My Ad Tags Are Live – Why Am I Not Making Any Money?

sovrnmarketing // November 29, 2016

hand holding money

Your site is approved, your ad tags are live, but you’re not making any money. So, what’s the deal? There are a few different things to look at if your Sovrn ad tags are live but you’re not seeing any revenue roll in.

We’ll break it into two different buckets: for those publishers who are generating a significant amount of site traffic and for publishers who are still working on growing their traffic. Let’s dive in.

If You Have Site Traffic

The key thing for you to focus on if you have a good amount of site traffic (roughly greater than 1,000 pageviews/day), your tags are live, but you’re still not making money, is optimization. So, what should you optimize? Here’s our laundry list:

Price Floors
Do you currently have price floors in place? Adding in price floors can be helpful way to make more money from your display ads.

Your floor should be set lower than the CPM you wish to earn for every 1,000 impressions Sovrn serves on your site. As an example, if you wish to earn $1.00 for every 1,000 impressions Sovrn serves on your site, a floor price of $0.80 should do the trick.

To learn more about price floors and how to best use them to maximize yield, check out this article and this quick tutorial.

Too Many Ads
Having too many ads on any given site page will decrease the value of each ad zone. Although putting as many ad units as possible on your site may seem like an easy way to increase revenue, it’s not a recommended strategy. A page filled with ads that interfere with content and detract from the user experience will lead to less return visitors and ultimately less revenue.

Typically, we suggest having 5 ad zones per page or less.

Strategically Placed Ads
Additionally, you need to strategically place the ad units on your site. What do we mean by this? Strategically placed ads are ads that are visible but do not obstruct the site’s content.

Our publisher Pinch of Yum does a great job of seamlessly weaving display ads into their sidebar without detracting from the user experience. Pinch of Yum places one of their house ads, or pieces of promoted content before every display ad, creating a more cohesive user experience. This strategy makes the user feel like they are absorbing one rolling stream of content, as opposed to being bombarded with advertisements.

Along the same lines of strategically placed ad units, making sure your ads are “viewable” is key. As a general rule of thumb, ads perform better when they’re above the fold, so they’re visible without scrolling.

Check out this blog to learn more about viewability and strategies for improving ad viewability on your site.

Ad Stack
Are you currently using an ad stack or partner waterfall? If not, this is something I’d highly recommend as a way to increase your ad revenue. In an ad stack, multiple advertising partners are essentially queued up in a line to bid on each ad request. The partner at the top of your ad stack has first dibs, and if they are unable to fill an advertisement, they pass back their turn to the next partner in line.

The simplest way to start building an ad stack is to start with one new partner, AdSense. You should have Sovrn first in your ad stack passing back to AdSense. Because we are able to target higher CPMs, while AdSense fills 100% of all ad requests at a lower rate, using both networks can significantly increase your revenue.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to passback from Sovrn to AdSense.

Slow Loading Times
If your website experiences slow loading times, the ad partners may be timing out or passing the request on to the next ad partner, thus lost revenue for you. Sites with fast load times see higher conversions and higher revenue.

Ensure your ads are loading quickly by following these seven easy ways to speed up your ads.

Technical Issues 
Lastly, if you aren’t seeing any impressions or 0% fill, you are most likely experiencing technical issues. In this case, please reach out to your account manager or our support team for help.

If You Don’t Have Site Traffic

If don’t have any site traffic, or very low traffic, then there is no way to generate significant revenue from your ads. In this case, your focus should be on publishing quality content and growing your traffic. Regularly publishing quality content will ultimately bring in quality traffic, thus raising your CPMs.

Check out this blog post for helpful tips on growing your traffic.

Make sure you don’t have any price floors set if your site doesn’t generate a lot of traffic. You don’t want to deter anyone from bidding on your ads.

Now let’s start seeing that money roll in!

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