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Monetize Website With Ads: A How To Guide

There are several ways to monetize a website with ads. We have written a couple of articles focused on Google specifically, check them out here and here. But Google isn’t the only way to effectively monetize a website with ads. Here are two non-Google approaches to making money from your website.

Monetize Website with Ads Tips

Affiliate Marketing/ Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to monetize your website with advertising.

It is easy to get started. Find a product you like and would recommend. Then on your website, you endorse the product and promote it to your website visitors and email subscribers. If the product or service resonates with these people, they’ll click on your affiliate link, purchasing the product (while you get a split of the sale price).

The commission might be anywhere from 30% of the product or service price, up to as high as 70%. For example, if the split is 50% and you promote a product that costs $10, you’ll get $5 for simply referring the buyer.

Here are some affiliate marketing companies to investigate to start monetizing your website:

Sell Ad Space on Your Website

One option is to sell your ad space through Google AdSense and utilize their large network of websites. Or, another option, is to simply sell your own ad space directly to companies looking to sponsor different websites like yours.

You get paid depending on how many visitors you get. Websites typically quote based on one thousand impressions (or CPM). You might see it as: $5 CPM. So, if the website gets 100,000 visits a month, that ad price translates into $500.

Another common approach to monetize your website with ads is providing a direct price. This works by charging a flat fee for advertisers to market their products on your website. Because this is a flat rate, you are not having to provide impressions or click information.

Indirect Advertising

A new option is the OffSite marketplace, a platform that creates a marketplace for you to share your website audience with advertisers but keep their privacy.

Website-owners approve all ads, but ads don’t show on the website-owner’s website. The OffSite platform serves up the ads through the Google Search and Display network, so ads are never tied back to the website-owner.

It’s a win-win situation for both website/audience-owners and advertisers. OffSite marketplace creates revenue for the website-owner and advertisers gain access to highly-qualified audiences.

Google Advertising on My Website

How to Use Google?

Your website or blog is gaining momentum and you may start to wonder to yourself, “how can I use Google Advertising on my website to make money?”

Adsense is Google’s advertising platform that places sponsored ads on websites. Ads are relevant to the content of your site, which produces higher returns for the advertiser, AdSense (the platform), and you (the publisher).

Ads are sponsored by businesses that use Google Ads, a platform to launch and manage ads. Advertisers are eager to reach audiences that seek content related to their products. Therefore, they benefit from running ads next to relevant content.

AdSense is a pay-per-click program, meaning advertisers pay for ads by the amount of clicks an ad receives. For this reason, Google benefits from placing targeted ads near relevant content.

As an AdSense publisher, you earn money every time a visitor clicks an ad on your site. For instance, if you post recipes on your website, the ads that appear on your site may be for appliance or baking retailers.

How to Set Up AdSense

Apply to Google AdSense

Sites must meet certain eligibility requirements to participate in AdSense. For instance, sites should be active for at least 6 months before it will be considered.

Configure Your Ads

In this step, you will select which types of ads you would like to run on your site. You may select text, display or a search box. Depending on your website, you may also set the sizes available to advertisers. For instance, you may choose to run banners, leaderboards, skyscrapers, billboards, etc.

Install the Google AdSense Code on Your Site

Google will provide snippets of code to insert on your site. This code connects AdSense to your website. You may choose to install this code on the site’s template.

But, how can I use Google Advertising on my website to make money?

For more information on using Google Advertising on your website, see our article How to Make Money with Google Ads.

AdSense gives you some editorial control over the ads that run on your website. You may either block or review ads, which will affect your bottom line.

For instance, you can choose to block ads by your competitors. In addition, you can block ads from general categories (apparel, real estate, vehicles) and sensitive categories (religion, politics). Through the Ad Review Center, publishers can review and take action on individual ads.

Stay tuned for future posts about how to monetize your website!

Behavioral Advertising

Imagine the last time you shopped online for shoes. You likely browsed several websites in search of the right style. After not finding the right shoe, you moved on to reading the news. In the article you read, you notice a display ad for shoes from a completely different website. This is an example of behavioral advertising.

Behavioral Advertising is the practice of serving ads to certain users based on their web behavior. Advertisers create relevant ads based on the user’s browsing history.

In this article, we will cover how behavioral advertising works and why it benefits advertisers.

How Advertisers Use Behavioral Targeting

1. Collect Cookies

When a person visits a website, the site drops a cookie on the user’s hard drive. A cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website. The cookie is stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser. Next, the tracking pixel embedded on the site sends user information to the ad serving platform.

