Why does everything have to be a challenge all the time? All I want to do is come to work, spend time with good people, work up ideas, create, build, and execute beautifully. It should be so easy.
Digital publishing — no, publishing — by its very nature is challenging. Trying to dig out the perfect audience with content they love so your advertisers reach the people they want to is not simple.
The reader pays a bit, the advertiser pays a bit, and they all keep paying so you have a business. All you have to do next is be the best at it in your market.
Then, along comes digital — a massive opportunity — and you apply the same methodology. Only this time you aren’t the best, the model is different, and everyone wants it for free. Your competitors appear out of nowhere and their companies grow enormous using your model — only they do it better.
For us folk at printed media companies, it has been try and fail, try and fail, which is not an entirely bad thing. Then, suddenly, online advertising becomes more accessible to more advertisers and they’re all over it. Finally, we have some demand.
The double-edged sword of demand, which isn’t dissimilar to print, is that with too much advertising, the editorial balance is lost (along with your readers). Pack it with content and your printing, paper, and postage costs go through the roof, especially if you haven’t been managing your yield.
With this in mind, you need to understand your RPM — your revenue per thousand impressions served. If you aren’t thinking like this already, it will pay for you to think of your digital assets in this way.
That doesn’t mean pack your site with the best-paying advertising you can. We all know you are struggling with selling enough online display ads to your advertisers at a sustainable yield. The growing plethora of advertising vendors out there is staggering. Add to that your own inventory and native advertising, and you have yourself a complex jigsaw puzzle to complete.
However, remember, like print, you can’t serve too much. The user experience will suffer along with your page latency leading to your users deploying ad blockers to see content they don’t even pay for — a genuine WTF moment.
Just like print, you have to find a balance, and you should strive for it as soon as possible. Seriously, if you are not all over this, get someone on it.
To work out your RPM, you could just divide your site revenue by your page impressions by one-thousand, but that would be too easy and lead you down the wrong path.
Think about the page. Think about the pixels and scripts on the page. Think “how can I ‘maximise’ the revenue I generate from this page as I send it to my user, whilst retaining the user experience and page load speed, and not invite ad blockers?”
There are some good vendors out there and some bad ones, plus some real crooks, so make sure you do your testing. These vendors have demand, increasingly programmatically delivered, often with customers you would never speak to. They will pay you to place advertising on your Web site, and they even treat you like the customer.
Read that again: They want to pay you to run advertising, and you are the customer. They need you; they actually want your hard-earned, best-in-class, and premium inventory.
Look for vendors that can run side-by-side and complement each other without conflict. Look for vendors that have a robust self-serve advertiser blocking solution (not ad blocking), which allows for the removal of inappropriate ads from your site. You will get them by the way, so be prepared.
Make your Web site load well to deliver you revenue. Don’t avoid revenue to make your site load well.
So, assuming your content is superb (which it is if you are reading an INMA article), manage your SSP diligently, make your pages load quickly, look for and test vendors, probably get a tag management system, and know every penny that hits the page. If you do, you can optimise your Web site to deliver the very best RPM.
Not looking at RPM with a publishing brain is simply negligent, and, taking yourself back to the top of this post, just making things worse for you and your company.