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4 ad ops tips to grow revenue during COVID-19

CPMs took a big hit with the onset of COVID-19 at the end of Q1. Recovery has been limited or extremely slow, and many publishers have seen a spike in traffic that they haven’t been able to turn into revenue. While there are a range of additional—and viable—monetization strategies (such as eCommerce and Newsletters) to explore, it pays to fortify your foundation. 

Kara Boeshaar, the manager of our Sovrn Services ad ops team, has put together a few of the most important ad ops tips and tweaks that publishers can use to lift ad revenue right now.

Revisit your price floors

Even though time spent online is going up, revenue has faltered as impressions lose their value to advertisers. Now is a great time to revisit your floors to make sure that you’re not missing out on potential revenue. 

There’s two ways to do this. First, look at your CPMs. If they’re close to your floors (say, $.15-$.25), there’s a good change you’re missing opportunities. Second, lower your floors for a 1-2 week test and compare your revenue. By lowering your price floors slightly to meet the moment, advertisers will get the chance to bid on more of your inventory.

Add new demand partners

More competition in your programmatic auctions increases the chances of higher bids winning, and having a robust demand stack helps those chances. As the market has become more saturated with demand partners and resellers, it’s hard to tell them apart. You can add both different and varied demand partners, and also types of demand—such as video and native. While the correct mix and number will vary between publishers, more competition leads to more revenue.

Ultimately, that’s one of the reasons we started Sovrn Services. Demand stack management can be difficult and time consuming. Our team gets you access to valuable demand sources by leveraging partnerships we’ve built over the years. We can help you get the most out of your ad stack while you focus on running your site and growing your business.

Rethink your ad layout

Programmatic CPMs are affected by a range of variables, including page content, number of ads on the page, and unique readers. One of the easiest changes to make to increase CPMs is to increase the viewability of your ads. 

Viewability starts with placement. Ads that are closer to the top of the page, or sticky ads that follow the reader as they scroll, are the easiest ways to increase viewability (especially on mobile). Vertical ads (such as 160×600 and 300×600 units) also remain in view for longer than more horizontal ad sizes, such as a 728×90. Adjusting your ad layout to focus on in-view units will help improve CPMs.

Publishers with high dwell times or highly-engaged audiences (such as news sites, gaming sites, and niche or passion publishers) should also look into using //Signal, which creates new, viewable inventory on your page. Over time, showing more viewable ads raises your sitewide viewability, and increases both your demand-side viewability scores and your revenue.

Address ad blockers intelligently

As more and more readers have started using ad blockers, publishers have seen their main source of revenue decline. It’s not a COVID-specific trend, but right now it’s important to make sure you’re monetizing as much of your traffic as possible.

Traditionally, combatting ad blockers has been a kind of arms race between publisher and blocker, with publishers investing more and more time and money trying to work around blockers.

We’ve gone a different route. We’ve worked closely with Acceptable Ads to release //Unblock, a way for publishers to monetize readers who have implemented an ad blocker. //Unblock allows a publisher to serve ads to readers who have opted into AA through their ad blocker without disrupting the user experience. A number of vendors offer similar options, but ours is unique in that you don’t have to add new headers or adjust your layout to make it work. It’s delivered through your existing ad units. In addition, we leverage our high-performing managed demand services to make sure you’re monetizing effectively. 

Sovrn //Services connects you to valuable demand sources that bring competition to your ad auctions and improve your revenue. We’ve built the partnerships, and we’ll leverage them on your behalf. If you’re ready to earn more, let’s talk.

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