Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Choosing an Ad Network for your website

With so many ad networks how does one choose the right one? With companies like Doubleclick, Gorilla Nation, Burst Media, Blue Lithium, 24x7 real media, adBrite, Tribal Fusion and even Google, there are so many to choose from.

The biggest thing to look for is their requirements. Nothing says “shady” like an adnetwork that will allow anyone to be part of it. These ad networks will commonly show the annoying and flashy smiley faced ads that we all love so much. They also pay out very low CPM’s because of this. Sometimes you may only make 5 cents per thousand impressions. No wonder the sites that use this are usually loaded with ads and crappy looking because of it.

Most of the reputable ones have traffic requirements and even privacy statement requirements that are reviewed by an actual person. This is usually a good sign, anytime I have signed up for a service and been automatically enrolled and ready to place my ads I have been disappointed. However, I have signed up for a couple that were almost painful to become a partner on and they have been the best ones.

One thing to find out before signing up is what the ad network gives you control over. Do they have an area where you can update your information, set up your default campaigns and reject ad’s that don’t fit your site? Most of them I have found do all of this but I have run into a couple that required me to go through my ad rep to make any changes and this is a hassle.

Below is a summary of some of the better networks I have come across.

Burst Media – good control over your ads and campaigns. Decent CPM’s but lower inventory fulfillment. (you may only have 15% of your ads filled by them)

Tribal Fusion – Great interface for the partner area, offers good control of your information and helps you put your site in front of potential ad buyers. Decent CPM rates.

Doubleclick and Gorilla Nation – Higher impression requirements limit smaller sites, but good selection of types of ads.

Google – Adsense is a great 3rd tier backup for other ad networks. I wouldn’t recommend putting them as your primary ad network but they do have decent payouts and a good interface to control your ads.

The best thing you can do is experiment. Try them out for a couple of weeks and if they don’t work out discontinue them. Most of them do not bind you to a contract that wouldn’t allow you to do this.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Making money from your website’s traffic

So you have a website and you want to make money off your traffic? Anyone who has tried this realizes this is easier said than done. It is not because it is inherently hard to make money from ad revenues; it is that some ad networks make it harder than it needs to be. Here is an overview of each way you can display ads on your site.

Generally there are 3 types of advertisements you can serve up on your website. Cost Per Thousand (CPM) impressions, Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Action (CPA). Depending on your site and content you will have to experiment to find out what is best for you. But generally a mix is usually the best.

CPM rates vary by every ad network and website. Some ad networks will pay as little as .10 cents per thousand impressions and others as high as $30.00. In my experience anything in the $1 – 2 dollar range is good for an ad network. If you sell your own ads directly you may get between $5 - $30. I have seen rates higher but don’t know if they are successful in selling all their available ad space.

CPC rates are all over the board and generally is determined by the industry and competition of that ad. Take Google Adwords as an example. They do most of their ad serving as CPC. Some keywords like “Sound Effects” have little competition and demand so you may only get 10 cents a click if your website has that advertisement appearing on your site. However if you have a keyword like "Contact Manager" the market is saturated and you could make $5 dollars on one click.

CPA is the least common method of ad serving. This requires that not only a user clicks on the advertisement but also takes some required action on the website. For instance, Fire Fox offers a CPA program so that if a person clicks on the Fire Fox advertisement and downloads the browser the website makes $1.00. Other common CPA ads revolve around the user taking surveys or signing up to a website.

You can make substantial amounts of money off of your website traffic but in order to do so you must choose your ad network(s) wisely and even have numerous ad networks to capitalize on all your traffic.