Monetizing your website properly is a topic I’ve discussed in the past because there isn’t just one way to do things right.
For years, I focused on traffic generation and left aside the monetization part unattended as most people do because well, without traffic you can’t really start monetizing anyways.
However, after a few years and the more I got into traffic arbitrage and affiliate marketing I’ve learned a lot of techniques to monetize different types of traffic, from different countries around the world and for different niches.
Today I want to talk a bit more about niches and geos because when people ask me which of my recommended networks they should choose for their website I always ask the following questions:
- Where is your site traffic coming from (top countries)?
- What niche is it? (you don’t have to reveal your site URL or specific micro-niche, I just need to know the vertical or generic niche to give you a recommendation)
Without knowing this I can’t really answer more than a generic sentence “try them and split test yourself“.
The problem about generic ad recommendations
Most bloggers out there tend to recommend generic ad networks for everybody, but once you start working and building your audience, many times people realize their niche is difficult to monetize or they realize their country has very low CPCs and CPMs or sometimes they can’t even apply for a network because their site doesn’t follow the guidelines or because they don’t allow certain niches.
This is true mostly for Google Adsense or Amazon Associates where they can take a long time to approve your site (if you ever get approved) or they can ban you easily if they see something don’t like.
Just think about this:
You have a streaming site with series or movies.
You can’t use Adsense as it’s against the Terms of Service. You can’t use Amazon either because people aren’t in buying intent mode.
What could you do?
Check out streaming sites and realize they tend to work with native ad networks or other types of ads to monetize their traffic. Some of them could be MGID, PropellerAds, Adnow, etc. I’ve talked about many of them here.
You have a niche site about dating (mainstream, but still in a gray area for many networks).
Adsense isn’t an option. Amazon could be an option if you’re reviewing products related to the niche but not for all of your posts.
What could you do?
Partner up with dating networks, promote dating apps, promote some affiliate products not only from Amazon, etc. Some networks like TrafficStars, RevContent, AdMaven, etc.
You have a white hat blog about personal finance and you want to monetize it
Both Adsense and Amazon are options in this case, but you’re talking about high-quality articles and traffic, and just showing ads many times doesn’t cut it unless the network has specific partners for that niche. Adsense could help you make $1,000 per month, let’s say, but maybe a premium ad network for that niche could make you $1,500 or $3,000. Or you might even consider promoting affiliate products or your own courses as many times showing ads in this type of website isn’t worth it against other monetization techniques.
What could you do?
Partner up with premium ad networks (in case you don’t have your own product to monetize) like Media.net, or if you have a good amount of traffic you could also sign up with Ezoic, Mediavine or Adthrive.
Let’s deep dive here with Media.net and see some results of websites working with Media.net in the finance vertical. Sign up here to get your account approved in less than 48 hours.
Finance Blogs and how to monetize them
Finance is a very well paid niche and organic traffic has high quality as they usually are people who are looking to pay debts, improve their finances, learn about increasing their income, etc.
If you’re blogging in English, a lot of your volume is going to come from tier 1 countries, which is quite beneficial as those tend to have very good CPM/CPC rates. We’re talking about countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
However, you will also receive good traffic from other countries where people speak English as a secondary language or tier 2/3 countries where English is the main language. Take the example below:
This is a website that generates massive traffic in the finance niche with more than a million impressions per month with Media.net. The RPM on average goes from $1.6 to $2. The number isn’t that high (I could even say it’s a low number for the niche) but not all of their traffic comes from the USA or tier 1 countries. They still end up doing around $3,000 USD per month.
Speaking with my Media.net manager, we talked about the best practices to monetize this vertical and here are a few recommendations she gave me:
1. Keep in mind mobile traffic
Mobile traffic keeps growing and it has already outperformed desktop traffic in many verticals. Analyze your website traffic using a tool like Google Analytics and check out the percentage of traffic coming from mobile devices. If this number is higher than 20 or 30%, you should focus your monetization methods on mobile as it will only keep growing in the following years.
