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I have found that a good place to look for inspiration for topics to write about on this blog is Yahoo! Answers. Here I can see common questions people are asking along with a lot of the misused terminology which helps when you work in an industry and you presume everyone has the same level of understanding.

Some of the most frequent questions I see are “How do I advertise adsense?” and “How do I sell advertising on my website?” It’s clear what they are trying to ask, but the questions themselves show that not everyone is sure about the options available to make money through advertising on small to medium sized websites.

A lot of site owners think they need to contact advertisers to sell them space on their site. Only the largest of sites ever do this, employing dedicated sales teams, and even in these cases, most use a 3rd party to do it for them. To carry adverts on your site, you don’t need to have any contact at all with the advertisers.

Sign up with an affiliate network
Affiliate networks acts as a middle man between advertisers and website owners. All the major online companies are involved with at least one affiliate network and by becoming an affiliate you choose which company’s banners and text links you want to display on your site and if one of your visitors clicks on an advert and then buys something from the site, you earn commission for that referral.

Signing up to a network is free, and is a great way to gets adverts targeted to your site user’s interests. For example, if you run a site that publishes hotel reviews, you can carry banners that advertise and so on.

Affiliate networks include:
Commission Junction

(Our affiliate manager would kill me if I didn’t mention 123-reg’s affiliate program here. To find out more and to sign up go to our 123-reg affiliate sign up page)

Amazon Associates
Amazon pretty much invented the affiliate channel, and their in-house affiliate program still leads the way in terms of customisation and targeting options. It works in exactly the same way as described above, however, it is worth a mention on its own thanks to the depth of products available for you to advertise.

Google AdSense
Google allows website owners to display Google adverts on their website, with the option to show text adverts, traditional banners, or video adverts.

The adverts are “contextual” which means the ads shown depend on the content of your website i.e. Google literally reads your website, and then decides which adverts are most appropriate. You earn money for every click or page impression depending on which option you have gone for.

Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN)
This is Yahoo’s equivalent to AdSense and works in almost exactly the same way. The advantage of carrying both AdSense and YPN adverts at the start is you can identify which network is carrying the most profitable ads for your site.

This is simply the name of the service Google runs for website owners to sign up to in order to carry Google adverts on their website.

Again, just a name of a service, in this case where advertisers go to write and publish their adverts

Contextual advertising
Ads are selected and shown automatically based on the content of the website. Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network use this method, and Amazon offers it as an option.

CPM: Cost per thousand impressions
How much an advertiser pays for their advert to be displayed a thousand times

CPC: Cost per click
How much an advertiser pays each time their advert is clicked on

EPC: Earning per click
This shows how much on average an advertiser pays out to their affiliates per click. Affiliate networks use this to show an advertiser’s performance to help you pick which ones to use.

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5 Responses

  • Planet Apex

    I thought I was familiar with the ad jargon but no. I leant some new things here. thank you. a very informative article.

    by the way, you say to check yahoo ads and adsense to run them both. But I don’t see how unless you have two sites where u can position ads in the same place and check CTR. I would like to try out Yahoo ads but my adsense is doing well and I have only one blog. any suggestions?

    December 18, 2007 at 6:56 am
  • Matt

    Thanks for the reply

    If you want to be truely scientific about it and run a direct comparison, then you are correct, you would need to do some A/B testing with the Yahoo! and Google ads.

    I think if you have multiple ad units on a page, and you use a few different ad sources you will soon get an idea on which is showing the most relevants ads, and which is generating more money for you. With this information you can start changing the % mix of the ad sources.

    If you are already earning a healthy amount of money through Google AdSense I’d stick with it. The comment above was more for people just starting out and to make sure they were aware of their options. If your ads have a good CTR% I’d look in to putting some affiliate banners on your site. They typically only pay out on a conversion (not per click) but the rewards can be higher.

    If you have any other questions feel free to reply

    Good luck!

    December 18, 2007 at 10:06 am
  • Planet Apex

    Hi, thanks for the prompt reply. I’m also still new to this. I think I will experiment with yahoo.

    btw my CTR is around 3-4%. What’s a good CTR?

    December 18, 2007 at 11:33 pm
  • Matt

    With all the possible variations on displaying ads and site topics, CTR varies so much from site to site it’s hard for websites to use any benchmarks, but I know a lot of sites would give their right arm for 3-4%!

    Looking at your site, you have added an ad unit under neath your main naivigation and integrated an ad unit in your main body above the fold which Google recommend as best practice, so it looks like you are already doing a good job. The official Google AdSense blog can be really useful and is worth checking a couple of times a week for tips and ideas:

    December 19, 2007 at 10:55 am
  • Planet Apex

    That yahoo ad network really sucks. It’s only for the US, what do they think the rest of the world is? No wonder Google overtook them

    December 23, 2007 at 11:44 am