How Web Publishers Can Optimize Display Based Ad Revenue

Authored By Ms Sudisha Mishra, Content Editor, AdPushup 

The importance of having multiple revenue sources cannot be overstated, however, most publishers still rely on display advertising as the primary source. Add programmatic into the mix, and the result is a bevy of opportunities for optimizing ad revenue.

Of late, driving revenue growth with display ads has been challenging. On one hand, there is a never-ending battle with ad blockers, on the other, we have new privacy regulations, the end of third-party cookies, and other seasonal disruptions. Here are some tactics publishers can employ to ensure revenue growth despite the odds:

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Embrace a Mobile-first Approach

An increasing number of users are now browsing on their smartphones as opposed to desktops. In fact, 63% of all US online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. This means that publishers should optimize for a mobile-first web environment. Banner ads that look great on desktop might not even render properly on mobile.

So how do publishers optimize for mobile? We recommend using anchor ads that stick to the bottom of the page, as these have high ad viewability. Using in-article ads is another way to optimize ads for mobile devices. If using fixed size ads, choose mobile-compatible sizes, alternative, consider using responsive ads, which adjust size automatically based on the user’s device, thus saving ops time.

Experiment with Native Advertising

Banner blindness continues to be an issue for web publishers. The logic is simple: with nearly every website running banner ads, users have adapted to subconsciously ignore them. Perhaps the best way to counter this is by experimenting with native advertising.

Native ad formats mimic the medium they appear on, thus blending with the rest of the website content. Not only do they help diversify revenue sources, users tend to prefer them too. According to research by IPG, users view native ads 53% more frequently compared to banner ads. Publishers can begin partnering with an ad network that provides native ads in their stack and see what difference it makes to their ad revenue.

 Try Outstream Video Ads

According to an IAB report, brands and marketers are increasing spend on video advertising at the rate of 25% y/y. This represents a big opportunity, one which publishers should pay attention to. Thanks to new technology, publishers can easily and seamlessly integrate video advertising on their website through outstream ads.

Outstream ads outperform in-stream in every aspect: less technical requirements, relatively less interruption to users, and the most important, no requirement of a video player. Publishers can try outstream ads by contacting their partner ad network to integrate video demand. Google Ad Manager also allows integration with outstream video ads. Some outstream video ads, such as auto-playing and audio-enabled, are considered intrusive though, so give users the choice to initiate the ad creative.

A/B Testing for Banner Ads

We’ve saved the best for the last, as A/B testing consistently outperforms all other revenue optimization strategies for display. Publishers can use A/B testing to understand which ad placements perform the best and start driving more traffic towards the winning variants. Regular ad testing can help in improving click-through rate, ad viewability score, and overall yield. A/B tests can be manual or automated, depending on the engineering resources available to the publisher. You can also partner with a third-party vendor that specializes in providing automated A/B testing solutions.

Publishers must always prioritize users while optimizing for display-based ad revenue. Regularly measuring the performance of each ad unit in accordance with user engagement and retention is key to earning sustainably through display advertising.


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