2. Create User Profiles

A variety of platforms store and route this type of data. For instance, advertisers may choose to route data through a third-party data management platform or ad serving platform. On the selected platform, this cookie and web activity is associated with a unique user profile.

Information that is gathered includes:

Demographic Information

  • Age and gender
  • Geographic location

Behavioral Information

  • Time spent on a website
  • Clicks
  • Recency of visit
  • Purchase histories
  • Signals of intent
  • Computer browsers
  • Device data
  • Pages browsed on a website
  • Subscription/registration entries

3. Designate Audience Segment

Next, the platform searches for patterns in user personas or profiles. Advertisers group similar profiles into segments based on the data points collected by the cookies. This process is called audience segmentation.

4. Create Messages that Target Segments

The segment data is a powerful tool for advertisers to understand their unique customer groups. Therefore, advertisers can create messages that are highly relevant to each segment.

The Shoe that Follows You

Let’s return to our example of shoe-shopping. Maybe after an hour of shoe-shopping, you give up on the search. Later, you decide to browse some of your favorite blogs. You may notice banner ads displaying shoes or shoe discounts.

Perhaps you have been searching for a specific pair of leather boots. It’s not a coincidence that ads for a similar pair of shoes seem to follow you while you browse the web.

An advertiser’s data management platform likely noted your clicks, the time you spent on a page, your intent to purchase and the recency of your visit. Due to your browsing history, your user profile fell into a specific audience segment.

The advertiser has created a specific message based on your browsing history. Therefore, the ad-serving platform knows to show you a shoe similar to the one you browsed.

Benefits of Behavioral Advertising

Traditional advertising can seem hit or miss. In other words, carefully crafted messages fall short if they don’t reach the right audience. Consequently, advertisers waste valuable resources and time on ineffective advertising.

On the other hand, behavioral advertising serves the right ad to the right customer at the right time.

Behavioral targeting increases user engagement and click through rates (CTR). As a result, conversion rates improve. Best of all, advertisers see a higher return on investment (ROI) for ads.

Internet users are more likely to click ads that are relevant. According to a recent study by the American Marketing Association, ads using behavior targeting saw CTRs improve by up to 670%.

In addition, average conversion rates sky rocket, according to a study by the Network Advertising Initiative. Ads using demographic targeting lead to a 2.8% conversion rate. However, ads using behavioral advertising lead to a 6.8% conversion rate!

The Right Ad at the Right Time

In conclusion, behavioral advertising can be an extremely powerful tool for advertisers. By serving the right ad at the right time to the right customer, advertisers will see their ad success improve.

What is Programmatic Direct Advertising?

Programmatic Direct is one of the fastest-growing areas of digital advertising. According to Google, in the United States one in every two dollars spent programmatically now runs through a direct deal.

Programmatic Direct adoption has been so quick thanks to the hybrid of control and reach for both buyers and sellers.

Let’s start with the most important question:

What is Programmatic Direct?

At its core, Programmatic Direct brings buyers and sellers of digital advertising together. Let’s discuss what is in it for buyers and sellers from their perspectives.

Publishers use Programmatic Direct to package together specific inventory from their sites and apps (you can learn more about site monetization here). They, in turn, make those packages available to marketers to buy programmatically.

Marketers use direct deals to reach their target audience by purchasing this kind of premium inventory directly from publishers or buyers. Buyers, like marketers, typically use a demand-side platform (DSP), such as DoubleClick.

Programmatic Direct Examples

Okay, we have the definition of direct deals but how does all of this work together?

Publisher (Seller) Perspective:

You are an entertainment publisher that might package together all of the television show sections of your site to sell to buyers interested in reaching specific customers wanting to buy tv related products.

Marketer (Buyer):

A television network advertiser is looking to reach tv show enthusiasts and may be interested in buying ads on one of the above publisher sections.

Bringing it Together:

If the marketer is looking to specifically target tv show enthusiasts that are men in Mexico, for example, Programmatic Direct is necessary. Programmatic Direct provides the targeting and controls required to reach that audience.

Go Beyond Programmatic Direct

Programmatic Direct advertising can be great. But marketers no longer need to limit themselves to the inventory that publishers maintain on their site.

You can go beyond standard Programmatic Direct and still gain access to highly targeted and controlled audiences.

The most valuable offsite audiences you want to target are now available through the OffSite marketplace.

The OffSite marketplace gives you access thousands of third-party, highly-qualified, low-funnel audiences with only a few clicks.

