Back when I got started with my first blog, I relied 100% on ad networks. I had given up my Pepsi truck driving gig and had no idea about getting traffic or affiliate products, so I did what anyone with a site does…
I posted ads all over the place!
Mind you, I only had about 2 people a day coming to my site, so I surely didn’t make too much money… But the few bucks a day added up to my very first check from Google!
That was a big day. In fact, I still have a picture of it… Check out that date! 2006!
Since then, the internet and blogging has grown up a lot. Rather than a few ad networks that’ll pay you on a CPM or CPC basis, there are hundreds of good ones…
That makes our job of wading through the mess a little more intense, but don’t worry. In this post, we’re going to cover how to make money from your website, without affiliate products and without selling your own stuff!
We’re also going to trudge through a bit of the ‘process’ associated with displaying ads on your site, so you know how you’re going to get paid by these networks…
What Are Ad Networks?
For all intents and purposes, ad networks are the collective watering holes of Internet commerce… Inside an ad network, you’ll have an advertiser and a publisher.
Now, take everything you know about advertising – and flip it.
When you’re a ‘publisher,’ you’re offering space on your website or your blog that advertisers can put their ads on! That means, there will be ads showing up in your sidebars and below your blog posts about other people’s products. Some of them might be affiliate products. Some of them might be retargeted ads. Others, might be ads for digital products or physical products.
We don’t care what’s being advertised…
Why? Because we get paid in one of two ways… CPM or CPC.
CPM vs. CPC
Two terms you’ve no doubt heard a lot is CPM and CPC.
- CPM - Cost Per Thousand Impressions
- CPC - Cost Per Click
Usually, you get paid one of two ways… Whenever someone clicks and ad on your website OR whenever someone views an ad.
Nothing needs to be sold. You don’t make a commission or anything like that. Very simply, you get paid by a click or a view.
Different ad networks have different parameters, and some even pay out when either event happens…
Which brings me to my next point – how much traffic do you need?
Unique Visitors Are Crucial
The best ad networks are the ones who cater to big traffic websites… Think 500,000 or more visitors a month. Some may argue that if you’re getting that much traffic, generating revenue shouldn’t be a problem. I agree.
There are a handful of website owners out there though who actually buy traffic for 9 cents and then make 15 cents on all the ads that are viewed.
That, my friends, is called Click Arbitrage.
You pull someone into your website, have them go through a slideshow (where they have to click next) showing them pictures of “36 Dirty Jokes You Forgot As A Kid,” and make a small fortune.
Don’t laugh, I actually just went through this process because we’re adding a Slideshow Module to Curately!
If you’re just getting started though, or only have a few hundred or thousands visitors a month – that’s still cool. There are plenty of ad networks you can plug into. Sometimes, the networks that accept anyone don’t have the best offers or deliver the best experience for your readers…
It’s up to you who you want to work with!
Now, I know you’re asking yourself the question, what’s better? Selling affiliate products or my own products OR simply posting content only and showing display ads?
What’s Better – Selling Or Showing?
Now that you know about ad networks, how you’ll be getting paid, click arbitrage and the types of traffic that some of the networks expect, we get into the heart of the matter.
Should you be plugging in banner ads, or not?
The truth is, running banner ads and basically giving your traffic and your impressions away has a cost to it… Sure, you’ll get a check from the ad network but is it worth it?
If you have a product or a service that you’ve created and you’re selling on your site, then probably not. Using that ad space that you would have tied up with an ad network is probably better served in promoting your own stuff!
However, if you’re an affiliate marketer (selling other people’s products) or you currently don’t have any revenue model set up, ad networks are a great resource for you.
Generally, you’ll make far MORE money selling your own stuff, but there are a lot of things that come into play. You have to concern yourself with sales copy, webinars, merchant processing, email autoresponder copy, and hundreds of other things.
Sometimes, it’s just easier setting aside a portion of your website for banner ads!
Choosing The Right Ad Network
Choosing the right ad network is largely a matter of personal preference. When you’re getting started and don’t have a plethora of traffic to offer, you’ll find that the networks are a little cumbersome.
You have to balance what you’re going for with your brand and what you give up in allowing ad networks to post ads that you don’t directly control.
I’ve worked with a ton of networks across the hundreds of websites that I’ve owned and countless clients that I’ve worked with. Some are great. Some, not so much.
Theres a trick to ads, especially when you aren’t trying to build a brand, that works every time. I refer to it as Impression Stacking.
Basically, what that is is where you post ad groups from different ad networks, so that you’re stacking payouts from each of the networks.
When you get one new visitor, you’re getting credit for that visitor from 4 or 5 different ad networks! If you were wondering how the Click Arbitrage guys are doing it – that’s how!
For each page a visitor hits, the ads reload and they get another impression in each network!
It’s a simple, genius model that lets you stack up some considerable payouts. A warning though – not all ad networks work together! Google doesn’t play well with others…
Here Today. Gone Tomorrow!
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of ad networks come and go. In fact, one of my FAVORITE back in the day was Text Link Ads. They were bought up by an SEO company, but at one point they were paying me $1200 a month for a small block of text ads in my sidebar.
When you get started with your blog, that’s big money for simply letting a company sell a few links on your sidebar!
