would get some #16excludeGlossary leads from that I’m sure, but if you’re looking for 15,000 cold leads from social in a month, maybe just one stage of prospecting and retargeting would be better.

Does this help?





Q: #20excludeGlossary


A: #22excludeGlossary


[This originally appeared on Quora]





Q: “Is ad revenue a viable source of income?”


A: “Hi Yusuf,

Ad Revenue from a website can be a viable source of income…. but probably not right away. You’ll need to build a large website before you start being able to live off of ad revenue alone.


How much can I make?

Google AdSense is one of the most popular starting ad networks out there. On average Google AdSense pays out a $10 RPM. That means you get $10 per 1,000 page views on your website.

While this amount can vary greatly depending on where your site is based, what it is about, and how well it is made, this is a reasonable benchmark to start calculating your potential revenue with.


Page RPM Equation

[If you want to see how much your site could earn from AdSense, use this handy calculator]


Could I live off Google AdSense?

The average salary in the US is currently about $59,000. To earn this with AdSense you would need 5,900,000 page views per year. That’s 5.9 million page views per year or 491,667 page views per month (or 16,164 per day).

Around 500,000 page views per month is a lot for most sites and an absolutely ridiculous amount for new websites. And it gets even worse I’m afraid.

Taking into account ad blockers and discrepancies you could, in fact, need up to 30% more page views to hit this revenue level – meaning more like 640,000 page views per month.


Don’t panic – this is a worst-case scenario

This 500,000 page views per month target is taking the average RPM from a starter ad network and using it to try and earn the average wage in the richest country in the world. If you own a website, this is not what you should do.

If you have a large site (say 100k page views per month +) you could get a much better Ad Network than AdSense, and therefore improve your revenue significantly. A better ad network would not only sell ads on your site for more money, but they would also sell sponsorship deals for sections of your site and other bespoke deals.

These odd types of advertising (like renting out the background of your site) generally earn a lot more revenue than normal display ads. You would still be earning money from your display ads too but could expect $1–$5K more revenue per month for these deals – which could easily put you over $59k per year.

On top of that larger websites can earn money in a variety of other ways such as selling goods, courses, events etc. Advertising is generally supplementary income, and if you have a large website then you should be using its popularity to earn money in many ways.


What about small/new websites?

Even starting out if you have a good site in a good niche and a good location, you could earn double the $10 RPM mentioned above easily.

Also if your site features a lot of videos, then video advertising can earn you a far higher RPM too. For videos about $15 RPM is average, however, this is on top of your ‘normal’ ad revenue – so a page with a video on it would earn both sets of revenue.

Even with the best RPMs however, a small or new site will struggle to provide a full income for anyone. When your site is small/new you should focus almost all of your effort on growing it.

More page views=more money pretty much regardless of your business model, so work on popularity first and worry about income later.

I hope this helps,



[This originally appeared on Quora]



See you next month,