Blogs tend to show ads in different locations like the sidebar, header, or footer, but for mobile traffic the most important location to show ads is inside content, as most of the other locations will be moved to the bottom if you have a mobile responsive design.
Check this image:
With Media.net you should also Enable the customized mobile ad units (mobile docked units) to monetize every impression received on your website. Check out how to set up Media.net here.
2. Ad exposure
A typical question I see online is: how many ads should I display on my website to get the best performance and revenue?
For years the answer was capped at 3 ads per page, as that was also a requirement for Google Adsense. However there have been some changes lately and mixing several networks or using auto ads from the network you work with sometimes gives you a better value.
Media.net however recommends 3 ads per page so you can get maximum engagement without being too pushy. If your traffic is mobile then try having them all inside content as we spoke before.
3. Ad sizes
Another question people tend to ask is which ad sizes are the best performers. I normally prefer to split test locations, sizes, and colors, however, my manager at Media.net showed me some stats and the following ad sizes tend to perform and look better than the rest:
This data kind of matches with my own tests. My favorite ad sizes for in-content ads are 300×250 and 336×280. I have to agree here.
Also, customizing your ad units to match the look and feel of your website helps you get a better CTR. This means using a similar font, color, and design, which can be customized in most ad networks.
4. Geographic location
In the case of Media.net, the best performing locations are the USA, the United Kingdom, and Canada. However, quality traffic, especially in English is mostly welcomed.
I have worked with other networks where they top performers are European countries or some others that are focused in Geos like Latin America and Asia, however, for the finance niche most networks tend to agree that tier 1 countries are where the money’s at.
Here’s another example of a finance blog that has 200-300 impressions per month (not quite the monster about 1 million impressions mentioned above) but with the right traffic and testing, they managed to increase their RPM from $20 to $29, generating $8,000 with 1/4 of the traffic we looked at the beginning of this article.
Something very important to keep in mind when testing a new network is to give it some time to optimize your ads. A lot of people tend to test a network for a day and if it doesn’t generate more than the one they’re using they go back immediately.
Most networks can optimize your traffic and show it to different bidders and advertisers the more days you keep it testing. I like to test networks for at least 7 days before coming to a conclusion, although there are some other networks like I explained in another article where the RPM kept growing slow but steady even after 3 months. So be patient and give it at least a few days or you could be missing out on something big.
Media.net also can give you recommendations according to your site, content layout, and traffic if you talk to your manager. This is something that would be pretty much impossible to imagine when working with networks like Adsense and Amazon Associates. Having a dedicated manager is just not something they do.
If you’re bad at testing or you want to focus on content and marketing instead of monetization, having a manager in hand could prove to be quite worthy as they will help you optimize your clicks and revenue. Sign up here to get your account approved in less than 48 hours.
Lastly, here’s a third example of a website in the finance niche that just started working with Media.net a few months ago.
They don’t have the massive $29 RPM that the other website had, but as you can see, their volume is quite good with almost 2 million visits per month.
They started testing Media.net as an alternative at the end of December, where they sent 80,000+ impressions and had aN RPM of $2.35 generating just $194 USD.
However once Media.net started helping them optimizing their layout, ad sizes, locations, and internally with their advertisers, their RPM jumped to $8.5. Almost 4x higher than before.
Since they have massive volumes they decided to switch it all to Media.net and now they’re making over $16,000 USD per month just with ads. They could have stayed with another network who was paying them $5 RPM or less but with the proper tests and patience now they’re making 60% more.
There are many ways to monetize your traffic and the niche and geo are very important to your success.
Every vertical is different and networks tend to work with different advertisers per country, so having a network that works closely with advertisers in your niche can give you much better results, even if the network is smaller than Google Adsense.
Have you ever seen a Coca Cola ad in an Adsense website because they don’t know what to show in a generic site?
Working with the right network can be a day/night difference and remember the most important thing you need to know is:
- Where your traffic comes from (top 3 countries usually represent 80% or more of your overall traffic)
- What’s the niche of your site, so you can select a network that specializes in that type of traffic.
Talk to you in the next one and let me know if this article helped you 🙂