The 2 Most Valuable Ad Units to Boost CPM, Yield, and Fill

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // April 22, 2019

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Impressions, CPM, page views, and page dwell time differ from publisher to publisher. Similarly, although wider ads will generally outperform taller, skinnier ads, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for ad sizes and placements. The perfect setup will depend on your audience, your page design, and the type of content you serve.

That said, some ad units almost always outperform others, often with dramatic results.

If you guessed leaderboard ads, you’d be wrong. It’s true that leaderboard (or header) ad units (almost) always receive impressions on page load, making them a dependable source of ad revenue, they typically see less reader engagement. Readers tend to scroll right past these units, particularly on sites sharing long-form content. Sidebar ads typically see more engagement, but all static ads, regardless of placement, suffer the same issue: once the initial auction processes and the impression serves, that’s it—there’s no more revenue.

Generally, publishers have relied on one of two imperfect solutions to this problem: incorporate more ad placements into their content, or get their readers to spend more time on their site and view more pages—hence serving more impressions. However, this ignores one reality of online behavior: while there is an unlimited amount of content available on the internet, readers will always have a finite amount of time available to view that content.

The solution: sticky overlay and whitespace ads, both of which are activated through our Signal technology. These are two of the most valuable ad units that Sovrn serves, and both give up to 5x the yield and 3x the fill of standard header bidding units. This is of course dependent on the publisher, but In the words of one of our Signal experts: “These units kill.”

This is due in part to the fact that they offer actual solutions for static ad placements and limited reader time, rather than a lengthy workaround. As the name ‘sticky’ suggests, these ads can be set to remain with readers as they scroll down the page. Therefore, they’re always in view of engaged readers. They’re also built to take advantage of reader engagement, and use it to maximize the value that publishers see from every unique reader.

In fact, these ads only load when they’re viewable. Demand sources are able to see that these ad units are always 100% viewable, and they bid more as a result. We’ve seen sticky overlay and whitespace ads bring incredible value to Sovrn publishers. Because these units are 100% additive, any revenue you receive is on top of what you’re already making.

In addition to drawing higher CPMs due to viewability, these ads have our Signal reload technology built in. Signal tracks 45 unique reader engagement metrics in order to identify when your readers are active, and after 20 seconds of engagement time it reloads viewable ad zones. This boosts your impressions, your viewability scores, and your revenue.

Let’s say that a page on your site contains 5 ad units. If they’re all static, they serve a single impression—at best—and then they lose their worth. However, let’s now assume that Signal reloads each of those units once, after 20 seconds of reader engagement time. Your initial auction proceeds unchanged, after which there’s an immediate 100% boost to revenue. If we then assume that two of those units are sticky overlay and whitespace ads, that doesn’t take into account the higher CPM that 100% viewable ads tend to receive from demand partners. The bottom line is that’s a lot of purely additive revenue for publishers with engaged audiences (think news, recipes, games, forums…the list goes on).

The best part of this is that these ad reloads don’t cause any latency. That’s because they’re delivered through Connect, which uses an intelligent coding, compression, and delivery system to target every ad zone on the site with a single JavaScript implementation, rather than requiring different code for every unit. That means you’re able to preserve user experience with a solution that simultaneously earns you more money.

The best results come from sites that are already well-optimized for engagement and viewability, but in some cases we’ve seen single Sticky Whitespace ad units become top producers within a week or less. There’s no catch: our Signal technology is free to use with Sovrn as an exclusive demand partner, or available for licensing if you’d prefer to leverage it across your full demand stack.

To take advantage of the two most valuable ad units that Sovrn offers and see an immediate boost to revenue, impressions, CPM, and viewability, just send us a message with a product implementation request and we’ll get you set up.

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