Despite the fact that paid content and premium services are back in fashion today, a significant number of online publishers still rely wholly or partially on advertising revenue.

Yet many of them shoot themselves in the foot by engaging in behavior that limits their potential to generate ad revenue instead of boosting it.

Here are five of these behaviors...

  • Poor yield management. Serving up more impressions usually doesn't mean greater revenue, and trying to create impressions like a central bank printing currency often has the effect of devaluing each impression. But that doesn't stop many publishers from doing swinish things in an effort to maximize impressions instead of yield.
  • Lazy ad placement. 'Ad placement' encompasses the location of advertising, the format of the advertising and the type of advertising (CPM, CPC, etc.). The right ad placement can deliver stellar results, while bad ad placement can produce disappointment. Unfortunately, thoughtful ad placement is often missing in action.
  • Relying too much on ad networks and exchanges. Ad networks and exchanges may be a necessity pragmatically, but publishers have good reason to be careful about how  and when they employ them as ad networks can be detrimental. Ad networks and exchanges may hamper a publisher's efforts to sell inventory directly at a premium, as savvy advertisers can often get access to 'premium' sites for pennies on the dollar through them.
  • Not making an effort to sell. Ads don't sell themselves. While it may not be possible for smaller publishers to hire a dedicated sales team, in my experience a surprising number of publishers don't even try to sell their ads proactively on their own. That makes it awfully hard to build a business that isn't dependent on ad network crumbs.
  • Having a 'once and done' mentality. Making money with an ad-based business model online is a journey, not a destination. Publishers who throw up a bunch of ads and who aren't constantly analyzing performance and experimenting with their 'ad formula' will almost always earn far less than they otherwise could.

By focusing on what really matters, staying proactive and avoiding the above behaviors, publishers can often realize significant increases in their ad revenue.

Photo credit: via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 10 May, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)


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the idea of using the citizen journalist is so tempting not just in business terms but also at a philosophical level - the person on the street reporting on what he or she sees. the only time when it works though is at moments of extreme stress or disaster, during censorship, natural calamities or accidents. citizens are no good when it comes to day to day humdrum reporting.

about 8 years ago


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I think lazy ad placement is the main point, Instead of just placing an AD, one should check heatmap, so he know which is the highest clicking position on publishers site.

almost 8 years ago

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