4 ways to sell advertising on your website

Selling advertising space on your website can create an additional revenue stream from your online presence.

U.S. companies are spending about $79.75 billion on programmatic digital display ads, which is about 86.5 percent of the total digital ad spending. And the average person sees about 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day.

Of course, how much money you can make varies widely depending on multiple factors.

But how do you begin selling advertising (otherwise known as “ad zones” or “ad inventory”) on your brand’s website? First, we’ll share six recommendations to boost the quality of your website so that you can sell ads but also so that you can make the most money possible from doing so. Then, we’ll walk through four ways that you can sell advertising on your website.

6 website recommendations for selling advertising

Overall traffic

Clearly, the amount of website traffic you generate directly impacts your ability to sell advertising.

Some ad networks and affiliate programs do have minimum traffic requirements. Others will basically only earn you pennies a day without decent and consistent web traffic. When applying to Google AdSense, for example, the earnings estimate calculator begins at about 50,000 page views per month.

Traffic matters because the higher the traffic, the more potential ad impressions you can deliver to advertisers on your website. Impressions are the number of times each ad is delivered and viewed by a website visitor.

Check out our eight tips for driving more organic traffic to your website.

Audience loyalty

While high website traffic is great, loyal website traffic can be even better. Think engagement, which is a valuable asset for advertisers who could be willing to pay more to get their message in front of a returning group of engaged, loyal website visitors more than once.

Of course, you’ll need to use your website performance data and more to prove this level of engagement to advertisers, including:

  • Any website content comments
  • Email click rates
  • Email response rates

Quality content

Great content isn’t just a recommendation for selling advertising on your website, it’s truly needed for any amount of success in content marketing and larger digital marketing efforts.

In other words, your content matters.

Aim for original content that addresses the needs, wants and challenges of your target audience. Specifically, consider the topics and angles that can help your website stand out from others.

Once you decide on your content niche, see our eight tips for creating an effective content calendar to help you stay organized.

Doing this not only helps make your website more valuable for visitors, but it also can specifically help advertisers understand the type of visitors your website is getting.

For example, a DIY auto-service blog could appeal to various automotive advertisers.

Functional website layout and design

Of course, a well-designed website benefits visitors, but it also benefits advertisers.

Simple navigation helps users explore your content easily. 

For example, you can include “related content” sections to increase clickthrough rates and time-on-site rates. Clearly, the longer a visitor is on your website and the more web pages he or she views will lead to more ad impressions.

For the ad placement itself, aim to be as undisruptive as possible while also maintaining visibility. You want ads on your website to be noticed, but you don’t want them to interfere with the user experience (especially if it causes frustration and causes visitors to leave your website entirely).

Pay attention to your website loading speed as well. Get advice on this and more mobile optimization since a mobile-friendly website will set you up for overall success.

Website transparency

Would you do business with someone without knowing a thing about him or her? Probably not.

Advertisers are the same way. They want to know about who they’re buying ad space from.

Be sure to include a variety of information on your website to be as transparent as possible:

  • Who owns the website
  • Where the website is hosted
  • History of the website
  • Core values of the website
  • Any relevant website traffic metrics that make sense to share (which can be shared in advertiser communications privately as well if needed)

A great way to cover all of this and more in the name of transparency is to create a media kit. In the simplest sense, a media kit is a package of information, assembled by a company, to provide basic information about itself.

Obtain an ad server

Ad servers automatically make and manage decisions about which ads to show on your website, depending on the known details about a website visitor.

This technology also collects data (such as impressions and clicks) that can then be used to report on the ad performance. Plus, they store and manage the actual “ad creatives” files themselves.

Often, you can install an ad server by simply copying and pasting a simple piece of coding into the backend of your website.

4 ways to sell advertising

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is essentially a technological ecosystem that automatically manages the process of buying and selling ad space. This helps save time by eliminating the need for manual negotiations.

You will want to connect to an SSP (which is also known as a “Supply-Side Platform” or “Sell-Side Platform”), which is your gateway to programmatic advertising.

Connecting to an SSP also enables access to:

  • Real-time bidding
  • Header bidding
  • PMP (also known as “Private Marketplace”), which allows only invited advertisers to bid
  • Programmatic Direct, which bypasses auctions to sell ad space at a fixed price

Learn more about programmatic advertising and how it differs from native advertising.

Ad networks

Ad networks are actually part of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, but you can interact directly with ad networks outside of that.

Simply put, an ad network connects you with advertisers and indexes a wide range of available ad inventory into easily searchable lists.

It can be considered a simplified way of ad purchasing through a conveniently managed platform, which can be appealing for beginners. For example, if you only want to sell ad space exclusively through a particular ad network, all you have to do is use an ad server owned by that ad network.

