Sites with ads as a primary monetization mode might understand how significant it is to optimize their placements and overall performance to get the most out of oncoming traffic.
And as Q4 approaches every time, I think it is imperative for bloggers who utilize ads as their primary form of revenue, to up their RPM game and make the most of the holiday traffic.
And since you are here, I’m
assuming sure that you want to make that happen as well.
During my early days of getting into Mediavine, I used to get very conscious about the extensive use of ads on my website and had to do rigorous contemplation to come to a decision:
Although they are legitimate concerns for many :
- Is it going to impact the blog negatively?
- No-ad websites look so clean and minimal; ads might ruin that experience.
- Is my content valuable enough to deserve this heavy density of ads per page?
- Will the ad interruptions turn people off?
- Does this make my website less valuable?
- But ads pay a lot (considering you chose the right network)
All valid, all understandable!
But soon, I read something from a private Facebook group (whose name I don’t remember anymore) that was about whether I should put ads on my website or not, and it all made sense.
What I read was:
“…People are reading and potentially getting some value from my content that took me hours or days to write; I might as well use the ads. I’ll stop putting Ads once they pay a subscription to see my content, but till then, Ads it is…”
If someone is putting hours & hours of effort into creating something that has value and costs literally nothing from the reader’s side, ads are a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
The user gets free content, the author gets paid, and the ad network gets a commission percentage for building the payment bridge between them.
In fact, I made over $23K last month JUST THROUGH ADS; read the September Income Report to know more.
If you’re interested in getting started with Pinterest and want to know how to drive massive traffic from the platform, Consider reading the article: How to Use Pinterest for Blogging.
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Table of Contents
What is RPM? And how is it calculated?
RPM is the rate per millie (thousand) or Revenue per millie denotation of the average revenue generated when 1000 users visit your website.
RPM is calculated by dividing the estimated earnings by the number of ad impressions, then multiplying by 1000. For example, if you made around $100 from 1,000 views,
RPM = $10.
Here are some examples of RPM calculations:
- If you earned an estimated $0.15 from 25 page views, your page RPM would equal ($0.15 / 25) * 1000, or $6.00.
- If you earned an estimated $180 from 45,000 ad impressions, your ad RPM would equal ($180 / 45,000) * 1000, or $4.00.
Factors that determine the RPM of a piece of content
The topic/niche of your blog is a major deciding factor in how much money you’ll be making through ads.
Because ads are usually catered to each niche user a little differently.
For example, if a website has “Education” as a niche, the users will be served ads that only the education-centric people will be more likely to buy.
Those same ads generally won’t be popping up on websites that will have a parenting niche.
I did try to come up with a list that would depict the individual RPM numbers according to their niches but was unable to do so, as it was hard to find exact numbers that would stay consistent throughout.
Numbers keep on changing according to other factors explained below, but yes, it is also true that some niches do make more than others,
The finance niche, for example, anything that has to do with money: making money, investing, banking, forex trading, etc., usually pulls a higher RPM compared to the rest.
A Google search for high RPM niches shows that “Forex trading” & “Investing” niches on YouTube have one of the highest rates on the platform.
It is because the audience here is considered far more valuable as they are more likely to pay for high-value products such as insurance, premiums, and other high-value products.
For ads to show up on your website, an auction takes place within the ad network, which decides which company’s ads will be shown on the website.
All those companies want to get a hold of such audiences for themselves, so the highest paying company in the auction gets to show their ads, which usually increases the ad rates for that website.
This is a major reason why some niches have a significantly higher RPM than the rest.
But despite all that, you should not solely rely on the niche RPM as a deciding factor in choosing your blog niche; despite having high pay rates, these niches get comparatively less traffic than some other high-demand niches such as food, travel, entertainment, etc.
So, even if you have a niche that is non-finance-oriented, you have a much higher chance of getting more traffic to make up for the comparatively lower RPMs.
It is no surprise that websites receiving more users from the United States have more of an advantage than websites that have less US traffic.
I mean look at the RPM rates of different countries (Mediavine Dashboard):
The best numbers are from developed, English-speaking countries.
Demographics too, is a deciding factor in calculating your blog’s RPM.
3. Content length
If you have your Mediavine ads optimized, to content length rather than setting it to a fixed number, you might already know that if you have a longer blog post, there are more spaces for the ads to be shown to your readers.
So, the RPM of each session or pageview increases accordingly.
Having longer (but relevant) content allows more spaces to be allocated for ads to be shown and the impressions of ads per page increase and so does the average watch time of your website.
4. Time of the Year (seasons)
Seasons affect RPMs, and this is something that cannot be in your control. Q4 (October to December) is the time when the highest RPMs are seen due to the holiday season.
People tend to buy due to that very fact, and as a result, companies throw their advertisement budget during this period.
