8 yield optimization tactics to improve ad revenue

Global digital ad spend has been steadily increasing. The Globe and Mail in particular have projected that it will reach over $1.06 billion by 2031. However, the increasing demand for online ad inventory has brought several challenges. As a result, yield management and optimization for advertising have become difficult for publishers.

The primary reason for these difficulties has to do with programmatic advertising as a means for publishers to grow their businesses. Programmatic ad tech requires quite a bit of know-how on its own to manage and optimize effectively. It could be a long time before ad tech evolves to the point of its highest potential where programmatic advertising becomes a more well-oiled machine.

In the meantime, publishers are left to find various ways to increase their ad revenue potential. Keep reading to uncover 8 strategies that publishers can start using to maximize their ad yield through yield optimization.

What is yield optimization in advertising?

Yield optimization in ad tech refers to using multiple different techniques to maximize your ad revenue.

At a first glance, you might think that in order to generate more revenue, you simply need to add more ad units and formats to your website. While this may deliver quick wins, interruptive ad layouts can create a negative user experience. This might result in your website losing traffic, which translates to fewer impressions. At the very least, the 2021 PageFair Adblock Report confirms that interruptive ad layouts are a primary motivator for users downloading adblockers to avoid that experience altogether.

So what other options are available for publishers looking to optimize their ad yield without disrupting their user’s Web experience?

After scouring through a few resources on yield optimization, many will mention the use of various auction models like header bidding or utilizing different programmatic deal types. Assuming that you already use header bidding and monetize outside of the open auction, let’s take a look at a few different ways you can start using to diversify your ad yield potential.

How can publishers optimize their yield?

1. Update your ads.txt file

The IAB Tech Lab developed ads.txt to increase transparency within the programmatic advertising ecosystem. It provides a flexible structure and more secure method for publishers to declare which companies are authorized to sell their digital ad inventories. It also requires any participating publishers to show their list of authorized sellers within their domain, which allows media buyers to create a filter that matches their list and the data provided in the OpenRTB bid request.

The takeaway: Make sure your ads.txt file remains up to date. This way, all eligible media buyers (as in, the ones willing to spend top dollar) can bid on your inventory.

2. Enable ad refresh

One of the most common means of maximizing ad yield and revenue is through ad refresh. Ad refresh refers to a technique that lets publishers increase the number of ad impressions served on a web page to a single user at once by refreshing the ad sets based on preset triggers.

These triggers are usually based on user action. This could include scrolling, clicking, or using the website’s search function as well as certain custom events. Ad refresh can also be set based on a specific time, refreshing every 30, 60 or 90 seconds.

The takeaway: When implemented properly, ad refresh can help to increase ad revenue per user sessions without compromising the user experience or ad viewability.

3. Utilize a Consent Management Platform

With all the recent privacy industry standards that have come into play, it’s incredibly important to make sure that your website is and remains compliant with the GDPR and CCPA regulations. This is easily done by using a consent management platform (CMP).

Consent management is the process by which websites are enabled to meet the necessary regulatory requirements regarding the collection of user consent. When you have an active CMP in place, your website will automatically inform the visitors about the types of data you’ll be collecting and prompt them for consent for particular data processing purposes.

CMPs may also be linked with better CPMs. A Mediavine study witnessed CPMs increase by 9% and fill rates go up 5% in a post-GDPR era for publishers who employed a CMP on their websites.

The takeaway: By using a CMP, you can protect yourself from breaching any regulations relating to consumer privacy — which will keep users coming to your site and engaging with ads without any legal interruptions. Additionally, it can have a positive impact on your CPMs.

4. Implement Anchor and Leaderboard ads

When it comes to getting the most out of your ads to increase yield, placement is an important contributing factor. Two ad placements that are highly recommended for both desktop and mobile devices are anchor and leaderboard ads.

Anchor ads — as the name implies — remain at the bottom of the web page but are always visible, regardless of how far the user scrolls. This allows the ads to remain in sight for the entire duration of a user’s visit, increasing the level of viewability. They also give users the option to close them by clicking the “X” if they become too distracting.

