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How to choose a good ad network?

This is a basic check list for any publisher to find an ad network that is suitable and profitable for your website.

Niche vs Generic

If your blog and website has a strong focus in a particular field and your visitors generally share the same interests, then a Vertical ad network is what you should look for. This type of ad network serves a signature niche and targets a relevant and specific demographic, connecting advertisers and publishers that share the same interests or belong to the same industry. This is a very effective platform to reach the right target audience. Some examples include The Deck, Federated Media.

Horizontal ad network is the kind of network that dwells in all categories. Its inventory is extensive and generic. Horizontals offer a massive reach for advertisers and publishers. Some examples include ValueClick, AOL Advertising.

Compensations

One important factor when joining an ad network is to know how you will be paid. How effective are they selling your ad space, at what rate, and how much of that will actually reach you? These are the 3 most common ways your ad displays will be compensated:
1. CPM
Cost per Thousand Impressions ad networks pay publishers for every 1000 impressions, or ad views. This is a great choice for websites and blogs with high traffic since the large number of visitors equals more revenue. This also allows you to predict your advertising revenue monthly based on your website traffic. The downside of CPM networks is that they can be difficult to join with minimum impression requirement, or they offer CPMs that are too low to turn into a significant source of advertising revenue. For publishers, CPM is one of the best ways to monetize because the greater your site traffic is, the more revenue you can earn. Some CPM networks include CasaleMedia, TribalFusion, ValueClick.
2. CPA
Cost per Action (Acquisition) programs reward publishers only when visitors purchase the product or service from the advertiser after visiting your website. These advertisements award high payouts. However, your earnings depend entirely on the visitors' purchase and the effectiveness of the ad copy. If they do not buy any product, you do not earn any revenue. Typically, CPA is more effective if the website has high traffic and a particular focus that compliments with the products being advertised. For example, if your site is about movie reviews, a ticket-seller program will perform a lot better than an art-and-craft website. If the theme of your website does not compliment the ads, it will be hard to earn from the CPA model. Some networks include CommissionJunction, LinkShare.
3. CPC
Cost per Click advertisement is easier to monetize than the CPA model since it rewards publishers for each click. The upside is that CPC has the potential to turn small levels of traffic into revenue, and these ad blocks are easy to set up. The downside is that revenue can be inconsistent since it depends on the customers' choice and interest to click. Ad placement location, niche, and visual appeal are some of the factors that can enhance the effectiveness of CPC ads. Examples include Google AdSense, Yahoo for Publisher.

Business model of ad network

All these CPC, CPA, CPM rates do not mean you earn 100% of the money. Ad networks get a significant commission from your earnings and have control over your paid inventory. If the network can only accommodate 50% of your total inventory, you would need to fill 50% of it with something else or risk losing money to the default public-service ads served by the network.

The effective CPM is a good way to measure your actual earning. For example: Your ad network is selling $10 CPMs and you have 10,000 page views, each page has one ad. Your potential revenue is $100. Let's assume that they are selling half of the inventory on your site, meaning 5,000 of your pages have ads and the rest do not. That means maximum revenue is $50. Assuming there's a 5% ($2.5) admin fee for the ad network, total revenue is down to $47.5. If the revenue split is 50/50, your ad network keeps $23.75 and you get $23.75. Thus, your net effective CPM is $2.37, or $2.37 for every 1000 impressions.

Reliability and Credibility

Ad network commissions can be significant, that is why it is important that you select one carefully. As with all business, you only want to partner with credible companies. You should take into consideration the company history by asking questions such as how long they have been in the business, how often they pay, or if they have a history of withholding payment. More research at the beginning will save you time and effort in the long run.

Control over your ads

You only want ads that can generate revenue and attract visitors. If you have a specific demographic that will not tolerate certain images and topics, then you should take into consider how much control you have over the ads. Is it possible to turn off undesirable ads such as gambling services, adult services, or ads from your competitors?

Integration with your ad server

After you have narrowed down the number of prospective ad networks, you should also consider their compatibility with your ad server. Some ad server will not accept third-party networks or limit the number or type of ad networks to serve. AdSpeed Ad Server does not believe in these restrictions. We believe the publisher is the one who determines what is best for his/her business and website. We serve ads from all legal ad networks and advertisers. Research and choose the right ad server that can maximize your earning from multiple ad networks and also from your directly-sold ad inventory.

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