In today’s online ecosystem, programmatic advertising is the channel of choice for advertisers who want to reach a specific audience — which makes it a prime revenue opportunity for publishers. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to diversify your monetization strategy, advertising can provide a consistent, sustainable revenue stream.
That said, online advertising is complicated, so the learning curve can be steep. Sovrn Advertising Exchange provides everything you need to build and optimize your ad program, from connecting with advertisers and setting prices to analyzing performance for maximum ad revenue. But before you can start earning on our ad platform, your site will undergo a thorough approval process.
10 tips for smoother Advertising approval
At Sovrn, we want to help publishers grow their business and earn as much revenue as possible. When it comes to advertising, that means attracting ad buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for your ad inventory.
While every brand has different advertising goals, they tend to have similar baseline expectations for their ad partners. Our approval process is designed to set you up for success, by ensuring that your site aligns with those expectations from the start — and you’re following current industry standards and best practices.
To help you understand what our team is looking for and improve your chances of being approved, we’ve compiled this list of tips and recommendations.
1. Build a consistent history of content
It takes time to build an engaged, organic reader base that will deliver the results ad buyers want. In order to be approved for Advertising, your site needs to show a history of consistent content creation — usually at least four months’ worth. Make sure each new piece of content carries a time stamp to show when it was created. Some publishers try to make a new site look more established by backdating their content, but a lack of long-term traffic will be evident in the approval audit.
2. Drive traffic organically
Remember, all traffic sources are not created equal. If all your site traffic comes from paid sources (like backlinks, paid search, paid ads, etc.), ad buyers know they’re not reaching a truly engaged audience. In order to generate more organic traffic from search and direct sources, be sure your content follows best practices for SEO. Having a strong social media presence also demonstrates your commitment to driving legitimate traffic to your site.
3. Create original, engaging content
Readers are more likely to visit a site — and keep coming back — when they find unique content that isn’t available anywhere else. So make sure your content is original, engaging, and written in your own authentic voice. Content authors should be credited with their actual name (not just “editorial team”). And if you are curating content or taking inspiration from other sites, make sure you’re adding value. The content on your site should always be uniquely yours.
4. Focus on written content
Today’s search engines are word-based, and readers search for content using written search terms — so it’s important to feature mostly written content on your site. Sites that are largely image-based are less likely to be approved for Advertising, although there may be exceptions for content creators who work in a visual space (like photography). Written content also makes your site more easily translatable, to improve your global reach.
5. Avoid anything that could be considered “NSFW”
In order to be approved for Advertising, site content must be “safe for work.” Sovrn has a zero-tolerance policy for sites containing nudity or adult content, as well as any content pertaining to violence, firearms, illegal drugs, or other illegal activity. Be aware that we also cannot approve sites targeted to children, so your primary audience should be age 16 and up.
6. Moderate all user interactions
If you allow site visitors to interact with the content on your site (through a forum, comment section, etc.), you need to actively moderate these interactions and monitor for any dangerous behavior such as bullying, hate speech, or threats.
7. Create a safe, enjoyable user experience
No one enjoys an intrusive ad experience, and sites that suffer from “ad clutter” will drive away readers and advertisers alike. Consider the reader experience when designing your site layout and avoid ad placement that creates a confusing or unsafe environment. For example, don’t display more than three ads in view at one time (two if the ads include video) and don’t create ads that can’t be closed. (Review our advertising guidelines for more details.)
8. Give readers something of value
If your site is only built to drive ad revenue, you aren’t really delivering any value to your readers — and they won’t come back. Any site that appears to be “made-for-advertising” (i.e., designed to attract readers for the sole purpose of showing them ads) won’t be approved. So be sure you’re creating content to engage, educate, and/or entertain your audience — not just to make money.
9. Update your ads.txt file
An accurate ads.txt file helps you take ownership of your monetization by telling ad buyers exactly who is authorized to sell the inventory on your site. It also protects against third parties who might try to sell your ad space without permission. While this step isn’t strictly required, it’s highly recommended — and you’ll need to add Sovrn to this file before you can start using our Advertising platform. (This article provides additional guidance.)
10. Make sure your site is accessible
This one should be obvious, but we can only review sites that are live and currently accessible. If your site is unpublished, geo-fenced, operating in a test environment, down, or otherwise unavailable, it will not be approved.
Ready to start earning with Sovrn?
Advertising offers a wealth of opportunities for advertisers who want to monetize their content. And Sovrn Advertising Exchange provides everything you need to build and manage your ad program. If you’re ready to start driving more ad revenue, sign up today. Once you’re approved, it’s easy to start earning.
And if you need help managing your day-to-day ad operations, look no further than Sovrn Ad Management. Our team of experts can provide tools and technical support to ensure the best possible ad performance.