Until a few years ago, displaying advertisement banners on blogs or websites was the primary source of income for most mommy bloggers. Banners would be found pasted across the header, footer, sidebar, within the post…basically, they would take up all the available white space on a website. What made them even more jarring to the eyes was that the advertisements were of poor design (color, font, etc.).
Even today most websites (both personal and business) show advertisement banners that are either static and unobtrusive (such as text ad on the sidebar) or dynamic and intrusive (such as pop-ups, exit intents, etc.). Visit any online news website and you will know.
But advertisement banners have come a long way. Not only have the aesthetics improved but the content is more targeted and often contextual. Bloggers now have the option to work directly with brands or join ad networks that offer you banners that best fit your website’s niche and audience.
How Bloggers Make Money: Advertising Banners
Let’s begin by understanding the display advertisement options available to you as a website owner.
Basically, you have two ways of doing this–work directly with brands or work with an ad network.
Working directly with brands
In such scenarios, a brand contacts you or you contact a brand to rent ad space on your website. The said ad could be in the form of a text, image, text+image, or even an animation or a video.
Don’t be surprised if many of the brands that contact you have nothing to do with your niche. Often, the brands send out scores of inquiries without filtering for a niche.
On the other hand, if it’s you who is going to reach out to brands, pitch to them why advertising on your website can be beneficial for them. Draw on your social proof.
Needless to say, if you are serious about building a blogging business or becoming an online influencer, you have to be very selective about the brands that you work with.
Now, assuming a good brand related closely to your niche pitches you an opportunity to display their banner on your website. It is common practice to quote a monthly rent amount such as this: your monthly unique visitors divided by 10.
Suppose you get 10K unique visitors on your website every month. You can pitch 10,000/10 = $1,000 per month.
Bigger influencers can charge even higher rates and some even invite bids.
As you can see, working with brands directly is much more profitable as far as display advertising is concerned.
Working with ad networks
For a mom blogger who is still in the early stages of blogging and without much social proof, working with advertisement networks is a more realistic option.
Don’t worry, mama! There are tons of ad networks that you can join beside the ubiquitous Google Adsense.
The reason Google Adsense is so popular is that it does not require a minimum number of page views to approve an account.
But the competition is tough.
According to some estimates, there are more than 440 million blogs in the world. A large number of these blogs today belong to stay at home moms who start a mom blog to either share their knowledge or to keep a diary of their mommy life.
Related Post: How to Monetize Your Blog
If ad networks were to approve even half of all the mom bloggers, they would be bankrupt within a few weeks. Therefore, many ad networks require a minimum number of monthly page views and may even apply geographic restrictions.
Google doesn’t stipulate these conditions but in return, it pays you just a few cents for every 1,000 views. When you have low traffic, mama, your monthly earning would be just a few dollars, if that.
Here’s a list of five popular advertisement networks for small publishers. Review the terms and conditions to determine if you can apply to be on their network.
- AdThrive: Major requirements:
- Google Analytics installed and running and a minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews
- The primary traffic should be U.S. based
- No previous advertising infringements and are not blacklisted by Google or other major providers
- Content is unique, original, amazing for audiences and advertisers
- Mediavine: Requires:
- At least 25k sessions per month (not page views, but sessions)
- A mobile-friendly site
- You take down all other existing ads on both desktop and mobile
- Adsense: The grand-dad of all ad networks, Google Adsense doesn’t stipulate any minimum requirements at the time of sign up.
- Media.net: Part of the Yahoo-Bing brand, they don’t have any minimum requirements (just like Google Adsense).
- AdClerks: No minimum requirements at the time of sign up.
- Sovrn: No minimum requirements at the time of sign up.
Please note that even though these websites list no minimum requirements at sign up, they will still review your application and website before approving your account. Make sure you have an active website/blog with some basic pages–such as About, Blog, Contact–published publicly.
Also, please note that except Google Adsense, I have not used any of the other aforementioned networks. I used Google Adsense during my first month and earned a grand total of $0.49 – Yay! Then I removed all the ads.
How do you earn from display banners?
Display ad banners are programmed to bring in the bucks in several different ways. CPM, CTR, CPA, and CPC are some common ways of measuring performance and calculating earnings.
CPM: Short for cost per mille, CPM refers to the cost per thousand page impressions. So, if a thousand people visit your website and view an ad, you will earn a certain amount. For example, if the CPM rate for an ad is $1, you will need 1,000 of your website visitors to view that ad before you will earn the dollar.
CTR: Short for click-through rate, CTR is a way of measuring an ad performance that takes into account the number of times visitors click on an ad divided by the total number of visitors who saw the ad. For example, if 100 out of 1000 people click on an ad, your CTR will be 0.1 and you will be paid as per the CTR slab determined by the advertiser.
CPA: Short for cost per acquisition, this method pays only when a certain condition, such as sign up or sale is completed. For example, if 10 people sign up for the advertiser’s newsletter or make a purchase, you earn an amount for each of those people.
CPC: Short for cost per click, CPC registers the number of clicks on a particular ad banner. So, if 100 website visitors click on a CPC ad valued at $0.01, you will earn one dollar at the end of it.
Direct advertisers or online ad networks–who should you work with?
As you can see, almost all measurement methods put the publisher (such as you) at a disadvantage.
