There are publishers, 3rd parties, and many others in the digital publishing space that have claimed that display ad rates have been in decline for many years . This idea is supported with thin evidence of a growing monopoly at the top among leading publishers and platforms –ultimately leading to lower CPMs.

They’re wrong. Period.

Digital ad rates are higher than they have ever been before. That’s a fact.

What’s more, publishers that understand how higher CPMs, electronic ad rates, and visitor engagement all work together are poised to see increased ad earnings on their website’s for the foreseeable future.


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Here’s another problem.

Digital publishers are obsessed with CPMs and it’s costing them a fortune. Below, I’ll show you how getting higher CPMs can ultimately cost you plenty of money. I will highlight how CPMs are manipulated and talk about how to go about increasing overall ad value and ad earnings in a different way.


Ad networks love CPMs.

They are incredibly easy to manipulate and allow these networks to deal in data that publishers are often missing.

For example: Pretend I’m an ad network. I come to you and promise to guarantee you that the CPM of my ads will be twice as high as your current ads. What do you need to lose, right? Higher CPM (or even RPM) definetly means higher revenue, right? Actually. It doesn’t

In fact, there are literally dozens of ways you can get higher CPMs but finally see lower ad earnings.

Fill rates, passbacks, and skimming:

Ad networks will often only count impressions under specific circumstances. There are hundreds of ways that clever networks have come up with to do this over the years.

This includes — but isn’t limited to– counting only particular kinds of impressions, filling ads for just certain types of visitors, passing back undesirable impressions to other ad networks.

Imagine what impression data you’d cherry-pick if you’re an ad network? You’d probably pick the ones with the maximum value –providing you a great CPM.

Here is the problem. All those impressions the ad network isn’t counting matter to the publisher.

In cases like this, the ad network will have a high reported CPM, but the publisher’s actual CPM will be much lower.

This means that real revenue does not increase in any respect.

Unfortunately, there’s not really anyone looking over every ad networks shoulders ensuring they are counting each impression. If ad networks can figure out ways to reduce the amount of impressions divided by the amount of ad dollars, they can demonstrate a higher CPM.

When an ad network undercounts impressions, they will show a greater CPM to the publisher, but the publisher will make the identical amount of money anyway.

Ad networks would not do so, right?

It has happened in the past and is almost certainly still happening now.

3.) Ad smashing

Ads which offer very high click-through rate can often be a terrible thing for publishers.

I know. Some publisher actually see this as a performance metric for their revenue!

An ad network that’s measuring its performance via CPM has one goal — to generate clicks on a single ad location.

This means that they could show really intrusive and aggressive advertising to users in an attempt to get them to click from the publisher’s site. Native ad networks are regarded as the worst offendors.

They have no interest in that user’s experience on your site, how many pages they view, or if they return to your website. User experiences and revenue are directly connected. We’ve talked about this before, but among the fastest ways to raise ad earnings is to focus on UX.

Here’s the hard part.

… and please don’t press the back button now.

… seriously.

I promise it’s worth it.

Higher CPMs will not result in higher revenue, but higher value ads and more engaged visitors will.

What I’m saying is that trying to generate higher CPMs is the wrong objective.

In actuality, I’ve already proven — and revealed multiple times — that optimizing CPMs contributes to lower ad earnings long-term when done in the traditional way.

If You Would like to increase the value you are paid for the ad space your website has available for screens ads… concentrate on engagement

The same strategy can be implemented to attracting these high-paying brand advertisers to your site to start with.

Often, publishers believe they need to be some new Instagram influencer or uber-popular pop-culture blog to have big brands trying to buy space on their site.

That’s not true!

Big brands spend billions every year on programmatic advertising. This means they are often dumping tremendous budgets into places such as Google and other important networks. Their capability to look at a high ad rate on your website exists at the moment.

A good deal of it centers around excellent fundamentals.

You need to engage your audience.

This is what building value in your website’s ad space is all about. Over time, we have seen publisher radically improve revenue by focusing on participation metrics over CPMs.


Here’s the actual problem with higher CPMs…

They are looking at the value of one ad.

They don’t account for what that high CPM could be affecting.

What if it makes total webpage revenue go down?

Imagine if it makes the user leave on their first page (think annoying ads) instead of seeing 4 more pages filled with ads?

Publishers should be laser-focused on optimizing EPMV (earnings per thousand visitors) or Ad Session RPM — as AdSense calls it. This is the average earnings a publisher makes per a thousand website visits.

If you raise Ad Session RPM YOU WILL MAKE MORE MONEY!!!!

The same thing cannot be said for RPMs/eCPMs or CPMs themselves.

This is a very hard lesson for a good deal of publishers but it is 100% authentic.

The example above shows how an annoying ad may pay better and increase eCPMs or RPMs, but its effects on bounce rate and pageviews per visit (the customer’s experience) can actually result in much lower overall ad earnings.

Try this video.


I know I have probably flipped things upside down for a lot of publishers that are utilised to optimizing CPMs and RPMs with minimal success.

Here is the best way to proceed forward.

Concentrate on session revenue for a core optimization metric (if it goes up, you are likely to make more money) and concentrate on visitor engagement metrics to raise ad rates over time (we proved it works).


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