On the flip side, of course, you are limited to the formats and options within that ad network. Keep in mind that ad networks take a cut of your ad revenue in exchange for their convenience.

Affiliate marketing

For beginners, affiliate marketing is by far the simplest and likely most appealing method of selling advertising on your website. 

Affiliate marketing is specifically the process where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

Can you believe that more than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs? In other words, there are a lot of opportunities out there, and affiliate marketing is especially low risk. Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

For the most part, all you need is a link from an affiliate program to start, and you typically can start for free.

Of course, this is a performance-based marketing method that can pay you based on:

  • PPS, paying per sale (the most popular)
  • CPA, a cost per action
  • CPC, a cost per click
  • CPM, which means “cost per mile” but refers to a cost per so many impressions delivered

Affiliate programs can pay between 30 percent and 50 percent commission rates on sales, but you’ll want to do your research to find the best fit and compensation for your website.

Selling advertising directly

While selling ad space directly to advertisers can be complicated, it can also be lucrative. By avoiding the middleman, you can avoid fees, negotiate your own prices and create custom contracts with advertisers.

Remember that there is a number of factors you have to manage when selling advertising directly:

  • Finding and researching potential advertisers
  • Contacting potential advertisers
  • Negotiating your contract terms and pricing
  • Setting up the ad campaign based on the agreed contract
  • Uploading and managing ad creatives manually
  • Delivering performance reports to advertisers

You can set up a self-serve ad portal on your website to help with at least some of this workload, but ask yourself whether you have the time and resources to handle direct selling. Some businesses do, but others do not.

In conclusion

As you’re reviewing the advertising options for your website, remember that there’s nothing wrong with starting small (and simple) and building from there.

The effort will be well worthwhile as you grow advertising revenue over time for your business.

As you’re exploring advertising on your website, consider leveling up your digital marketing process with DailyStory, which offers automation, audience segmentation and more for all your marketing needs. Schedule a free demo with us today.

7 tips to better target your Facebook ads (and see more results)

Advertising on Facebook is a great way to reach a lot of people. 

It is the No. 1 social media network, after all, reaching about 59 percent of the world’s social networking population.

But just like with any advertising, Facebook ads are only as effective as your audience targeting. And while Facebook offers many ways to reach the audience most likely to engage with your ad, the strategy falls on you.

But the work is worth it. Facebook ads reach about 2.14 billion people. In addition, the average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month.

Check out our six tips to boost your Facebook marketing overall.

The following are seven tips to better target your ideal audience with Facebook ads so that you can boost your results and avoid burning ad dollars.

Start with the basics

When you’re creating Facebook ads, the first thing Facebook asks you to do is choose your target market by:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender

These are a great start, but they’re still just the beginning. Leaving your audience demographics at these three parameters is far too broad to ensure effective targeting (and results). When the audience is too large, the performance of your Facebook ads suffers.

Of course, on the flip side, you don’t want to ignore these selections either. Be sure that you’re selecting a geographic area that makes sense and an age range that you’ve thought through. For example, just because everyone between the ages of 18 and 65 could use your product and/or service doesn’t mean that’s who you should be targeting. 

When it comes to gender, maybe your ad could appeal to either choice. However, it’s always worth considering tailoring your ad creative to each and running two different ads that are that much more specific. In other words, don’t be afraid to think outside the box as you drill down into the most specific message for the most specific target audience.

Identify your audience’s interests

Facebook offers thousands of interests to choose from when narrowing your target audience for your Facebook ad.

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds.

We recommend brainstorming specific topics and even people whom only the most avid fans you’re looking for would be interested in. For example, let’s say you’re looking to target people who like boxing. George Foreman is a popular boxer, but many people know who he is (and may only like him for his grills). You’d fare far better with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as an interest to get to avid boxing fans.

Once you have some key interests identified, you can go into the ad settings and click on the “Interests” section. Take note that as you type in interests, Facebook will auto-populate some suggestions for you as well. You’ll see a description of the interest and how many people on the platform currently have it.

Definitely select multiple interests. Again, going too broad won’t help your Facebook ad or your advertising goals.

If you’re only looking to target one interest, be sure to cross that with additional demographic filters so that you’re narrowing your audience as much as possible.

Find who is already looking to buy your product (or service)

Facebook collects a lot of data, so the platform generally knows if you’ve been searching online to potentially buy something.

There’s a lot of potential for audience targeting there since about 73 percent of consumers research a product online before making a purchase.