My point is this: ad networks come and go so it’s always important to keep your eye out and test diligently. Try out new networks and if you get better payouts, make the switch permanent! It’s nothing personal.
So now, let’s talk about 7 of my favorite ad networks – ones that I’ve used – that have withstood the test of time and grown through the years.
7 Ad Networks You Should Be Using
Most of these networks have been around for a long time and they require next to no traffic to get started.
Also, they offer extremely competitive payouts and they’ve got technology that makes including them in your site less of a pain, both from the implementation standpoint and the ‘what ads are you going to be showing my people’ standpoint.
Owned by Google, Doubleclick is by far the largest advertising network. It has access to the world’s biggest pool of advertisers that pay the highest CPMs.
It’s the premium version of AdSense, but this isn’t one of those dinky little upgrades. Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace that works perfectly with Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers.
It’s a platform interconnecting advertisers, publishers, and networks that provides more flexibility for publishers to set the rates at which they want their inventory sold. If it can’t be sold at the premium price you set, it will be auctioned off in the Exchange, and the highest paying ad will be served. Google Ad Exchange has 80% publisher revenue share.
Adsense is by far the most well-known network, and most agree that their ads tend to perform the best but work better on sites relating to certain niches. In the future, maybe we’ll post an article on the top paying Adsense niches…
You can choose from all different types of sizes, text or display ads, and you are able to customize your own ads (colors, font, etc.) to a point. They pay once a month via direct deposit or mailed check, and every month you have to have earned at least $100 to qualify for a payment.
3: Buy Sell Ads
I like Buy Sell Ads for a lot of reasons – one of the biggest being that I remember when they started and I’ve watched them grow. I was one of their very early entrants with a few of my sites when they were just getting started.
When they started, their premise was that they made it easy to sell banner ads on your site while they took only a small portion of the proceeds. Now, they’re working with both huge and small publishers and advertisers alike.
They pay right to Paypal, and are as dependable as the day is long…
Media.net is the ad network powered by Yahoo! and Bing. Their ads look different because they’re just these little colored keyword blocks. Media.net works to ensure that the keyword blocks blend well with your site — they will often use the same color scheme. These ads complement Adsense ads very well mainly because they do look very different from them. Media.net pays monthly with Paypal, but like Adsense you have to have met that $100 minimum in a month’s time to get a payment.
AdThrive displays family-friendly ads, plus they set up DFP (Double Click For Publishers) on their ads once they’re installed on your blog. These are display ads, and once you sign up, they will analyze your site and tell you where they think their ads will perform best. Then, they go in and do all the set up for you. AdThrive pays monthly with direct deposit.
An AOL platform, Advertising.com offers you CPM as well as revenue share ads. Its rates for CPM ads are pretty impressive, but if your website has a high CTR, then its RevShare ads can be the ideal way to monetize your blog and rake in a lot of money as well.
The platform represents a whopping 92 of the top 100 Ad Age listed advertisers. Getting approved is a little tough as AOL only accepts websites which have a monthly traffic of 500,000 or more.
You can start getting paid as soon as you have earned $25, and payments can be withdrawn through PayPal, cheque or even wire transfer.
Criteo has quickly gained traction and become a top earner for website owners and bloggers. With over 740 billion ads served in 2014 alone and an impressive 7800+ advertisers across the globe, Criteo is placed perfectly to offer website owners ads with high CPM and great conversions. Plus, they’re placing a huge emphasis on machine learning and mobile…
Criteo sees an astonishing 96% renewal of service agreements by advertisers due to its ability to generate greater revenue for its clients. This effectively translates into more earnings for publishers who get regularly benefit from greater revenues than what the competitors are offering.
RadiumOne pioneered social media as an advertising tool and is a highly popular CPM ad platform which you can use to monetize a wide range of content. It works with texts, images as well as video content and is optimized to target desktop as well as mobile users.
Payments are made every second week, and you must earn $100 to be eligible for a payout. Once you start generating revenue through RadiumOne, you can request payment either through, PayPal, wire transfer, or through a check addressed to your name.
Technorati (just acquired by Synacor) is preferred by professional bloggers and has a vast network of ad publishers who use the platform. It also happens to be the largest social media ad network in the world and is perfect for websites which get a lot of traction on social networks.
They are a reputed ad platform and offer highly targeted ads which are also great for increasing clickthrough rates.
When you serve ads through Technorati, you need to maintain exclusivity, which may be a deal-breaker for some. If you get a lot of visitors, but AdSense isn’t working for you, then Technorati can be the perfect alternative.
AdBlade lets you publish ads on your website for paid content for some of the top brands out there. The niche of the product makes it a lucrative market to tap into, and you get a high CPM rate for your efforts. AdBlade also caters to the needs of a number of verticals, so finding ads which your audience will like and therefore click on, is easier.
With AdBlade, your website should generate a minimum of 500,000 visitors per month to be accepted, which most definitely will be too exclusive if you’re just starting out… For those who do qualify, they will be displaying ads to websites like Fox News, and Yahoo! and getting paid very well for it.
Payments get credited to your PayPal after 30 days if they are over $100, and you can run AdBlade ads alongside AdSense without any problems.
Your Next Step…
If content marketing and blogging is important to you, but you just don’t have time to sit down, do the research, and write blog posts from scratch…
There is a better way. Click here to watch the video.