Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What kind of sites do well with CPM advertising?

I've run about twenty or so web sites over the years. Some have been (financially) successful - most haven't. There's no perfect formula for knowing whether or not a certain site will be a certified money-maker when it comes to the CPM-advertising world, but in my experience there are a certain number of characteristics that certainly help.

#1. Make sure at least 85-90% of your traffic is from the United States.

This is the big daddy, obviously. As it stands right now, all the best networks cater to American advertisers and consumers. A few of them have branched out into overseas campaigns, most often the UK, Australia, Canada, etc. but in the main, if you don't have a significant majority of your traffic coming from the United States, you just won't do all that well among the major CPM networks. My most heavily-trafficked site, for example, is one of my poorest earners, because only around 55% of the traffic actually originates from the United States.

This isn't really something you can change after the fact - its mostly advice for those who are thinking of creating new sites... try to come up with subject-matter that will be most relevant to United States visitors.

#2. Pageviews, pageviews, pageviews.

The easiest way to boost your site's earnings is to take steps to increase the average number of pageviews per visit. Its a whole helluva lot easier to get visitors you already have to click two or three more pages per visit than it is to draw in whole big batches of new visitors. How, you ask? Here's some ideas:

- Separate large content pages into sub-pages. Split them into 2, 3, 4 or even 5 smaller pages, with prominent navigation that will easily allow a reader to click "Next" to continue reading the page.

- Build interactive/sticky pages that are constantly updating. Whether these are news or blog feeds, stock quotes, latest forum posts, a private-messaging system... anything that is useful to your visitors and, more importantly, anything that constantly changes, content-wise, will cause your visitors to click back again and again to see what's new.

- Add some games. Nothing keeps a visitor on your site like diversionary time-wasters. Add a high score list, or some level of competition or awards, and folks will come back again and again to compete.

#3. Optimize your site template to allow for IAB-size ad placements.

When you design your site, be sure that your general template allows for at least 2 ad positions on every page, either:

- A 728x90 Leaderboard on top and a 160x600 Skyscraper on the right or left side
- A 728x90 Leaderboard on top and a 300x250 Box ad within the content area
- A 160x600 Skyscraper on the right side and 300x250 Box ad within the content area

These three ad types (728x90, 300x250, 160x600) are currently the best-performing, so be sure that your site can fit them in. And remember to keep it tasteful! No one wants to see a site that's just a bunch of ads hastily thrown together around minimal content.

1 comment:

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