Leaderboard ads are essentially horizontal banner ads, which are also considered to be of the highest-performing ad formats. This is mainly because they’re highly visible due to their large size. They’re also positioned at the top of the page, which almost guarantees they’ll be viewed upon the user’s initial visit — without disrupting the user experience.

The takeaway: Make sure you’re using ads that have the best chance of viewability and engagement, which is also an incentive for advertisers.

5. Understand your users better

One of the most important elements of advertising is getting to know your audience. The same goes for publishers — you need to understand your users as much as possible in order to effectively monetize them in a way that isn’t detrimental to their Web experience.

Now we’re not just talking about A/B testing ad layouts and site optimizations (although, you should be doing that as well!) to determine how much revenue can be made from your users.

Previously, we mentioned programmatic deal types. One in particular that can assist with yield optimization are PMP deals. Understanding your users goes beyond simply identifying what content they like to consume on your website or what your most popular web pages are. It involves understanding their interests, their hobbies, what geographical region they’re in, their age demographics, and much more.

Curating this information can help generate interest-based groups that can be presented to advertisers looking to target specific audiences through PMP deals.

The takeaway: Understanding your users can unlock various methods of monetizing them outside of the open auction.

6. Use native advertising

Another popular way to maximize ad yield is by looking into other ad formats. Specifically, native advertising. Here are 3 main advantages to incorporating native ads into your ad format arsenal as provided by Forbes:

  1. It doesn’t disrupt a user’s content experience.
  2. It’s not dependent on consistently changing algorithms.
  3. It’s easier to scale.

Native ads are relevant to the content they appear next to, which improves the overall user experience as they are not bombarded with unrelated, disruptive ads. Less disruption also leads to better engagement rates.

The takeaway: Experiment with various ad formats outside of standard display ads to determine if it has an effect on your ad revenue.

7. Leverage email newsletters

If you haven’t started up an email newsletter for your visitors to subscribe to, you’re missing out. Not only do email newsletters keep your users up to date with customized information, but it’s also a great way to charge advertisers a premium just to place their ads directly inside your subscribers’ inboxes.

Unlike website display advertising, email newsletters tap into a secondary channel that’s associated with high open rates. This allows advertisers to feel confident that their ads will be seen, hence the willingness to pay high premiums.

Publishers can also use email newsletters to generate revenue by selling sponsorships to advertisers or by placing affiliate links in their content, promoting peripheral products or services, ebooks, eCommerce stores, and more.

The takeaway: Ad monetization isn’t just reserved for your website so ensure that you are experimenting with different placements.

8. Start using adblock revenue recovery

Adblockers are growing in popularity with users who are looking to avoid annoying ad experiences. This poses a monetization risk to publishers as adblockers can disable ad creatives from ever loading. The good news is that there are a few ways to work around this.

By partnering with a dedicated provider of Acceptable Ads, you will be able to monetize your non-blocked traffic as usual, as well as your adblocked traffic without compromising revenue.

Blockthrough’s adblock recovery solution can provide publishers a 10-40% revenue lift by efficiently monetizing your adblocked inventory. Find out exactly how much revenue you’re losing with our simple-to-use recovery calculator.

In summary

Maximizing one’s ad yield can involve more work than simply adding an additional ad unit on their webpage. On top of leveraging a multitude of seller models and programmatic deals, we’ve identified 7 other methods that you can use to optimize your yield.

  1. Update your ads.txt
  2. Enable ad refresh
  3. Utilize a Consent Management Platform
  4. Implement Anchor and Leaderboard ads
  5. Understand your users better
  6. Use native advertising
  7. Leverage email newsletters
  8. Start using adblock revenue recovery

Yield optimization is imperative to ensure that you are generating the most revenue out of your content. Let us know if you’ve implemented the following strategies and noticed an impact on your ad revenue.

While you're here...

Did you know that the average publisher loses 10-40% of their revenue to ad blocking? What you may not know is that ad blocking has largely shifted to ad-filtering, with over 350M users allowing a safer, less interruptive ad experience to be served to them—in turn supporting their favorite sites and creators.

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