So, even if these consumers haven’t heard of your business before but are searching on your competitors’ websites, you have the opportunity to target them with your Facebook ads (and hopefully convince them to purchase from you, not your competitors).

To do this, there is a “Behaviors” section in the Facebook ad settings.

There are many folders to choose from (and even more sub-folders within those), including “purchase behavior.” 

We recommend browsing through the available behaviors to choose what is most applicable to the type of person you’re hoping to reach.

Get creative with your demographics

Filter by income level

Facebook has shifted how you can target your audience by income level, but it’s still an option (and definitely an option you should consider).

By clicking on the “Demographics” section in your ad settings, you’ll now see options tied to “top percentage” based on household income. Of course this data is inferred by Facebook through publicly available data, but narrowing your audience by general income level can also help boost your ad performance (particularly if you’re seeking individuals with more disposable income).

Look for your target audience’s profession

When thinking about your target audience’s interests and behaviors, you likely have an idea of ideal professions or workplaces for that potential customer.

Navigate to “work” within the “Demographics” section of your ad audience settings to make your targeting selections.

You can select by “Employers,” “Industries,” “Job Titles” and so on.

Choose an education level

Whether it relates to the product and/or service you’re selling or just the type of voice and message you’re using in your Facebook ad, you can filter by education level.

You’ll find the education-level filters under the “Demographics” section.

In addition, you can narrow your audience down by “field of study,” “school attended” or “undergrad years.”

Know that about 82 percent of college graduates are on Facebook.

Identify parents

The great thing about the Facebook ad parent filter in audience targeting is that not only can you target parents, but you can target them with children of a certain age.

This is important because how you might connect with a parent of a toddler is a bit different that what you might say to a parent of an older teenager.

You’ll find “All Parents” under the “Demographics” section and can narrow your search from there using the options within it.

Life events can be an effective targeting filter

Whether someone just began a new relationship, is coming up on an anniversary, started a new job, have a birthday coming, know someone with a birthday coming up (and so on), these are pivotal life events where you can get your message to key potential customers at just the right moment.

There are a number of “Life Event” filters under the “Demographics” section that you can choose from.

Likely, one of these could inspire an all-new ad for you to create.

Think outside the box with behaviors

Narrow down with politics

Depending on the goal of your Facebook ad, finding those who are likely to engage with political content could be ideal.

You can find the “Politics” filter under the “Behaviors” section.

Looking for gamers?

If your Facebook is trying to connect with gamers, you’re in luck.

Under “Digital Activities” within the “Behaviors” section, you can filter your audience by type of gamer and more.

Filter by the device used

Whether someone is on Facebook through a mobile device or not, may or may not matter to your business. 

But it definitely could if you’re promoting an app download or something else tied to a smartphone.

You can narrow this down by going to the “Behaviors” section and then “Mobile Device User” and/or “Mobile Device User/Device Use Time.” 

Just keep in mind that when you’re specifically advertising to mobile users only, you want to make extra sure that your Facebook ad is eye-catching even on a small screen.

Find frequent travelers

Depending on who you’re trying to reach, traveling might be an identifying hobby or activity for them.

Whether it’s frequent travelers or simply those who commute, you can locate the “Travel” filter under the “Behaviors” section.

Not sure why you would factor in traveling unless your in the travel industry specifically? Thank about commuters. They have a lot of passive time to kill and would be a great target for the promotion of a new podcast, for example.

Remember, you’re identifying the interests, behaviors and demographics that will get you in front of the people most likely to engage with your Facebook ad and potentially convert into a customer.

Exclude whoever you don’t need to reach as well

Almost as powerful as targeting key audiences is the ability to exclude those you don’t want or need to reach as well. 

This can work in a number of ways, depending on your goals. You’ll see the “Exclude” option in your ad settings.

Consider using different types of audiences

Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences on Facebook ads are an advanced feature where you can use Facebook to reach your existing contacts.

You may want to do this to reinforce your brand and brand loyalty among your customers. Of course, you can exclude your existing customers from being shown your Facebook ad as well.

Lookalike Audiences

Whether you have a Custom Audience to build a Lookalike Audience off of or not, you can also create one by using a Facebook tracking pixel on your website.

Either way, Facebook does the work by creating a similar audience based on the data available. You have the option to expand or shrink that audience in terms of broadening the search or not (similarity versus reach).

Want to learn more? Facebook actually offers free courses on how businesses (like yours) can best use their ad targeting options.

As you’re diving more into Facebook ads, it’s good to refresh yourself on the overall opportunities and challenges of Facebook for your business as well.

Plus, dive deeper into how to identify your target audience.

Looking to level up your digital marketing process beyond Facebook? Schedule your free demo of DailyStory today.