Website monetization can be tricky for ad supported sites. Ad inventory is limited, selling directly to advertisers is difficult, third-party creative isn’t always relevant to your audience, and networks often can’t account for every impression. With all these challenges, real innovation is required to improve the bottom line.
Adding revenue doesn’t have to include more of the typical Advertiser Network offerings, such as banner, native, or sidebar ads, or displacing ads your team has sold. It can be as simple as trying a new kind of ad unit—one you might not even know about. We’ll revisit that option in a minute, but first, let’s start with a critical definition.
What Are Advertiser Networks?
Advertiser networks are third parties that mediate between marketers and publishers with ad space.
They work when advertisers pay to distribute their ads across partner websites. Typically, the visual and messaging options are limitless, as long as creative falls within set terms of service. Website owners get paid a share of the revenue based on the number of payable actions (ad impressions, clicks, conversions, etc.) with algorithms swapping ads in and out at will to optimize performance for advertisers. One popular example is Google AdSense, but there are many others, big and small, including Yahoo!, Bing, Taboola and Outbrain.
This system works well, because marketers don’t have to reach out to hundreds of websites to get their ads widely distributed, and site owners don’t have to hire a sales team to sell into advertisers, to make money from their content and users’ attention.
Downsides of Ad Networks
There are downsides to most ad networks, however. A common complaint is that web property owners usually don’t have very much control over what’s shown on their site. Even though networks and third parties try to serve relevant ads, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, they can be distracting, or even inappropriate.
Some advertising gaffes can be amusing, like this Aflac AdSense placement, but they’re certainly not relevant for the site owner. Credit /dougbelshaw
Even if ad quality is high, placement opportunities are becoming harder to find, as every inch of every page gets utilized. As users continue to consume content while ignoring advertising, a premium is placed on ad placements that capture attention regularly and reliably. One such area is the thank you page. It’s often overlooked due to poor performance with traditional IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) ads. However, Opt-In Ads were designed for thank you pages and take advantage of the consumer sign-up mindset to provide significant consumer value while maximizing inventory value.
What Are Opt-In Ads?
Opt-in Ads are highly interactive ad units placed on the thank you and confirmation pages of websites, shown immediately after a consumer signs up or registers on that site. When visitors land on such pages, they’re given the opportunity to sign up to receive emails from other interesting and relevant companies.
At the end of the process, the host website gets paid for every opt-in, which provides incremental revenue, and advertisers get high-quality leads and subscribers.
“Opting-in” by definition requires users to voluntarily raise a virtual hand and say, “Yes, I want that,” when presented with an opportunity to sign up, such as a newsletter signup. This agreement is confirmed through an active click to opt in, the consumer completing entry of any missing contact information or custom questions, and is confirmed through an active tap or click of the submit button.
Unlike AdSense ads, Opt-In Ads don’t require the user to leave the host website, which improves visitor experience. After interacting with the ad unit and confirming any opt-ins, users can continue to navigate on the host website. Successful subscribers are sent an email or other confirmation communication from the advertiser, so they can begin their new relationship with the brand on their own schedule.
An example of an opt-in ad that would show after registering on a site
Publisher payouts for Opt-In Ad placements are also typically much higher than what you’d receive from an ad network or AdSense unit. Payouts for networks within this inventory will range from $1 to $10 CPM (Cost per one thousand impressions), while Opt-In Ads provide effective payouts as high as $150 to $300 CPMs for the same traffic. This makes Opt-In Ads a great option to supplement regular display efforts on placements that aren’t typically well monetized.
At the end of the process, the host website gets paid higher CPMs than typical ads, consumers get introduced to relevant brands through a seamless and non-intrusive platform, and advertisers get high-quality leads and subscribers. It’s a win-win-win.