Over the last few years contextual ad networks such as the Yahoo Publisher Network and Google Adsense have become powerhouses in the publisher advertising world. Even though ad servers were around long before these networks, many publishers and bloggers don’t bother using ad servers when working with them.
Part of the reason is they make it pretty easy to just slap their ad code on your site and get going, however that’s EXACTLY what they want you to do because then they own all access to that inventory. It can really help you dominate with contextual ad networks if you use an ad server in the ways listed below. Note: RMX Direct is the example ad server being used because it’s free, does all these things, and is the ad server I’m most familiar with at the moment. However, many of these concepts will work with other ad serving options.
1. Set Frequency Caps
Frequency capping is when you specify that you want to only allow a certain advertiser or ad network to receive a set number of impressions over a time period per user. For example, you could specify that you only want to show 10 Adsense impressions per hour per user. The rest of the impressions they’d get could be YPN, or other ad networks you may be working with. Why do this? The main reason is that if you just always show Adsense, the same ads are often shown throughout your site. If a user hasn’t clicked on any after a certain number of impressions, it may help to show YPN ads that have different ads, or YPN ads with a different visual look, or maybe even show CPM display ads.
2. Manage Multiple Color Palettes
With the recent Adsense policy changes requiring competing networks to have ads that have a different visual “look”, an ad server can make it easier to manage multiple color palettes. As mentioned above you can use frequency capping to run different visual looks, but you can also easily manage the delivery of those visual looks by creating multiple campaigns/placements in an ad server that can easily be turned on or off, and have the details adjusted.
3. Combat Smart Pricing
I’m not entirely sure if YPN has “Smart Pricing”, but with AdSense if you are serving ads across multiple websites and one of the websites has clicks not converting as well as others, that website will drag down your revenue per click as a whole. See more information on “Smart Pricing” here or here. Many publishers who realize this and deactivate Adsense from their poorly performing sites see an increase in click payouts due to smart pricing. With RMX Direct, if you suspect that one of your websites may be hurting your overall revenue per click due to Smart Pricing, you can stop serving AdSense ads to that site with the click of a button. There is no need to take down ad code off the site since it’s controlled through the ad server. Then you can also turn it back on with the click of a button, switch it to YPN ads, or do something else with it. It’s much easier and quicker than jockeying code around all over the place.
4. Track Impressions From Multiple Networks In One Spot
One thing that’s always annoying about working with multiple ad networks is having to login to multiple reporting systems to get data. With RMX Direct or another ad server, you can see your impressions for YPN and AdSense all in one place. Unfortunately, at this point most ad servers can’t show revenue data because the amount paid per click varies. As Adsense and YPN move more forward with APIs, we’ll probably see more ad servers finding ways to import that data as well.
5. Work Display Advertising Into The Mix
Users can become blind to contextual text advertisements, which can result in low click-through rates meaning poor revenue for you. Why not put some guaranteed revenue in your pocket by adding CPM display advertisements into the mix? RMX Direct takes that idea one step further beyond normal ad servers, as it has display networks built into the product to apply to and work with easily. They will compete with the prices of your contextual ad networks, making it a guarantee you’ll only earn more revenue. Competition is a beautiful thing.
But what about the “low” quality of many graphic ads? Excuse the sales pitch, but RMX Direct also has a tool called Media Guard that allows for insane control of the characteristics of ads you don’t want appearing on your site.
6. Analyze Geographic Distribution of Ads
The reporting systems of the contextual networks don’t give any geographical breakdown of where your ad impressions are coming from. Knowing this information can help you make decisions on the type of content you create, or if it makes sense to geotarget your ads. If you found out today that 70% of your ad impressions were coming from Europe, it might make sense to create more content for that audience. You can also set up channels with contextual networks and test using different color palettes in different countries to see the results. Different cultures feel different ways about various colors, it wouldn’t be surprising if users from different countries respond to ads differently.
7. Learn From Similar Publishers
This one isn’t available in most ad serving products, but one of the most powerful features of RMX Direct is our community. Sure, you can find a forum out there of AdSense or YPN publishers, but can you find a forum of people who are using both, plus a number of other ad networks at the same time? Our forum is full of publishers just like you who have been there and done that. Ask them for advice, theyâ€™ll be happy to help (as will the RMX Direct support staff).
8. Get RSS Reports of Impressions and Revenue Estimations
Building upon the idea of tracking impressions from multiple ad networks in one spot, some ad servers feature RSS reporting so you can get your stats right in your RSS reader. Again, with the contextual networks, at this point only the number of impressions shown can accurately be reported, along with an estimation of revenue if you’re using RMX Direct. But if you’re using the display networks in RMX Direct, it’s very handy to get the real revenue statistics through RSS.
9. Work With As Many Networks As You Can Handle
If your website doesn’t have much traffic, then you don’t need to work with many ad networks. However, if you get a decent amount of traffic and take advertising seriously, you should definitely work with as many ad networks as it makes sense for your traffic levels. To start out with, you have the ability to sign up with nine ad networks from the Right Media Exchange. However, once you start adding additional ad networks in, the sky is the limit. Work with whatever contextual networks you want. If fact, you can add networks from the whole spectrum, more display networks, more contextual networks, and even more affiliate advertisers.
10. Geotarget Your Ads
Which does better in Asia, YPN or AdSense? Want to find out? With RMX Direct, you can geotarget your advertising placements. Itâ€™s useful in a number of situations. Let me give you an example: letâ€™s say youâ€™ve noticed a spike in clicks from Russia and youâ€™re worried about click fraud. The solution is simple, turn off contextual ad serving to that area with a quick click and save (if the problem is severe, please notify your ad network). As mentioned above, you can also target color palettes to specific regions, or eliminate showing contextual ads to any countries beyond the USA if you want to show different types of ads to international users. The power is in your hands.
Bonus tip: Instead of PSAs, show display ads.
With some contextual networks, you can specific what you want to do in the event a public service announcement (PSA) needs to be served. Well, donâ€™t lose that impression and the money that comes with it, send it to an ad server like RMX Direct where you have display networks that can pay you a CPM for that impression. Simply put RMX Direct ad code into an HTML file and point the network to it. Behold, 100% fill rate for your advertising.
Hopefully the above tips showed that a whole new level of power is available in managing contextual networks by using an ad server. You put the control in your own hands and can use it to optimize your contextual advertising.