One of the most profitable modes of income for the online publishers today is the revenues from the ads that they feature on their sites. The publisher-brand bonding is becoming stronger by the day as more and more marketers are queuing up for securing an ad space on the publisher’s website.

Publishers are now shifting from the age old print media to the digital platform to make exploit the current online marketing trend. According to PWC, digital advertising spend has managed to hit 25% of the total ad revenue in 2013 from just 14% in 2009. This trend is to continue and if the PWC forecast is to go by, it will reach 33% by 2018.

Most of the traditional online marketing platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. have almost reached a saturation point. So, publishers have to look for ways to make their websites more appealing to the advertisers / brands.

How Should New Publishers Boost Their Ad Revenues?

Just like there is an unprecedented rise in the competition between advertisers for the publishers’ advertising inventories, the publishers are also trying to outwit each other in providing value to their readers. Greater the usefulness, better the flow of traffic and higher the demand among the advertisers.  Read on to find out how new publishers can increase their ad revenues;

1. Header Bidding

Header bidding is one of the many and the most effective techniques applied by publishers to increase ad revenues. However, if it sounds like a familiar term but you’re not quite sure what it means here’s a small description;

The publishers puts up their reserved or unreserved ad inventory for auction or bidding outside of their ad servers to more than one advertiser at the same time. This increases competition between the advertisers leading to a higher revenue for the publisher.


Image Source: Martech Today

In this process of header bidding the publishers auction their ad spaces to both programmatic and traditional advertisers. Programmatic advertisers are mainly softwares that the marketers use to buy ads. Traditional advertisers are persons who take care of the entire negotiations.

The biggest advantage of header bidding is the yield it generates. It is in fact possible to increase the yield by 10% with just one header bid source.

Major publishers like CNN International, Mail Online or Trinity Mirror admitted that they experienced a major boost in their programmatic revenues after they shifted to header bidding.

2. Audience Extension

Six major publishers, namely, Facebook, AOL, Google, Microsoft, IAC, and Yahoo swallow 30% of the total ad revenues. However, publishers can effectively increase their appeal to the brands with the help of audience extension techniques.

It is a technology used by publishers to earn a regular income from the traffic to their sites. Audience extension helps publishers in the following manner;

  • Audience extension help publishers can track their audience using a javascript code throughout the internet.
  • This allows the publishers to extend their digital reach, and also they are able to tap into the growing demand for a segmented audience without having to rely on data from a third party.
  • The publishers sell this data to the advertisers, who are looking for a relevant audience. The advertisers in turn can serve ads to those websites frequented by these visitors.
  • Audience extension allows publishers to earn revenue off their website traffic irrespective of their on-site ad inventory.


3. The Ad Placements

Publishers looking to increase the click through rate of the ads featuring on their websites should consider the ad placements carefully. The location of the ad units makes a huge difference. Some of the most common practices put the ads in the following locations;

  • Above the fold.
  • Right next to the calls to action.
  • Mere the ads with the content.
  • However, while placing the ads, publishers should not compromise with the overall user experience of the site. For example, the users should not confuse the ads with the calls to action.

Below is an example of above the fold ads;


4. Compare The Advertising Networks

All ad networks are not pay masters. Some are good with the pay while others are not. Therefore, it is always a good idea to compare the ad networks before allowing them to start placing the ads on your website.

However, payment is not the only reason why you should be comparing the networks. Relevance and quality of the ads are also necessary considerations. It doesn’t matter if you have used the perfect size and chosen the most appropriate location for an ad, if it is not relevant it will not yield any result. Moreover, the CTR will suffer if the ad hasn’t been suitably designed, like if it has no clear call to action.


Image Source: Adsterra

5. Stay Up To Date With The Trends

Earning revenues from ads is a continuous process and your responsibility as the publisher is to constantly review the website for any loophole. The main idea is to keep up with the trend, which is constantly changing. Keep a track of the behavior of your visitors and you can use tools like clickmaps, scrollmaps or heatmaps to monitor the audience interaction with the site.

6. Native Advertising

Native advertising is one of the key techniques which not only allows the publishers to earn revenue but also offer value to the advertisers. These are typically paid content that blend so well with the site’s content that it looks a part of the website itself. Following are some of the features of native advertising;

  • These paid contents include suggested Facebook posts, recommendations of editorial-based content by content discovery platforms or tweets that are promoted on Twitter.
  • Native advertising is being increasingly targeted by advertisers over the traditional banner ads for its ability to build trust and improve engagement with the target audience.
  • Sponsored content is another termed being used synonymously with native advertising as it is one of its six advertising formats.
  • When it comes to native advertising publishers should refrain from using misleading, inaccurate titles for the ad contents.
  • Native ads are also always properly labelled, so that the viewers are not misled into clicking it.



Advertisement and paid content are the major sources of revenue for the publishers. However in order to attract advertisers, publishers should also pay attention to increasing the traffic flow to their websites. Building a strong presence on the social media, optimizing the website with relevant and targeted keywords, creating a smooth UX and high quality, original content help to improve the website’s search engine ranking and lead to an increased traffic to the site. Websites getting a high volume relevant traffic attracts more advertisers.

* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, via