Many publishers are experiencing a slower than usual start to this year. After the glorious Q4 which for most publishers represents the best months of the year, revenue-wise at least, Q1 is often low and slow. The famous January drop is affecting more or less everyone in the industry, but this year it’s taking longer than usual to recover and reach normal levels in terms of CPM and performance.
The industry is still recovering from the effects of Corona. Canceled sports events, the aviation industry hitting rock bottom, and decreasing advertising budgets have left their marks on the advertising industry. There are, however, many things you can do to improve your current CPM levels and optimize your revenue to the best possible while the industry is recovering.
What is CPM?
A short recap of what CPM is. CPM means cost per mille, meaning the cost per thousand impressions. Impressions on the other hand stand for how many times an ad has been viewed. CPM is therefore the amount an advertiser is willing to pay a publisher for one thousand impressions. Since quantities are so large when it comes to impressions in online advertising, it’s easier to measure in this metric. A high CPM equals high demand, as competition drives CPM levels up. Low CPM on the other hand indicates that demand is low, and the competition for the ad units available is low.
7 ways to improve CPM
CPMs are highly dependent on demand and supply, if demand is high and supply is low, the CPM increases, while if demand is low and supply is high, the prices and CPM decrease. CPMs in the advertising industry often follow a seasonal pattern, having their peak towards the end of each month and all of Q4. The low seasons take place in January and partly February, and at the beginning of each month. Do not expect CPMs to be the same all year round, instead plan according to seasonal fluctuations, and it will be a lot easier to estimate the results and adjust accordingly. There are many simple things you can do to improve your CPMs. Here we list our top 7 ways to improve CPM.
1. Produce quality content
Stating the obvious here you might think, but we can’t stress enough how important it is that you provide your visitors with content they want to come back for, time after time. It’s not solely the content that drives website traffic, your site needs to function well and provide a good user experience as well. Be cautious if you have a slow page load and shitty UX design, as these things have an effect on your site’s performance. Producing quality content on a regular basis is also important.
2. Optimize floors
Monetizing a website is, despite the belief of many, an ongoing journey. It’s constant investigation and analysis of the performance and prediction of trends. Don’t expect your site to monetize itself once the script is live. By learning how to optimize your site’s floors, you can impact your performance a lot. Floors need to be adjusted according to demand and the current industry situation. If the demand is lower, decrease your floor price or nobody will buy your inventory as it’s overpriced compared to your competitors. If demand is high, try to increase your floor little by little until you find that golden spot for the time being. These things fluctuate so what works today might not work tomorrow.
3. Partner up with the demand side
It’s a given that you need someone who is buying your inventory. You can either have direct deals with advertisers but more likely you are connected to a few demand partners through an ad network or similar. Worthwhile to remember is that there’s a big difference in quality versus quantity when it comes to demand. Qualitative, sought-after demand is worth a lot more than having large amounts of demand that are worth nothing. Try your best to negotiate yourself into getting more qualitative demand partners connected to your site. Your content and geolocation have a large effect on your success with demand.
4. Try different ad units
By updating your ad landscape you can impact the performance of your site a lot. If you are experiencing a low season, and you feel like nothing is improving, try changing your ad units to different ones. Generally, basic, standard ad units tend to perform better, as advertisers are familiar with these sizes and the demand is highest for these, but don’t be afraid to try new things either. Look back at your data, what has worked in the past during slower times, is there something you could do differently this time? Think outside the box. Sometimes, you might need to remove some units for a short period of time if demand is low and you are suffering from a low fill rate. A site full of unmonetized ads will just leave your visitors with a poor user experience, and those website visits are crucial to you, so you want them to return to your site time after time.
5. Add new ad units
Having a clean, user-friendly ad landscape is very important for your website’s performance. A website, fully stuffed with ads, seldom provides a good user experience and as stated before, you want your website visitors happy so they return to your site. Having said that, adding new units can be very beneficial for improving the website’s revenue, especially if the website is fully or partially unmonetized. Often there are many opportunities left undiscovered. Kiosked ads are fully customizable and can be placed anywhere on the website where they fit in seamlessly without harming the user experience.
6. Focus on SEO
SEO is crucial when it comes to gaining website traffic, and website traffic again is crucial for your business. It’s worth investing some time in learning the basics of SEO or hire a professional to help you. The essence of SEO is that your site is user-friendly and has great optimized content so that it shows up in search engines and visitors will find your site among the search results. By improving the experience and page speed of your site, adding backlinks, header tags, and relevant keywords, and optimizing images and videos you can improve your SEO.
7. Core Web Vitals
If you haven’t yet come across the term Core Web Vitals, it’s about time you do. The Core Web Vitals represent the new official ranking factor for search results by Google, and they are due to launch in May 2021. If your traffic mainly originates from search engines, it’s crucial that you meet the criteria for Core Web Vitals in order to appear on Google’s search results at all. We have a full four-part series on the Core Web Vitals on our blog.
It has been a difficult year for many industries, but don’t despair. Focus on these things above and your CPM will improve. We highly recommend working with professionals with years and years of experience on how to optimize website revenue, as adjusting settings to improve website revenue requires expertise and constant monitoring. If you need a helping hand with your website monetization, our awesome team is just one email away at firstname.lastname@example.org. The advertising industry will recover, develop and bloom, once again.