Getting started with ad networks

Advertising (or ad) networks connect advertisers to sites that want to host ads. They give site owners the opportunity to market their sites across a wide portfolio of sites with a high volume of traffic.

Why use an ad network?

As a good alternative to Google, ad networks can be particularly valuable for partners with casual dating sites. They allow you to attract closely targeted, relevant, traffic that has a higher propensity to click-through to your site.

Advertisers are able to market and optimise campaigns on ad networks without the high acquisition costs often accrued with AdWords and the legwork that comes from working directly with affiliates. If you’re looking to diversify your traffic sources, reduce cost and increase volume, consider using an ad network.

What are the benefits?

Customisable banners. Most ad networks give you the option to create your own banners, whether they’re MPUs (typically a mid-page banner of an image or animation), skyscrapers (a large banner) or leaderboards (an ad at the top or bottom of the page). In being able to create tailored branded adverts, you have the ability to split-test your ads so that you can evaluate which ones attract the most consumers to your site. You can then analyse which banners successfully convert views into paying customers.

You should refresh your banners regularly. Consumers will become bored and/or unresponsive if they see the same ads over and over again. This is what’s known as banner blindness. Aim to update the images in your ads every couple of weeks to achieve the best campaign performance.

Lower acquisition costs, when used correctly. If you don’t have a particularly large budget, or you want to drive a greater volume of traffic from multiple sources (rather than becoming dependent on just one), ad networks could provide “unlimited traffic” at a very low cost-per-click (CPC).

Note of caution: While cost-per-click can be low, your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) may be high as ad network traffic can be low converting. It’s important to regularly assess your campaigns to make sure that the value of this traffic source is positive for you. That said, well optimised campaigns can be extremely profitable when set up correctly.

Use Campaign Tracking to monitor your performance. Ad networks use the same tracking methods as other paid traffic providers, like Google AdWords. Use their tracking pixels to analyse the same metrics you measure for other sources (impressions, click-through-rate, CPC and CPA), and compare the performance of each source accordingly to allocate budget.

As with other external traffic sources, the Campaign Tracking tool in the Partner Portal allows you to track a user from the initial click right through to payment. Use this data to determine:

  • Which banners are achieving the highest volume of paid subscribers.
  • Which ads aren’t performing well, so that you can pause or delete them.
  • How to optimise your ads and improve those generating good results in the initial stages.
  • Which ads are successful in which position, for example MPU vs leaderboard.

You should have a good understanding of online marketing techniques before you begin to use ad networks but they can be very profitable when used correctly.

If you have any questions about any of the topics covered in today’s blog, get in touch with the Partner team.

Frazer Comley, Partner Manager @ White Label Dating®

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