You can learn more about how seasonality affects RPM, here’s an article from Mediavine that explains the same: Ad Revenue By The Seasons
What can you do to increase your blog RPM? (Actionable Tips)
1. Optimize your website
About site speed:
Site speed is one of the things that might increase your overall revenue of the website rather than just your ad revenue; it is imperative for your website to have a lag-free user experience, as users tend to bounce off your website if it does not load in time.
From the Google search console, you can check whether your website has all the Web Core Vitals in green or not (image shown above).
In case it is not green, there are a few things you can do to boost your site’s overall speed.
A) Get a good host:
Not all hosts perform the same when it comes to server speed and loading time. Consider getting a high-performance host such as Bigscoots that not only provides exceptional service but also saves daily backups that can be restored anytime from the last 30 days.
P.S. I only recommend Bigscoots if you’re already with a premium ad partner such as Mediavine or Raptive, and not if you’re starting out as a new blogger as Bigscoots is slightly on the expensive side.
B) Get a CDN (content delivery network):
According to Cloudflare, A CDN is a geographically distributed group of servers that caches content close to end users.
Lucky for you, Bigscoots provides CDN services within their hosting plans that’ll cost you an additional $17, which is totally worth it.
C) A lightweight Theme:
Kinda like a cherry on top: A lightweight theme that does not compromise on visual aspects of the website is the way to go.
If It is too feature-heavy, it might increase the loading time, and if it is too minimalistic, you won’t be able to customize it to your liking.
I don’t know how many times I have had to change themes that would have the right balance of customizability and lightweight.
After trying dozens (Including the one offered by Mediavine itself, Trellis), I have finally settled with GeneratePress for all of my 6 websites, ALL 6!
Also, they have a ton of site library child themes that you can choose from.
A good host, CDN, and a lightweight theme are the trifectas you need to boost your website’s speed.
2. Optimize your content:
The goal here is to increase your content length when it loads on the user screen or reduce the density of the total content so that more ads can fit on the page increasing your overall RPM of the page.
These are some of the things you can tweak by just a tiny fraction to see results:
a) Font size:
If you have not already, a good-sized font can allow more text to fit in a given space. Moreover, it gives the user more ease to read your content.
Font size I’m using on all of my websites (for paragraphs only, not headings)
- 19 px for Desktop
- 20 px for mobile
Similar to the size, optimizing your line height (space between two lines) can significantly space out your content.
Line height for my websites:
- 1.6 for desktop
- 1.5 for mobile
c) Content length:
Having more content means more ads in between your content. For example, if two ads are placed between 5 paragraphs, increasing paragraphs might hold more ad spaces, increasing the overall page value.
This does not mean, you need to water your content down by adding irrelevant information to make it lengthy; try adding more value and additional information that might be useful to the reader.
For example, In a blog about 20 top hotel destinations in France,
Try adding other practical information such as best hotels according to season, price point, the best way to get there, Popular attractions, and things to look out for:
These are all things that someone going to France might need to know.
Doing this not only helps the reader your page RPM, but it also signals search engines that this blog post is a one-stop-shop for the searched term, and it has all the additional information the user needs.
d) Smaller paragraphs:
You need to understand that Ads are only placed when you allow them, meaning every gap between two paragraphs is ad space. The more you’re able to generate this GAP, the more ads can be inserted within those spaces.
Plus, no one wants to read walls of texts; it gets too monotonous, and no place to breathe in between.
This image shows how text density can change the reader’s experience when there are no spaces in between paragraphs verses when there are.
Pros of smaller paragraphs:
- Easy to read
- Less monotonous, More conversational
- Increases page length
- More time on the page (good for SEO)
- More spaces for ads to pop in
- Improves RPM
e) Most valuable content at the very end:
This technique (though it might not be very good for user experience), forces the user to scroll till the very last part of the content (while having to look at all the ads) to get what they came here for.
I usually don’t have to use this as most of my content is listicle, but yeah this is something you can use to leverage the users to increase your ad impressions.
As a Mediavine publisher, I am sure you do have a sidebar on for your desktop view as they insist on it, but make sure to keep the sidebar as minimal as possible.
Having a widget-heavy sidebar will hinder sidebar ads and might result in desktop RPMs.
3. Optimizations through your Mediavine Dashboard
Optimizing certain settings in the Mediavine dashboard might give you the biggest boost in RPMs.
In your Mediavine Dashboard, Go to “Settings” then “In-Content Settings,”
- Select the Ad Frequency to 30% for both Mobile and Desktop.
- Mobile Ad Minimum Spacing to 1 Paragraph
- Mobile Ad Limit: Optimized for Content-Length
The image below for reference:
Next up, Go to Disable Ad settings, and Allow all ads
It might take a few days to see the full effects of the optimizations, but you’ll see noticeable improvements in your blog’s RPM.
If you have concerns or questions about this topic, drop a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get back to you!