Ready to increase CPMs and Impressions? Of course you are! This article is part of our Sweet Land of Money Series. Journey through our top tips and tricks on how to increase earnings.
At Mediavine our recommendations for your ad settings always start with information. We use all the details in your dashboard to evaluate where your readers are, and how best to adjust your settings to ensure high viewability, high earnings, and an excellent user experience.
Scroll past all of your earnings and RPM data in your dashboard and pause for just a minute on your Ad Unit Breakdown. Take a look at your total number of impressions over the last 30 days.
- Are you close to hitting an impressions threshold that will increase your revenue share? (5,000,000, 10,000,000 or 15,000,000 impressions)
- Is your viewability 70% or higher? (at least 70% is always the site-wide goal)
- If we were working together last year, take a quick minute to compare to the same date range last year. Are CPMs higher? Is viewability higher? Have impressions increased relative to your traffic?
Scroll to Devices and note the % of mobile traffic versus desktop traffic you have. This will help with frequency decisions.
Scroll a bit further and look at your Top Pages details.
The default method of sorting this data is by traffic, which will help you to get the biggest 🧨 bang 🧨 for your buck when making changes. Look at:
- Posts that have a higher page level RPM. Note the number of impressions those posts are serving.
- Posts that have a lower page level RPM. Note the number of impressions those posts are serving.
- Compare the CPMs between the higher vs. lower posts. Are advertisers spending more on one versus another? Is the viewability higher on the posts with higher spend? Or are there higher value keywords in one versus another?
- OPEN THE POSTS. We recommend using developer tools to view the site on mobile, and we recommend using an incognito window to more closely mimic your reader's experience.
- Force ads using ?test=houseads or ?test=placeholders and refresh the page.
- Make notes about things like a Jump to Recipe button in the first screenview, email opt-ins or calls to action that may appear too soon, as well as any other tools you have enabled that pop up, slide in, or encourage your readers to consume your content in a different way.
Now that you are more familiar with how advertisers are serving ads on each of your posts, as well as how readers are using your top content, it's time to use the information you've collected to make some decisions.
Visit your Settings --> Ad Settings FIRST.
We are looking at adjusting in-content ads in this article, but before we head there, take a quick look at your Ad Settings / Optional Ad Units.
Are any of these enabled? If they are, HOW MUCH ARE THEY CURRENTLY ADDING TO YOUR OVERALL RPM? The performance of these optional units can vary throughout the year, and it is important to keep in mind that more ads does not necessarily equal more money.
- If your Recipe Card ads are currently paying more than Chicory, it makes more sense to adjust / increase your Recipe Card Ad frequency than it does to ALSO have Chicory enabled since they are all serving in the same space.
- If you have GumGum In-Image ads enabled, make a note of what that experience is like on desktop as well as mobile. We recommend a slightly adjusted Advanced In-Content Setting to maintain a good user experience when GumGum In-Image Ads are enabled.
Visit In-Content Ad Settings
Start with Mobile In-Content Ads
- Look back at your notes about your mobile site. Use them as you adjust.
- If you have a high percent of mobile traffic, you want to be sure you are serving a higher in-content ad frequency on mobile. We recommend at least 28%, but you can also try out 30% and see if that works for you.
- Check your paragraph spacing. 2 is the default, but this setting really should be adjusted based on your goals and how your content is formatted.
Do you have REALLY long articles? More than 1,000 words? Do you write short (2-3 sentence) paragraphs? If so, a paragraph spacing of 3 can work, especially if you are running GumGum In-Image Ads.
Are your articles a little shorter? 1 paragraph spacing might be the better bet for you.
- OPTIMIZE FOR CONTENT LENGTH. This is always the recommended ad limit setting. Our script wrapper will continue to monetize your content based on your chosen frequency and paragraph spacing as long as the reader is scrolling.
It is important to keep in mind that Mediavine does not serve ads where there are no readers, so counting ad slots will never be an accurate representation of how many ads you are serving or what each user's experience is like. that will vary based on device, location, etc.
For this reason, we do not recommend setting a limit on your in-content ads. Just like on Instagram, ads will continue to serve as long as the reader is with you when you choose the Optimize for Content Length setting.
Visit Desktop Ad Settings
Desktop ads pay higher CPMs, and desktop readers can sometimes be a little bit more sensitive to how many ads are being served. Your desktop site also offers more "ad real estate" in the form of sidebar ads, so the recommended settings on desktop are a little bit lower. The default here is just 20%, but again, you need to adjust this based on YOUR readers and the data you gathered from your dashboard.
Visit Recipe Ads Settings
If you made notes about things such as a Jump to Recipe Button in the first screenview, THESE SETTINGS ARE FOR YOU! Especially if you noted a lower number of impressions on posts where readers are more inclined to "jump".
You'll find more "jumpy" readers on simple posts such as drinks or quick recipes.
If most of your readers are using your jump button we suggest you:
- Enable the Arrival Unit
- Select the default settings for Recipe Instruction Density as well as Default Recipe Ads
Visit Advanced In-Content Ads
The default setting here is to Run In-Content Ads Anywhere. This will allow our script wrapper to place ads the most efficiently based on the frequency and paragraph settings you just chose and is the least restrictive.
Run In-Content Ads Only After Text Paragraphs is the preferred setting if you are also running GumGum In-Image ads. It is also a nice option if you do not like ads to serve after an image.
WARNING: If your post structure puts several images in a row with no text in-between, this setting WILL affect earnings and RPM. Keep an eye on popular content in case any posts with multiple images and no text start to trend and adjust accordingly.
Run In-Content Ads Only Between Text Paragraphs is the most restrictive setting and really only works well for very wordy long content with just a few images. It is typically not recommended.
Ads in HTML Lists
If you love to add a bulleted or numbered list to your posts, OR if you have popular posts that are mostly a list, this setting can be a great option.
Look at your lists on mobile. Do they take up more than 1 entire screenview?
Typically the Mediavine script wrapper will not insert ads in lists, but if your lists are long, you are probably limiting the number of in-content ads you are serving.
Try enabling this setting and then refresh using ?test=placeholders or ?test=houseads and look again.
Track Your Progress!
If you make adjustments to your settings, keep an eye NOT just on RPM, but on your page level data, specifically Impressions per Page. Use the comparison feature to track the days following the change to the days prior to that adjustment.
Are you seeing an increase in impressions based on the posts you noted with a lower number?
Keep those goals in mind!
If you noted that you are close to an impressions threshold, sometimes adjusting one of these settings can make all the difference. If you are looking at increasing earnings and RPM, compare year over year again and track your progress.