A website is measured by the quality of its contents, traffic and visitors.
The contents of your website is the core of all activities. It attracts both visitors and potential advertisers. The definition of content differs from one website to another and from one industry/category to another. It could be articles, songs, games, forum posts, photos, etc. It is your primary product so be sure to dedicate your effort and attention to continuously improve and expand it. The objective is to generate more contents with high quality, relevance, usefulness to attract more visitors and advertisers.
First, the more visitors you have, the more attractive your website is to a potential advertiser. Second, the higher traffic you have, the more money you will earn from your advertisers. The most basic traffic information you must know is the total number of monthly page-views and visitors. One ad view is counted as one impression. If a page contains 4 ads, there will be 4 ad impressions per page-view. You need to understand that web traffic is not equal in quality. Some is more desirable than other. For a local advertiser, visitors from a foreign country maybe irrelevant. Moreover, many locations and countries are known to generate fraudulent and inflated clicks so advertisers will want to target their ads to certain areas only.
How much do you know about your visitors (age, sex, locations, interests)? If you have a large audience base with similar interests, you will have a better chance to find advertisers with relevant products and higher ad rates. When advertisers know exactly whom they are promoting their services and products to, they are more likely to commit to a higher ad rate, a longer display time or a larger advertising contract.
These are some of the most popular ways to charge for your advertising space:
1. CPA (Cost Per Action, Cost Per Acquisition, Cost Per Lead, Cost Per Purchase)
The advertiser is charged every time a visitor makes a transaction or purchases a product. These conversions are reported to the advertiser. Publishers can either set a price for each conversion or let the advertisers choose their price. Advertisers like this model since it offers the highest quality and return on investment. Advertisers often control the pricing with this model. For example, a lead to book a cruise can be worth $50 or more. It means the advertiser will pay you $50 when a visitor successfully calls/asks about a cruise when looking/clicking on their cruise ad from your website.
2. CPC (Cost per Click)
The advertiser is charged for each click on their ads. Clicks are priced from as low as $0.01 to more than $10 per click. Either publisher or advertiser can set the price. However, one of the concerns for advertisers with this model is click frauds. In this scheme, click counters are inflated artificially to drive up the advertising cost. Publishers should use an ad server with click-fraud prevention technology to offer protection for your advertisers.
3. CPM (Cost Per Mille, i.e. Cost Per Thousand Impressions)
The advertiser is charged per thousand impressions. It is one of the more popular model among medium-to-large publishers. Advertisers do not have to worry about inflated clicks as in the CPC model. At a $5 CPM, 10000 visitors a month with an average of 5 ad views each will earn $250. CPM is a very viable model when a publisher has more than 500,000 impressions per month. For smaller advertisers, number of available impressions can be low because of different targeting criteria, including frequency capping, geographical targeting to prevent exceeding advertising budget and yet maintain a high quality traffic. The downside with the CPM model is there is no consideration for clicks, conversions and ultimately purchases.
4. Flat Rate
The advertiser pays a fixed price to display an ad for a period of time. This is popular among smaller publishers and advertisers because it is the simplest model with very predictable earning/expense. Publishers present their website metrics (page views, audience reports, CTRs) to the advertisers and name their advertising rates. Advertisers consider the pros and cons and make a decision to purchase an ad space for a period of time, often one calendar month at a time. Rates depend on the expected traffic, ad placement location, ad dimension/size, and length of contract. Since the earning is known ahead of time, publishers can focus on other areas of their website. This model allows both publishers and advertisers to budget their costs and predict their profits.
5. Hybrid or Combination of Multiple Models
With advanced ad servers like AdSpeed Ad Server, you can combine multiple pricing models to work for both you and your advertisers. For instance, $1000 per month plus $1 per click is a combined model of Flat and CPC. It means the publisher will have some guaranteed income (Flat) while earning extras on the clicks (CPC). The advertiser can enjoy discounts on the flat rate while providing incentives for performance.