The Why and How of Diversifying Your Revenue

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // March 1, 2022

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It’s the basic premise of diversification — an approach that’s often used to shield investors from market volatility and reduce risk within their portfolio.

But diversification applies to more than just stocks and bonds. As a publisher, diversifying your revenue streams can help to protect you from inevitable ebbs and flows across the industry. By tapping into a variety of income opportunities, you can ensure your earnings will be more sustainable over the long term.

For publishers, the only constant is change

Things move fast in the world of online publishing. Innovative tools, channels, and tactics spring up constantly, and there’s always something new to explore. At the same time, tried-and-true revenue sources can fall out of favor with little or no warning.

Recent economic upheaval and widespread uncertainty make it more difficult than ever to predict which monetization strategies will be successful at any given time. Here are just a few examples of current trends that are impacting publishers’ ability to earn:

  • Labor and supply chain disruptions. While retailers have borne the brunt of labor and merchandise shortages, online publishers are also seeing the impact. Earnings from ecommerce and affiliate may take a hit due to out-of-stock products, fewer affiliate deals, and less generous commissions.
  • Negative social media perceptions. For the first time in its history, social media giant Facebook is seeing a decline in usage. While other platforms like Instagram and TikTok are still growing (albeit slowly), mounting concerns about data privacy and transparency could impact publishers’ ability to drive revenue through social ads.
  • The rise of subscription fatigue. Revenue from digital subscriptions soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, but publishers are now faced with the challenge of retaining those subscribers by continuing to deliver the value paying customers demand.
  • Increased resistance to traditional marketing. Born between 1996 and 2010, Generation Z already possesses enormous spending power, but they also pose a unique marketing challenge. These digital natives are savvier and more selective than any group before them – so typical approaches may be less effective as Gen Z matures.

4 ways to diversify your revenue

As an online publisher, you have endless options for expanding your mix of revenue streams, from ecommerce and affiliate to advertising, data, and more. Of course, not every tactic is right for every publisher. Before you start your diversification efforts, consider your audience, brand identity, content production capabilities, and the resources you have available.

Here are a few options to kick off your journey to better income diversification:

  1. Advertising is one of the most common ways for publishers to generate revenue. And even if you already have an active ad program, there are always opportunities to improve and add new categories to your advertising mix: display ads, native ads, programmatic, and more. For details and inspiration, download 50 Ways to Make Media Pay from our partners at What’s New in Publishing.
  2. Affiliate marketing is a foundational element of online publishing. It’s also one of the easiest ways to diversify your earnings. Start-up is simple, it offers tremendous revenue potential, and it’s endlessly flexible – whether you’re endorsing products you love, sharing links on social, or providing price comparisons. If you’re looking for new affiliate ideas, check out our ebook: 5 Ways to Make Affiliate Marketing Work for You.
  3. Data monetization offers a variety of ways to drive incremental revenue from your proprietary first-party data. If you have an extensive subscriber list, you can safely monetize your email data using our hashed email solution. You can also enhance the value of your website audience data through data enrichment.
  4. Other content-based strategies let you tap into the value of your high-quality content to drive revenue in creative ways. For example, newsletters can provide diverse monetization opportunities like sponsorships, paid advertisements, and subscriber-only exclusives. Ebooks and other long-form assets can be sold as standalone products or positioned as premium content for paid subscribers.

More ways to monetize with Sovrn

If you’re ready to expand your income streams, Sovrn can help. We’ve made significant investments in new products and services to help publishers diversify their revenue and maximize earnings.

  • Commerce: With the addition of price and merchant comparisons to our Commerce offering, you can now earn more revenue from every click. Diversify merchants, improve conversions, and boost revenue by building price comparison widgets into your existing commerce content.
  • Advertising: We’ve made it easier to optimize every ad placement using “engaged time,” which measures not only when an ad can be seen but also when a user is actively engaged with the content. With engaged time, you can accurately identify your most valuable ad inventory and price accordingly.
  • Data: We’re working to provide publishers with a standard and scalable way to transact their first-party data, as the first SSP to support IAB Tech Lab’s Seller Defined Audiences Specifications in We’re also helping publishers to increase the value of their proprietary data and create meaningful audience segments through data enrichment.
  • Ad Management: Optimizing your revenue diversification can be complicated, but you don’t have to go it alone. With Sovrn Ad Management, you can stop worrying about the details and get back to what you do best: creating great content and growing your audience. 

To learn more about these innovations – and all the other ways Sovrn supports publishers – just email us at and our team will be happy to help.

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