5 Things to do before you start monetizing with ads: A Pre-Ad monetization checklist

5 Things to do before you start monetizing with ads: A Pre-Ad monetization checklist

Making the decision to start monetizing your content is often a big stepping stone for publishers. For some, it will be a period of trial and error and there’s a good chance one or two hurdles will arise. Tasks like optimising site designs, following accessibility best practices, understanding new advertising standards and much more. But, not to fear! Venatus has been in the ad-tech game for over 10 years now and here is our foundational checklist of all the things to consider when looking to monetize your site with ads.

1. Organic SEO – Make it easy for Google etc. to crawl and index your site. 

Search engines use ‘crawlers’ to assess the content on your website while also assessing page load speed and mobile layouts among other things. The results of these crawls determine your site’s authority in a given topic area or industry based on how relevant it is deemed to be. Using relevant keywords for your niche will grow a well curated audience and traffic volumes will grow as your site moves up the SERP (search engine results page). Here are a few things to consider when assessing your site’s overall SEO health: 

  • Clear navigation structure

  • Relevant page title tags 

  • Mobile friendliness

  • Page load speeds

  • Volume / regularity of new content

2. CMP – ensure you have an appropriate Consent Management Platform

A CMP is a piece of code used to collect and manage consent from visitors to your website. This code protects the privacy of your users and ensures any data collection has the user’s consent. In short, a CMP lets users know that they have control of their data and privacy. 

Why is it important to have a CMP?

Having a CMP ensures your website is compliant with data protection laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

How do I get a CMP?

Most advertising partners will offer an integrated CMP within a publisher solution. When searching for a CMP, we recommend ensuring your chosen CMP has passed the compliance checks required by IAB Europe’s CMP Compliance Programme. You can find the complete list of IAB Europe compliant CMPs here: https://iabeurope.eu/cmp-list/

3. Design your content and layouts for ads 

The way your content is formatted can have a significant impact on your ad performance, especially when it comes to viewability. In simple form, the longer your page or article is, the more potential there is to display ads. So here are a few things to keep in mind when posting content on your site: 

  • Separate paragraphs with relevant images

  • Hit your word-count, around 600 words + is recommended

  • Keep the sidebar clear, leaving appropriate space for display ads

4. Measurement – ensure you’ll be able to easily see how your ads are performing

Whether you are working with an ad partner or a self serve platform, ensure you are comfortable with the reporting tools available to you. It’s next to impossible to optimise your ad setup if you are unaware of good or bad performance metrics. For example, Venatus offers publishers an intuitive UI, clearly displaying all the information a publisher should know to evaluate their overall ad performance. 

5. Research advertising options and understand the key terms

Understanding the options available to you when it comes to selling your ad space is vitally important, especially if you’re considering partnering with an AdOps team. For example, most ad vendors will focus on programmatic campaigns, helping you sell your advertising via multiple DSPs. More robust publisher ad partners will have expert teams booking direct campaigns for your site, proactively filling your ads for specific campaigns looking to reach your audience demographics. Venatus believes it’s important to offer both to publishers, maximising ad yield and potential revenue generation. Here’s a list of acronyms / terms publishers should understand before beginning to monetize: 

  • CPM – Cost per mille(thousand) – the cost to the advertiser per 1000 impressions of their advert on your website.

  • RTB – Real-time bidding – the process by which advertisers purchase advertising, bidding against other advertisers.

  • DSP / SSP – Demand / Server Side Platform – you could write a book about these technologies (and some have) but in summary these are software / technology used to buy and sell digital advertising space on RTB networks.

  • Ad Viewability – an online advertising metric that aims to determine whether an ad impression had the opportunity to be seen or not. In short, it’s a metric to illustrate to advertisers that they are not paying for ads that are hidden at the bottom of the screen, they are only charged for ads where at least half their display ad for example, is shown for a second or more (according to the IAB)