Effectively monetizing a website/blog is increasingly becoming the #1 problem among bloggers in every niche. It is not a hidden fact that a large majority of bloggers start a blog or website to earn from online advertisements. However, as they start getting more visitors and develop a followership, a common trend being noticed is that webmasters and bloggers either find the CTR to be very low or the overall RPM (Revenue per thousand impressions) is not impressive. Heck, I’ve personally seen a site with a million visitors each month, barely taking out the hosting and management costs!
So, in this article, I’m going to present a solution – Conversion Rate optimization. Conversion Rate Optimization for optimizing ad revenues.
So, what is Conversion Rate?Whenever a visitor accomplishes a specified action designated by the webmaster, it is termed as a conversion. For online business, it can be anything from a simple email signup, online form submission, newsletters subscriptions to a real purchase. Similarly, for bloggers, this could also mean an ad click, more page views per visitor or a click on the affiliate banner. One can calculate the website’s conversion rate by dividing the total number of conversions with the total numbers of visitors for a period of time. So, it’s pretty obvious that, higher the conversion rate, the more you are earning from your traffic.
Lets take an example. If we have a blog on which we are aiming to maximize revenues from CPC ads, so, for us, a conversion happens when someone clicks on that banner/text ad from the CPC ad network. What we are really aiming for is to improve the CTR and eCPM/RPM for our website or that particular page.
Next, what is Conversion Rate Optimization?
In simplest words, conversion rate optimization is the process of improving your conversion rate so that more website visitors are undertaking the action defined by you as a conversion goal. CRO can also be termed as the testing, analytics and optimization process which helps convert more website visitors into conversions.
This helpful turning-visitors-to-conversions method is one of the most trustworthy and proven weapon that allows bloggers to examine reasons which are stopping website visitors from reading more content on your website or exploring your CPA Offer. Similarly, it could also mean improved website monetization for bloggers and publishers, irrespective of the traffic monetization model they are using on the website (CPA/CPM/CPC).
Why Conversion Rate Optimization?If your current monetization strategy isn’t working at improving website revenues or worse, if you don’t have a monetization strategy at all, you need to develop a hypothesis and start A/B Testing. Using A/B testing, you can create different variations for a web page and change website elements on each version to see what works and what doesn’t. In this attention-deficit online world, where visitors merely scan through your content, small changes can make a large difference.
A website monetization strategy is important for every blog as it enables you to maximize profits and returns, the very principle on which the capitalistic markets work. CRO helps publishers improve and develop a strategy, based on a series of website stats and experiments, providing statistical backing to improvements or changes. Since the optimization process ideally should never stop, bloggers can always design and implement a better new strategy that should help in improving conversions.
Ad Revenue optimizationWhen people talk about Conversion rate optimization, very few think of the conversion goals as more ad clicks or improved ad revenues, which is why you will not find a lot of content created on the subject of using CRO and testing to improve ad revenues. Here are some important, elements which play an important role here:
- Ad Network – Quality, Relevance and Pricing
- Ad Location
- Unit Size
- Ad Type – Text vs Image
- Ad Theme (Text ads only)
Do’s and Don’tsConversion Rate Optimization is not rocket science. However, there are still some important dos and don’ts, which you should look at. Whatever you do, always remember – “All decisions should be backed by statistics“. I’m not asking you to ignore your gut feeling, I’m just saying that even if you want to do something which you *think* will work, create an A/B Test and see if it works for real.
Some Case StudiesSmall changes in the Ad Location can make a large difference. Take a look below:
Popular blogger Darren Rowse from Problogger.com often performs split testing. He found that his left-aligned ad received a CTR that was 66% higher than its right-aligned competitor.
Text vs Image Ads – It is commonly noticed that Text ads generally drive lower CTRs compared to Image ads, however, the CPC of text ads is seen to higher and which is why you can actually get a better RPM/eCPM with Text Ads. Again, this could differ from niche to niche and I recommend you do a split test to get a definite answer.
Manual Testing vs Using a Tool
The reasons why manual testing won’t work well:
- To fully optimize your website and realize its earning potential, you may easily need 100s of variations. Let me tell you why. A typical website has 6-7 Prime spots. For each spot, you can test at least a couple of Ad Sizes. For each location and ad size combo, you can choose to test Image vs Text Ads. Next for Text ads, you should try at least 5-6 different color combinations. Google also let you use different fonts and font sizes. So the number of variations easily run up to 100s and it would be waste of time to create each one manually.
- You can’t implement Continuous optimization algorithms. In simple terms, the algorithm shows 100s of variations on your website, finds the best one using split testing, automatically sends most of your traffic to the best performing variations. Now, after some time, as soon as banner blindness kicks in, it will automatically notice the decline and show other variations to find the winner ad combo again. So, it constantly works without user involvement to keep your ads optimized. Doing this manually is next to impossible.