How To Make Money With Google Ads

Google Adsense is the simplest first step to creating a revenue stream for your website or blog content.   

With over 90% of the search marketshare, Google has established itself as the go-to option when content owners want to take the first step to monetizing their site.   Google AdSense will place ads on your website based on relevance, ensuring the most bang for your buck for both the advertiser and you.   Google does the heavy lifting by selecting appropriate ads for your site based on search histories.  They also make it easy by allowing you to select the size, placement and platforms on which you want ads to display.

But before you run out and start making it rain, there are a few notes of caution when adding display ads to your site:

  1. Don’t display ads on e-commerce sites or pages where you are promoting your own product or service.   Since display ads are based on relevance, you have the potential to advertise a competing product or service.  
  2. Traffic, Traffic, Traffic.   The more traffic your site generates, the more revenue per impression and click your displayed ads will generate.
  3. Don’t forget why you created the website in the first place.   A lot like sesame oil, one drop or ad can complement without distracting but adding multiple ads to a single page will crowd out the content and drive users away.   No users, no clicks, no money.  

Once you’ve mastered the basics of ads, there is a whole other world involving videos, in-game/app advertising for us to explore but we will save that for another post!

How to Find Your Target Market

Defining your target market is an important piece to a successful business. Your product or service may appeal to a wide audience, but you may find focusing your communications and advertising on a specific target can be more effective and cost efficient.

If you are not sure how to find your target market, the guide below can help.


What is a Target Market?

A target market, or audience, is a particular group of people that a company wants to sell its product or service to. Instead of trying to reach everyone, a company can use target marketing to put their energy into connecting with a specific group.

Finding the right target market to sell your product to can provide benefits to a company’s bottom line. With the right target market, you can focus your message toward the audience who is most likely to make a purchase. Therefore, eliminating wasteful advertising dollars.

Step 1: Review Your Product or Service

The first step in finding your target market is to create a list of your product’s main features. Then, outline the benefits those features provide. Ask yourself what needs does your product or service fulfill for a potential customer?  How does your product differ from your competitors? Is your product affordable? Or higher quality?

Furthermore, think about who might be interested and who may benefit from having access to what you are offering.  These are the people that will make up your target market. You may even find that you have multiple groupings that may be interested in your product. For example, sandals may be of interest to people who live at the beach or people who may be planning a vacation to the beach. Therefore, it may be beneficial to set up campaigns that target both groups.

Step 2: Analyze Your Current Customers

The next step is to take a look at who is currently purchasing your product or service. Defining your target market can be as easy as looking at your best customers. Do they have any traits in common? Perhaps a similar age bracket, gender, or location? This can be done by interviewing former and current customers, analyzing your web analytics, and engaging in social listening on social media.

If your product is brand new, research your closest competitors to see if there are any insights you can gather. How are they marketing their products and to whom? You want to avoid making assumptions. Instead, rely on as much data and information that is available to you. Because the more information you have, the easier it is to identify your target market.

Step 3: Create Customer Profiles

Once you have gathered information from the first two steps, you can use that information to create your customer profiles.  Customers who find your product or service appealing often share similar characteristics.  You can craft a customer profile to uncover those shared traits. Start with demographic criteria and then layer on psychographic criteria.

Demographic criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Geographic location
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status

Psychographic criteria paints a more wholistic picture of your target market:

  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Attitudes
  • Behaviors
  • Values
  • Lifestyle

Here’s a quick example. A broad target market for a video game company may be educated adults 18-34 years old who enjoy technology and sports. This consumer profile can then be further refined based on the genre of video game. A car racing game may attract males 18-34 who enjoy watching Formula 1 racing and staying up to date on automotive news. From here you can plan better focused marketing initiatives. Your advertising placements can target properties that over-index on interest to males and car enthusiasts. Everything from tone of voice in your communications to advertising targeting parameters should be centered around your target market definition.

Step 4: Optimize for Success

Finally, once you have defined your target market it’s time to test your hypothesis and see how it impacts your business. One way is to utilize paid advertising initiatives leveraging audience data matching your consumer profile. Doing this can help you see if focusing on your target market boosts sales. From there, consistently testing, optimizing and adjusting your target market will be key to achieving marketing success.

How to Monetize a Website

Whether you started a website to support your business or you started a blog to share your passion, there are many tools available to monetize a website. In the list below, we outline a number of options. When monetizing a website, consider selecting a range of tools, instead of just one. Consider different combinations and test them, until you find the right ones for your website.

Continue reading “How to Monetize a Website”