Ad networks keep a percentage of advertising money they receive from the brand and pass on the rest to publishers such as bloggers. Because there are so many mouths to feed, the earnings from ad networks are very little for a new mom blogger. For a big blogger whose traffic runs into hundred-thousands or even millions, of course, the amount could be something to write about.
On the other hand, working with brands directly earns you more money because you get to pocket the entire fee. However, such opportunities are difficult to find for new bloggers. You cannot expect to start a new mommy blog today and earn hundreds of dollars from private brands. They will want to see a high amount of traffic on your blog in addition to proven social engagement. I am sure you are working on that.
Should you display ad banners on your website?
I have nothing against display ad banners, but personally, I don’t use them. If I ever reach a stage where I have 100K monthly traffic, I may give this a second thought but as of now, I am good.
But what about you, mama?
Here are some reasons why I am staying away from display ad banners (for now):
- They pay peanuts: Listen, the only reason you would consider including banners on your website is that you want to earn from them, right?
But for an average blogger whose traffic numbers are not in the high thousands, most banners don’t bring enough money to pay monthly bills.
- They compete for reader attention: Assuming you want to show ads on your website, I would recommend you choose ads that are customizable (to match your website aesthetics) and contextual (to match your content).
Just the other day, I was reading a blog post on writing skills, and the website header was displaying a banner from a local grocery store with photos of potato, tomato, and eggplant. Often I also find ads from online clothing stores on a business website. Ugh!
If you want to show me an ad, at least make it relevant to what I am looking for at that moment.
- They take up space from your brand: All the places where you can display ads are places where you can also promote your own products or services.
For example, let’s say you put up an add in the header or footer, you could utilize that space to show an awesome lead magnet of your own or promote a new course or service you are offering.
In the early days, ad banners used to be shown on the sidebar. But today, most websites are doing away with the sidebar because apparently, readers have learned to ignore the sidebar. So, you will notice that most established bloggers use the header area or the body of a blog post to display ads.
These are highly-coveted areas of your website. You should use this space to either display your own products and services or you should display high-quality ads. Please don’t spoil the aesthetics (and thus credibility) of your blog by display Adsense banners in the middle of your post or in the header.
That, however, is my opinion. You need to make your choice, mama.
Who can earn from display banners?
Let’s say you decide in favor of displaying ad banners.
To earn a decent amount solely from these banners, you need to have high traffic numbers on your website. The numbers, however, vary between third-party ad networks and private brands.
Most ad networks will require you to have a minimum number of page views of unique visitors.
Related Post: How to Rank Higher on Google and Explode Your Pageviews
However, the earning potential is much higher when you do business with a private brand directly.
Suppose you have consistent 10K monthly views, maybe you can charge the private brand 50 cents on a CPM basis. That means for every 1,000 views, you earn 50 cents. That’s about 1,000 dollars in your kitty per month.
Depending on your domain authority and traffic numbers, your CPM cost could be much higher.
How to get approved by ad networks?
Each ad network comes with its own set of terms and conditions for accepting new publishers.
It is essential that you find out what those terms and conditions are and ensure that your website complies accordingly.
At a very high level, following are some of the most common requirements to get accepted into ad networks.
- Primary language: Most ad networks require that the primary language of your website be English. So, if you want to run a blog in, say German, you may want to build your website in English and provide translation tools.
- Geographic restrictions: Many networks also stipulate that your primary traffic is from a particular geographic region, such as North America or the European Union. Typically, users from these locations earn higher ad rates than audiences based in Asia and Africa.
- Minimum traffic numbers: Increasingly, ad networks require you to have a minimum amount of traffic flow. This can range from pageviews to sessions to unique visitors. It could also require you to prove that the number is stable or increasing over a predetermined period of time, such as 30 days or 90 days.
- Website currency: Ad networks require that your website is an active one. For this, they require that you have 3-5 blog posts as well as basic pages, such as About, Contact, and Privacy published.
- Exclusivity: Many ad networks require that you host only their banners. For example, if you sign up with Mediavine, they require that you not show ads from any other network or brands.
When working with a private brand, they may even ask you to place the ad “above the fold.”
This means it should be displayed in the landing area of your blog, i.e. the area that users can see without having to scroll down.
How to place banners on your website?
Once approved, brands and ad networks will provide you with a code that you need to publish on your website.
Ads can be published on your website in the following two ways:
- Using plugins or widgets
In WordPress, you can install the sidebar widgets, such as Custom HTML, and then paste the code into that widget. When published the ad will show in the sidebar.
If you want to display the ad in the header or footer area, you can use a plugin such Insert Headers and Footers to paste the code in.
If you want to display the ad in the body of your blog post, switch over to the Text tab of your WordPress Authorware and paste the code where you want the banner to show up.
Where to place banners on your website?
The short answer is any white space on your website can host a banner.
Typically, you will find website owners display ads in the following areas:
- Within the post
Among these, the most effective places are the header area and within the post.
Most ad networks will provide pre-designed placeholders to display your ads. For example, header banners (also known as leaderboard) will typically be 728 x 90.
Make sure your website theme supports the prescribed sizes.
So, those were all the tips I have for you this week.
What about you–do you earn from display banners? Which brands or ad networks have you found the most success with? Share with me in the comments.
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