Today’s post is about our agency’s recent qualification as a Google AdSense Certified Partner: to summarize, we are fully trained to help other fellow publishers ( we are one too!) improve the revenue they make out of their online content ( or – if you look at it from a different perspective – not leaving on the table fair revenue they could make ). The keyword to keep strongly in mind here is: long term optimization.
Let’s get some context.
Some people ( and companies ) out there make a revenue using a monetization program run by Google, called Google AdSense (which, by the way, just turned 10 years old): some make less and some more; for some it’s just a small part of their revenue, for others it’s quite an hefty chunk of it.
How much money Google AdSense moves? The actual amount is north of 10 billion dollars, and a good number of online content providers ( the actual number is around 100.000 ) in 2012 shared a rather interesting pie: 7 billion dollars.
Quite some numbers, which make Google AdSense “the monetization program” of reference.
It’s not all bells and whistles, of course: many jump on board the program run by Google skipping corners and trying to get “fast money”, bending the strict rules of the program or plain breaking them. The outcome? Usually a lifetime ban, which is ultimately there to protect the quality of the experience for those that pay the bills ( advertisers and content users) and as well, the efforts of the publishers that play along the rules.
Monetizing properly content through advertising is a juggler’s job, as you really have to balance the value you bring to multiple stakeholders: content users, advertisers, search engines all call for proper attention. It’s actually multiple contextual balances, depending on the various combinations, and when you throw the “time” variable in the picture, it really gets complicated.
Let’s pretend you have a blog and let’s say you’ve written a great article about frozen yogurt, suggesting interesting toppings.
You would like to monetize your effort, and you put an ad space on the post page, say along side the article you wrote. You actually make little out of it, as once people focus on the article ( which is engaging ), they tend to ignore other page areas.
So you have an idea, and put an extra ad space on the bottom of the article: that’s great, but still, not making you much, how comes? After some unraveling, you discover that after all, the title is not a real hook, and visitors just bounce back to where they came from.
That’s when you get your ha-ha moment, and put an extra ad space just under the title, but since you have little space there, you end up with a very small ad unit.
What you are missing is that small ad units have less inventory, so they usually convert for less, but you’re not really aware of it because what it really boils down to is that you love frozen yogurt and you found great ways to mix toppins, and you just wanted to share it with the world and why not, make some money out of it.
And look at that post page now: it’s full of ad spaces, and if you let things continue on that trend, its soon going to be crowded with inline advertising, interstitials, etc.
It’s an “everybody looses” scenario: the content users really get upset when they end up into this type of sites, as they have to fight their way through content and ultimately, they’d rather not come back. The advertisers might get clicks, but how much “intent” is there in these click and how much are they out of desperation? The publisher itself might not notice, but people is not “sticking” to his site, his efforts to have people come back become harder and harder, and ultimately he has to put in more efforts for less outcome.
There are, of course, better ways. See, something that made – among other things – Google Adsense’s success, is their algorithm, that picks “relevant” advertising out of the pool, to display it to the content user: if there’s something out there that can be called “useful advertising”, the closest expression of it you can find is what Google worked out with its fine tuning (not always so, but to a good extent).
With this in mind, our frozen yogurt toppings expert could have actually achieved more out of his efforts?
This is where optimization steps in: finding a proper balance between revenue and the overall experience of all the stakeholders.
In the specific case, it could be that the best outcome for everyone is not leading the content user to get out of the site, but to subscribe to a weekly frozen yogurts toppings tips, engaging him to return to the site over and over, and get exposed to more content that is suitable for proper monetization ( say, e.g. an article about getting all your frozen yogurt without going bankrupt and actually starting your frozen yogurt business ).
Content users are not all the same: they come from different paths, use different devices ( and smartphones are rapidly becoming “the device” ), and different attention spans, etc.
A proper long term optimization plan takes this all in account and not only improves the per visit revenue a publishers makes, but also improves the overall health of his online property, making it more appealing to the various stakeholders and ultimately, helping him build a brand.
It’s never too early to start “optimizing”, nor too late: as a publisher, you just have to keep your balance and not scramble when you realize how much you left on the table.
Frozen yogurt, anyone?
If you’d like to read more about our monetization optimization services, browse at http://adsense.axura.com/en/, we’ll be glad to help!