Ballpark Figures for Internet Advertising Revenue?
November 1, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

What are the approximate income/pageview rates for the most popular type of online advertising?

I know there will be quite a few variables here, but I'm just looking for ballpark figures. If I have 1,000 hits a month, for example, and start running Google ads what can I expect? Now what if I have 10,000 hits? 100,000 hits? etc.

I am most interested in:

1. Google Text Ads
2. Banner Ads
3. Full Site Makeover (like some of the gossip sites occasionally do for a new movie/tv show).
posted by 2bucksplus to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I think there are way way way too many variables to give you any sort of good answer. I have a popular niche blog. I hang out with my "virtual colleagues" (other bloggers in the same niche), and we compare notes from time-to-time. It's very difficult to come up with any sorts of rules-of-thumb. What works for me may not work for another guy with a similar site.

As an example, I make nearly as much from FeedBurner as I do from Adsense. Among my colleagues, I only know of one other fellow who can say that.

I make a fair amount with my site (enough to support myself if I chose to do so), but I know of sites with one-quarter the traffic that make two times what I do. How? They're optimized for Adsense or whatever ads they choose to use. See why it's difficult to give you a good answer? If a site with 160,000pv/month can earn 4x as much from Adsense as a site with 640,000pv/month, there's not going to be any way to give you the kind of approximations you want. It depends on the type of site you run, how much content you generate, how well you're linked to from other sites, and, especially, how you place the ads.

In general, however, this is what I've found:
  • Google ads pay almost nothing when you first begin a site. Earnings increase slowly with time and traffic. It's much more important to focus on creating quality content that will continue to draw visitors than to fret over anything else, at least initially.
  • Once you have an audience, then ad layout plays a huge role. As I mentioned, in theory, if I were to change my layout to match my afore-mentioned colleague's layout, I could expect to earn 16x as much as I am now. (Wow, when I type that out and do the math, I have to wonder why I don't do this. Wow.)
  • If your only goal is to make money, then you optimize your site for Adsense: have large ad blocks in prominent positions. This is a viable option, but not what I've elected to do. I'm elected to de-emphasize ads, which has led to an increased audience. Which is better, audience or ad revenue? There's nothing wrong with either one -- it depends on your goals.
Based on my experience with several blogs, and based on conversations with other bloggers, I just don't think there's anyway to generalize the sorts of numbers you're wanting. You can probably find some averages somewhere, but these will largely be meaningless since the variation from site-to-site is so large.

Anyhow, after all that, I can tell you that my largest site usually makes between $8-$10 per 1,000 pageviews counting all sources. (On my less popular sites, and those with fewer ads, I actually make $3-$4 per 1,000 pageviews.)
posted by jdroth at 11:25 AM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just for comparison, I know of sites that make less than $1 per 1000 pageviews.

Another variable to add to jdroth's excellent summary is type of content. If your content is relevant to highly in-demand advertising keywords (one example I heard of was a particular prescription drug), you can make much more per click than you would otherwise.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:31 AM on November 1, 2007

These are huge swags.

For google text ads, it depends on how much demand there is for keywords that go with your content. Some people see effective CPM (cost per thousand page impressions) of $10 and up, but those are unusual, and may never get large amounts of traffic. $1-3 eCPM (effective CPM) is probably more typical. Since these are generally measured as cost-per-click improving the way the ads integrate with the site can have a pretty big difference on clickthrough rate, which will have a corresponding impact on eCPM.

For display ads $3-10 CPM, though I've seen analysis that NYT may be getting as high as $20 across their properties (About, & Depends on whether your readership includes a desirable and targetable market segment, whether you are large enough to be worth the while of big brand advertisers, etc. You also have an issue with how much of your available inventory you can actually sell. You also have to be big enough to be worth the time of an advertiser, or end up giving ~50% away to a 3rd party ad network for repping you.

I have no idea about the full site makeovers.
posted by Good Brain at 11:35 AM on November 1, 2007 has good insights about things like this, although I doubt you'll get the detail you're looking for right off the bat.
posted by beezy at 12:18 PM on November 1, 2007

Building on what jdroth said... I've only dealt with Google/Yahoo Text Ads but here are the main variables (IMO) in determining revenue.

1. Hits
2. Relevant ads (influences CTR)
3. Keyword competiton (influences RPC)
4. Layout (influences CTR)

Most of my sites were built to be Adsense sites and some average > $50 RPM (1k hits) but they have less return visitors than established sites with Adsense added later (sacrificing hits for CTR). It's all a big balancing act and the variables make it difficult to provide an answer based on hits alone.
posted by Kupo? at 8:08 AM on November 2, 2007

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