Monetization Tools & Tech

The Beginner’s Guide to Display Advertising

sovrnmarketing // April 17, 2012

The Beginner's Guide to Display Advertising

Putting ads on your site can be a daunting endeavor. especially with the alphabet soup of terms you need to know: CPA, CPM, CPC, CPL, RTB, PPC, SEO, SEM, etc. It’s enough to drive a blogger bonkers! But if you take a moment to embrace a few concepts it will help your strategy immensely.

Programmatic Advertising v. Direct Sales

Programmatic advertising is dynamic and will show different ads on your site every time a page loads. If you’re just starting out with displaying advertising, using programmatic advertising is much easier. Programmatic ad networks include sovrn, Google AdSense and Conversant, to name a few.
Advertising from direct sales is similar to traditional advertising. It’s similar to when a newspaper solicits a local shop to pay a flat rate to show an ad for a finite amount of time. These types of relationships require the most effort on your part to solicit and maintain but can also be the most lucrative if you can set them up.

Unique Visits v. Page Views

Every time someone lands on your page is considered a page view; be careful not to confuse this number with “uniques.”
A unique user may view 5 pages on your site i.e., 1 unique can have many many page views. The ratio of unique users to page views on your site is one metric of determining how valuable your traffic may be.
A page view is when someone lands on your page. Page views are what lead to ad requests or ad calls. If there is an advertiser present on the page the request for an ad to be shown in that location on the page where you specified.
Fill rate is the number for the ratio between pages viewed and ad impressions shown. Ideally you want to fill every ad request with a displayed ad or ad impression.

The Difference between Ad Tags and Ad Zones

Ad tags are a few lines of code that you can plug into your site that call an ad network to fill the space.
Ad zones are the spots on your page where the ads appear.

What are Standard IAB Sizes for Display Advertising?

The IAB (Internet advertising bureau) has several ad sizes they consider standard sizes: a 728×90 or leaderboard, 300×250 or medium rectangle, and 160×600 skyscraper sizes. You’ll need to know what size fits your layout but often times these will fit nicely into just about any standard layout, especially when using blog templates.

What is Real-Time Bidding (RTB)?

Once a person has navigated to your site, the page has loaded, you’ve got an ad tag on your page and an ad server is called, Real-Time Bidding takes place. Real-Time bidding (RTB) is an advertising auction that occurs in seconds. Essentially multiple advertisers bid for ad space, and the bidder willing to pay the highest CPM wins.

What is a CPM?

CPM stands for cost per mille or cost per thousand. For every 1000 impressions you will make $X. For publishers starting out in the advertising world, CPM is easiest method for starting to make money with your site due to the fact that all the hard work is being done by your ad provider (e.g. sovrn).
Other payment models include CPC (cost per click), which pays you every time someone clicks on the ad that is shown on your page. There are also CPA and CPL ads which stand for cost per action or cost per lead. These types of ads (or websites specifically devoted to the CPL model) require actual interaction from the person on your site to qualify. Often times a form being filled out and submitted determines success for a CPA/CPL ad. CPA/CPL are the most difficult to integrate into an ad strategy due to the amount work involved.

What is an Ad Server?

Ad servers allow the usage of multiple advertising partners for one ad zone (through the usage of default or passback tags) as well as the ability to control which advertising partner gets how many of your ad requests, segment your traffic by geography, and set pricing for each ad request.
In most cases the early blogger or website will not necessarily need the services of a server for their site but it is important to understand why these exist.

Things to Consider Before Working with an Ad Partner

Things to evaluate for ad partnerships are not only the dollars coming in but the experience and service you get from your partners. Having a real live person to email or get on the phone with about how to improve your revenue becomes exceedingly invaluable as you get more complex in your ad strategy.
Baby steps fearless blogger. This is the basic framework of what you need to know for display advertising on your site.

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