Do you really think your site visitors are Zombies?

Felix   By Felix Leshno | Intango Co-Founder & CMO

For some reason I see too many publishers that think their visitors are brain dead zombies that will click on every ad they see just because its in front of them. Really???

Do you run a successful website with a large audience? As an online publisher, you have certainly invested time and money in your website. You know that successful sites don’t happen by accident; internet success happens because of talent, careful analysis, and commitment. It often takes months or even years to build a substantial audience. As a result of your hard work and investment, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the form of plenty of profits from website advertising.

Maximizing your revenue means you need to choose an advertising network with the same commitment to quality that you have demonstrated. You must pick a network that will enhance your site’s content and not detract from it. It’s also best to find a trusted advertiser that wants a long-term commitment with you and your site. With that in mind, consider these tips to learn how to tell the difference between great ad networks and bad ones.

Why is it Easy to Choose a (Zombie) Bad Advertising Network?

Very often, the poorest ad networks resort to aggressive tactics to entice publishers. This really shouldn’t surprise internet-savvy publishers. Since the poor networks don’t perform well in the long run, they can only survive by constantly churning through publishers and probably, ad buyers. You’ll be better off when you can establish a long-term relationship with an advertising network that you trust.

For example, some networks might appear to offer very high payments for clicks or views. Sadly, many of the shadiest networks can offer these high rates because they plan to employ tactics that will hijack your website visitors. Some of the worst offenders even have methods to short their publishers of clicks and views. No matter how much they pay, it won’t be enough to cover the loss of the audience that you worked so hard to develop.

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Does your Ad Network use these tactics on your site?

Consider some bad advertising tactics that questionable advertising networks employ:

Automatic Videos Below the Fold

Have you ever visited a site and started to hear an advertising video that turned itself on automatically? Very often, these videos aren’t even visible on the part of the page displayed on your screen. Your website experience gets disrupted while you hunt for the video to turn it off. If this experience has ever caused you to back out of a site, you can bet it will do the same for your site visitors. It also doesn’t help the sponsors who pay for these ads because they are more annoying than effective. Only the network profits by managing to inflate video views.

Clickbait Ads That Lead to Low-Quality Content

Many advertising networks use graphic photos and clickbait titles to disguise ads as content. Too often, these kinds of ads, photos, and content offer little in the way of quality and in some cases, they may even be offensive for your viewers. There’s certainly no guarantee that these ads have anything to do with your website or the reason your visitor came to your site in the first place. You may not want your thoughtful post about international politics to get interrupted by hype about the latest diet fad or Hollywood celebrity. This reduces your site’s credibility and isn’t likely to draw many clicks from the kinds of visitors that you court.

Totally Irrelevant Advertising

It’s very intuitive to assume that relevant advertising will perform better than totally irrelevant advertising. It’s not only intuitive, it’s backed up by research. According to CMO Magazine, targeted ads perform almost twice as well as ads that aren’t targeted.  It’s much too risky to just display random advertisements when it’s possible to display ads in a niche that your audience has already demonstrated an interest in.

Consider a simple example. Suppose a credible website focuses on home improvement. It’s most probably that advertisements that appeal to homeowners would perform better than ads that are tailored to college students or renters. If you post a video about how to install a contemporary sink in the kitchen, ads for plumbing  supplies or tools should make you more money than ads for baby strollers. You’ve already established your website as a credible source for information about a topic. That helps make your relevant ads more credible as well. Why waste your efforts by promoting irrelevant sponsors?

Relevant Ads Actually Enhance Your Site’s Content

You shouldn’t just consider the fact that your site’s visitors are more likely to click on relevant ads, though that’s important. In addition, relevant ads can even improve your visitor’s experience because they provide additional information — in the example above, the ads might tell the visitor where to buy supplies to complete the project that your content described.

Conversely, irrelevant ads are just likely to get ignored. In the worst case, they may even annoy your visitors. Quality ads actually enhance your site’s content; but poor ads detract from it.

Characteristics of the Best Advertising Networks

The good news is that you can find very good advertising networks that thrive by helping their publishers make money the right way. Great advertising networks care about their advertisers and their online publishers. Really, the only way for a good advertising network to maintain quality, long-term relationships is to care about both:

  • Good networks work hard to offer advertisers a good value in order to retain them. When advertisers know they get good value for their money, they’re likely to spend more.
  • In order to offer quality traffic to advertisers, networks need to ensure that they can serve publishers the most relevant ads. In turn, this practice lets publishers maximize their revenue.

Your Website’s Profitability Depends on Your Choice of Advertising Network

Ads from a truly great advertising network can help you increase your site’s potential in multiple ways:

  • Relevant ads will draw views and clicks.
  • Increased attention to ads earns more money for you, the network, and the advertiser.
  • High-quality advertising can actually enhance your site’s content and not detract from it.
  • Once you’ve got a trusted advertising network in place, you can focus on other aspects of running your site.

It should be obvious that you need to avoid publishing any ads that are likely to annoy your visitors. If intrusive and irrelevant advertisements increase your website’s bounce rate, you could lose organic search rankings. Of course, no advertisements will help you profit if they get ignored or worse yet, irritate your site visitors. In these cases, all of the hard work and money that you invested to attract internet users to your site would just get wasted.

On the other hand, well-displayed and relevant ads draw clicks that help all parties involve earn more revenue. When advertisers and networks find that your site can produce high-quality traffic, they will grow more eager to place better paying ads on your site. A poor ad network can actually drag down your entire website; however, you can maximize advertising revenue and enhance your website’s content with the help of a great advertising network.

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