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Driving Forward > Digital Marketing Blog

Monetizing Your Site Traffic

Sometimes I like to post emails that I send to clients when they ask interesting questions. (Of course I XXXX out their names and contact info.

This client is looking into monetizing their site and was seeking some info. Here is what I said:

Hi Harry,

Hope this finds you well. It seems as if we have some great momentum going right now. I appreciate the time you’ve put in to reviewing our business. The more frequent meetings and analytic reports have been very helpful. I know that XXXXXX and XXXXXX feel the same way.

I’m doing some research on a potential project and would appreciate any insight on the following

Display Advertising:

What are your thoughts about not investing in online (display) advertising until you hit 1M page views per month? Would you say that’s true?

H: When you say “investing in online (display)” do you mean setting up an infrastructure to accommodate some kind of advertising on your site? If so 1 million page views per month is plenty and you certainly do not need to be at that level – especially if your visitors represent a targeted high value/high cpm/high cpm audience.

What’s usually the minimum amount of traffic (in PVs or unique views) before you can work with a reputable ad network with relevant ads?

H: If you do Google AdSence there is no minimum and if your content is attracting a high value audience and ads that have high bids then you can get a lot for a click even with the Google rev share. Some networks will work with anyone, burst requires 10,000 visits per month. However, be careful with ad networks – they have very few B2B or high end advertisers and you don’t want to end up with or Dating Site banners on your site. If you want to monetize your site I would start with Google AdSence – they would have the most pre-sold terms garnering the highest cost per clicks.

You can also explore Ad Exchanges that allow you to set the price for your ads and control who advertises there. Start with Right Media:
Click Take The Tour:

Determining a starting CPM – any reference material for us?
H: Send me the sites that you want to monetize and we can get rate cards from comparable sites. CPMs can range form $1 to $100 depending on how targeted they are. Newsletter and email also command a premium CPM. You can also do site takeover sponsorships which are good for low traffic high-value sites. There is a lot less selling involved to – you just sell them by the day, week or even month. Certainly sites in the XXXXXX space that have the XXXX brand could most likely command a high CPM or CPC.

From the companies that you work with where do you see the balance shift between companies with their own inside ad sales group vs. working through a network?

H: Typically sites sell as much as they can direct (especially their premium real estate and site takeover sponsorships) and use AdSence and Networks for unsold inventory. Also, there are specialty and freelance reps who can sell just your inventory. That way you get control over who advertises on your site. (I know an independent rep who sells for the American Marketing Association if you want me to connect you with him.) You could also try and bundle your site with other XXXXXX property ad packages.

CPC Advertising:
What are some appropriate metrics for modeling text ad revenue? For example, what’s an average CPC rate? I would say conservatively .75 but that could be low?

H: I think AdSence from Google is the way to go with this as some of the ads can come from very expensive keywords so even with the rev share you may get $.75+ per click. Certainly $.75 to $1.00 is a good average if you are selling direct – if you are part of a network like Google or ValueClick again it is very hard to say – it depends on the value of your audience and traffic volume of your site.

Is there anything close to standard ad revenue splits between publisher and ad networks?
It is hard to say. Google does not disclose its rev share (see link below) and it all depends on the value of your audience and volume of site traffic. Clearly if you get a lot of traffic and have a high value audience you can command and bigger rev share.

Who do you think are the interesting text ad networks (other than Google)?

H: You should also think about Intellitxt form Vibrant media – that way you can monetize the actual words with in your copy in addition to standard ad real estate.
See info and demo at:

Let me know if you need more info. Certainly we could do a more in depth study of what kind of ad revenue you could generate based on factors like audience value, ad unit and placement offerings, CPC vs. CPM and traffic levels. We have consultants we work with that help media properties project ad revenue and create high value advertising products, media kits and rate cards.

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