Having a Web site without online ads is like having a storefront that’s half empty; why would you pay for wasted space that could be filled with sellable product? Whether you have a business site, blog, or RSS feed, selling advertising space is a relatively effortless way to make some extra money.
There are several options when it comes to selling ads on your Web site, but one of the easiest is joining an ad network. Ad networks do all the dirty work for you: They find advertisers, negotiate terms, pick ads, and so on. All you have to do is fill out a form with information about your Web site. The only downside to using an ad network is that you sacrifice a percentage of the ad revenue — sometimes as much as 50 percent. But if you don’t have the time or resources to hunt down advertisers and sell your own ads, it can be a small price to pay.
There are hundreds of ad networks to choose from. According to a recent comScore ranking, the most popular ad networks are:
Each ad network has its own set of rules and offerings, so when choosing one keep the following in mind.
Revenue options: Each ad network is based on a specific payment model. There are several revenue options to choose from, but some of the most popular are below.
- CPC or CTR mean you get paid for every click.
- CPM means you get paid for impressions (i.e., banner or page views).
- CPL/CPA means you’re paid for every lead or sale your site generates.
Payment terms and methods: Cash flow is king, so choose an ad network that meets your payment needs. Find out how long it will take to get paid and how you’ll be paid. Payment terms can range from 30 to 120 days and payment methods can range from check to direct deposit to PayPal.
Contract terms: Read everything before signing on the dotted line. How long is the contract for? What’s the cancellation policy for both parties? Is it an exclusive agreement?
The network’s reputation: What’s the ad network’s track record? You want to choose a network that is successful at selling advertising, paying publishers (you) on time, and fixing glitches quickly.
The quality of ads: Which advertisers do they work with and what types of ads do they run? You want to protect your online brand by only using quality advertisements. Also, find out if you’re able to filter out advertisements that you don’t want appearing, such as competitors’ ads.
Stats and tracking: You’ll need to know how effective the advertising is on your site, so take a look at how frequently the ad network updates its statistics and ad tracking. Some ad networks provide real-time reporting, while others update their reports once a day or only once a week.
Site compatibility: When designing your Web site, keep advertising space in mind. Ads come in several different sizes and formats, including 728-by-90 leaderboards, 468-by-60 horizontal banners, 120-by-600 vertical skyscrapers, and 300-by-250 rectangles. You don’t want your Web site design and functionality to be interrupted by an incompatible ad.
With so many ad networks to choose from, a little due diligence can put you in the hands of a network that will meet all of your needs. Stop wasting space and start pocketing some extra cash with a quality ad network.