Your RPM (“Revenue per mille”, or how much money you make for every 1000 pageviews) is determined mostly by one thing: your site’s value to advertisers. So what actually makes your site more valuable and impacts your RPM?
First, a quick background on how your ad value is determined when you’re with AdThrive.
With AdThrive’s technology, every time a reader comes to your site, our technology gathers information about that person to share with advertisers: their age and demographics, the device they’re using, where they’re located, whether they tend to buy online frequently, etc. Each advertiser evaluates that reader to decide how likely that specific reader is to buy their product, then submits an instant bid for the chance to show their ad to this specific reader. Every ad and every pageview is decided with an instant bid among thousands of advertisers!
The highest paying bid wins, it’s all recorded, and you’re paid. Cha-ching!
Let’s say a reader on your site is located in the U.S., has a high income, and has recently shopped online for dining tables. You can imagine that a furniture store would want to place a high bid to advertise to that person! This would be a super valuable reader for you.
This auction happens on every single pageview, for every single ad that shows, in a fraction of a second! Our technology works to optimize that auction - to bring more and better advertisers to the table and to help them “see” what they’re getting, so they’re willing to bid more money for the opportunity to advertise to your readers.
What encourages higher bids?
This is the BIGGEST thing - the quality of your readers.* Every site has a unique “traffic thumbprint” that determines how much it can earn.
Advertisers prefer to advertise to people who are in the United States, using a desktop computer, who have recently bought something like what they’re selling. That means:
- If you get a lot of readers who have their cookies blocked or view your site from an incognito window (so advertisers can’t “see” their interests), your RPM will be lower.
- If you get a larger ratio of desktop traffic, your RPM will be higher.
- If you get a larger ratio of US-based traffic, your RPM will be higher.
Ultimately, each bid for each ad impression is based on the value that particular reader can bring to the advertiser.
That means that these things DON’T impact your RPM:
- Content (except in rare situations.). Advertisers like Nike want to advertise running shoes to readers who’ve been searching for new kicks, even if they’re reading an article about cookies.
- Your blog niche. (Two blogs within the same niche can have readers with very different levels of value to advertisers!)
- The size of your site. Size is much less important than quality; each pageview is its own auction and they don’t get more valuable just because there are more of them. Advertisers are primarily looking for high value readers and sites they trust to display quality, original content.
What else DOES impact your RPM?
- Viewability. Advertisers can tell when an ad is SEEN in the readers’ screen (versus loaded in the footer and never seen, for example.) Each ad unit is assigned a viewability score. An ad that’s in a high-viewability location of your site (like within the paragraphs of a post), will have a higher viewability score than an ad loading in the footer. This is why we’re always encouraging moving your ads to higher-viewability locations! Sticky sidebars, recipe ads, and content ads all receive high viewability marks and make your site more valuable to advertisers.
- Site speed. Your ads load after your content, so if your content takes a long time to load, that impacts your ad auction and can bring down your RPM. We’ll have lots of information on how to improve site speed right here all summer!
- Reader Engagement. Your AdThrive ads refresh every so often, so a reader who leaves your site open in their browser for a long time is significantly more valuable to you (because they’ll earn more refreshes!) than a reader who opens your site and closes it quickly.
- The location and number of ads you run. There’s definitely a maximum number of ads we’d like our sites to run, to keep our network clean and valuable to advertisers, so we don’t recommend just adding more ads to increase your RPM! We DO recommend making sure you have a healthy balance of ads to content, and that the ads you’re running are in high-viewability, high paying locations.
We like to think of it like this:
(The value of your readers) x (The value of your ad layout) = Your RPM potential.
If you have high value readers, your RPM will be exponentially better with a strong ad layout. But even the best ad layout can’t overcome low-value readers. To get the maximum RPM for your site, you need a strong, high viewability ad layout AND high-value readers.