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If you’re a publisher looking to monetize your website through some form of online advertising, you know that deciding which ad partner to run with is no simple task. If you want to be successful in monetizing your site, you need to do some research on what options are actually out there.

Why is it so important to pick the right ad partner?

It’s simple: bid density. Each ad partner has their own unique set of buyers (note: not all buyers are created equal). The more partners you have the more buyers you have. The more buyers you have, the greater the competition. The greater the competition, the higher the CPM.publisher roundtable report key findings sovrn.com

Alongside other partners, Sovrn recently released the Publisher Roundtable Site Monetization Report in which we conducted surveys with over 500 publishers looking to improve the way they monetize their websites. One of the main areas of focus in that report was on the topic of picking an ad partner. In addition to other key findings, the report reveals some of the more commonly used and recommended ad networks and why publishers like them.

When picking an ad network every publisher noted that high CPMs was at the top of the priority list. While this is not surprising, it does mean that at the end of the day all of this boils down to hard dollars. Bottom line: Can the ad network in question provide you with more money? However, there are so many other factors at play when picking the right partner for you. The proof is in the pudding.

what to look for when picking an ad network sovrn.comWhat to look for when picking an ad network

High CPMs is imperative, but from a growth and sustainability perspective, these next two line items are more important. If an ad network can prove that they only work with quality publishers and they happen to be aligned with a strong and unique list of quality advertisers, you’re going to drive your CPMs up by having those advertisers bidding on your inventory. It comes back to bid density.

The more quality websites in a network, the more lucrative the buyers.

Some key questions to ask when researching:

  • What does one ad partner bring to the table that another can’t?
  • Does this partner specialize in 100% fill or do they focus more on competitive CPMs?
  • What kind of contracts do they require?
  • What is the payout like?
  • Do they pay on time?

These are the kinds of questions you need to ask when you’re in discussion with these different ad partners. sovrn’s Publisher Services Kit should give you an idea of the kind of information you need access to.

Once you’ve picked your ad partner(s)

You need to decide how you’re going to implement them. The first step is identifying each partner’s strengths. Do they offer high CPMs with low fill rates or vice versa? Doing your research on your prospective partners will pay off when you’re setting up your ad stack. Ask each ad network where they need to be in your chain to give you their best performance and stack accordingly. When creating your stack, you’ll want to implement price floors to maximize your revenue. Depending on the size of your site and quality of your inventory you’ll want to implement varying amounts of ad networks. If you’re a smaller site, you might not need 4 ad networks in each ad zone. If you’re a larger site, taking advantage of more ad networks might not be a bad idea.

number of networks used publisher roundtable report sovrn.comNext Steps

  1. Do some research on different ad partners. Ask your friends what they’re using. Get on the phone with a representative and ask them the right questions.
  2. Once you’ve picked your partners, test them out in different slots in your ad chain to see where they perform best.
  3. After you’ve solidified your ad stack, do some more research and see if adding another partner will bring you more money. If not, reach out to your partners and as them what else you can be doing to bring in more revenue.

Based on the findings of the Publisher Roundtable Report, here are the ad networks publishers recommend and why:

recommended networks publisher roundtable report sovrn.com

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