The prediction engine was expanded to support a broader range of potential websites, addressing differences in traffic quality and ad network levels. Want to build a top-tier website, optimized via machine learning, and serenade your visitors with premium ads? You're covered. Want to pull cheap click bait traffic off Facebook onto a non-brand safe meme site and spam them with low end ads? You're covered too. There are many ways to win in this game.
We're quoting a page level total ad rate vs. pricing for individual banners. Performance varies widely between advertising slots based on visibility, click rates, and advertiser preferences. This approach works because there are diminishing returns to putting more ads on a page: reader attention is finite and you begin to run out of high quality buyers in the advertising auction.
That being said, the default settings in the model based on successful blogs covering non-commercial topics. We assumed an audience of 50,000 visits per month, assumed each visitor would read about 2.5 pages of content, and estimated advertising revenue would be $4 per thousand pageviews. This will generate $500 per month in advertising revenue. In the event you wanted to sell this site on Flippa or to a private buyer, fair market value would be around 2 - 3 years of revenue - between $12,000 and $18,000.
The advertising market has evolved significantly over the past few years, to the point where the topic of your website is no longer the most significant predictor of earnings potential. Visitor tracking has evolved to the point where it is often more profitable to target ads based on past browsing history than the content of the current site. This practice is known as retargeting. So our prediction of your website's advertising income starts by looking at the overall quality and level of competition occuring inside your advertising auction. This is a function of the advertising networks that you give access to your ad inventory. We can slice these into some simple tiers - higher is generally better.
Compliance Note: We tried to include options for every layer of the market; ad network quality and approval standards vary, as noted. Some links are affiliate links. As with any new advertising provider, be sure to test to validate their program works for your traffic.
Ad Exchange / Premium Inventory: The big boy table when it comes to buying and selling display advertising; has a high level of competition and pays the best rates. Large brands use this market to execute high dollar buys of premium inventory on sites they are confident are brand-safe and deliver a good viewer experience. Generally requires high volume (20MM+ pageviews / month) to get an invitation. Smaller websites can get access through platforms such as Ezoic ( link to their site), which provides a simplified version of Ad Exchange.
Major Display Networks: Google AdSense is the market leader in this space, providing brands and merchants with an affordable way to run quality advertising on smaller websites. If you can get approved for AdSense, use them. Google AdSense has strong set of standards around website content and advertising placement; not every site or page meets these critera. You can often boost your revenue by running other major display networks: here are a few well regarded options:
Other Display Networks: Brand advertiser interest tends to drop off relatively quickly once you move away from the advertising exchanges and major ad networks. The advertising will shift to what is known as "direct response advertising" - more addressive formats intended to push a customer through to a sale. These ads usually pay less - but have looser standards on where they can be placed, opening up this demand to a larger set of websites. A few options to check out:
Commercial intent still does matter: websites which can be easily linked to an obvious purchase remain more attractive to a certain set of advertisers. We rated this in three tiers.
Visitor Geography and device type matters. The highest rates are paid for US and Northern European traffic and having a high share of visitors in this space will boost your revenue. Traffic from other countries earns lower ad rates. The same applies to mobile headsets. Desktop and Tablet traffic tends to convert better and is more established with brands, thus it generally commands higher rates. The calculator discounts the prediction for sites with a very high volume of mobile traffic.
Incidently, this may translate into a opportunity for those willing to experiment with affiliate offers and finding / building local sources of advertising demand. These markets aren't very efficient right now. We're long term bullish on ad rates for emerging nations: competition for this ads rates should continue to pick up as their populations move online (including mobile) and local advertisers continue to digitize.
Getting the right ad networks involved is just the start. There is a substantial upside from optimizing your advertising program - both in terms of ad placements / page layouts and taking control of the actual offer. We've done multiple rounds of ad optimization on our sites and generally see a 50%+ lift in ad revenue within a few weeks. Affiliate offers can be even more rewarding, when you get them right, and can often be executed alongside your regular display advertising inventory for incremental revenue.
Advertising Optimization: How aggressively you optimize the advertising on your site has a big impact on your results - lifts of 50% to 150% are common. At a minimum, test different ad sizes, ad networks, and page layouts to see what works best. There are also services that can automate this testing process for you. Here's an overview of some best practices here.
Run Offers: If you can identify an obvious offer that would appeal to your audience, such as selling merchandise on a movie fan site, it is well worth looking into affiliate marketing. This is where you work with a merchant to steer customers to their site in exchange for a share of the revenue or a fixed amount per lead (aka cost-per-action offers). We took a deep look at this in our guide on how to increase website revenue.
One of the fastest ways to increase your advertising revenue is to adjust your content and internal linking structure to grow your pageviews. Give people a good reason to stay on your site and you will have more pageviews, more ads, and more clicks / revenue. We adjust our expectations up / down for the following content types:
Ah, you say, we will just get more people on the site. Easy enough to build revenue that way! This is... not always so easy... First, the types of traffic generated often has an effect on the revenue potential. Certain types of traffic have higher intent / interest, which translates into longer browsing sessions and higher advertising revenue. A good ranking of revenue potential:
We are always interested in hearing about hard data on advertising performance statistics, particularly for new ad formats and traffic types. Feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com with any questions or comments.