With nearly 7,000 live sites at Mediavine, we have helped our fair share of customers navigate moving to new ad management, and have probably answered every question under the sun about what a switch will look like.
For bloggers, as small business owners, there are so many facets to your business and each demands your attention in its own way. Everything from Google Search Console emails on Guided Recipes to Lighthouse Pagespeed updates and website accessibility (gah if that wasn’t all just in the last week!), there is an awful lot you need to know to run your blog as a successful, sustainable business.
Ad management is likely just one tiny piece of things you need to know about, but for many, ads make up a significant portion of your monthly earnings, so it’s an important one!
Such a crucial part of your business deserves at least a little bit of your attention (don’t worry, we will still do all the heavy lifting). Since ads are hard (seriously SO MANY ACRONYMS), I wanted to put together a resource guide of data for your review and questions you should DEFINITELY be asking when evaluating your performance.
What’s My Goal?
If you are thinking of switching up ad managers, you need clearly defined goals.
What are you looking to accomplish with a move? Is it a higher RPM? Better site speed? Better support? Working with a company that will help you grow your traffic? More data to help you exponentially grow your business?
We can check all of those boxes for you here at Mediavine, but the important part of this is what matters most to you?! Write out your goals so that you can have them in mind while you are gathering all the info you need, and let’s take a minute to touch a little on each of these common reasons to switch, so we can dig into them more.
If your goal is a higher RPM:
- REVENUE / TRAFFIC x 1000
When people talk about achieving higher RPM’s, usually what they are really talking about is more REVENUE. I mean really — you can’t deposit your RPM at the bank.
So what is revenue? Revenue is just this equation (sorry y’all, more math):
- IMPRESSIONS x CPM / 1000
If your goal is a higher RPM, the actual goal is more revenue. The takeaway here is that in order to know if you’ll earn more revenue, you need access to impressions and CPM. Will you have access to that with your new ad manager? At Mediavine the answer is YES. We provide you with LOADS of data that will help you understand your earnings, your readers and how to get more of both.
If your ad manager does not provide these metrics, you should definitely ask WHY. How can you know if you’ll have higher RPM’s (or more importantly, how can you know exactly how you will achieve them) without access to the details that make up half of that RPM equation?
If your goal is better site speed:
What resources does your ad manager provide you with to help evaluate site speed, and what role do ads play in it? Do they have engineers on staff that build their ad tech around it? Do they have a support team that understands how to help you sort through those resources and get you started?
Obviously Mediavine has approximately a bajillion pagespeed resources, but we also have engineers that care about how our tech affects your site.
Bonus: advertisers dig a fast site, too. So if this wasn’t a goal of yours, it probably should be. The faster your site is, the faster your ads are. Faster ads = higher viewability. Higher viewability = higher CPM’s, so here we are back at money $$$.
If your goal is better support:
Ok, so as the Director of Support I could definitely nerd out here for a minute, because we do have an award-winning support team here at Mediavine. We have 35 employees and counting, JUST on the Support team. Half of our team consists of Support Engineers (they are here just for our customers! This does not even include all the engineers that work on ad tech or products), and half are Specialists that are devoted JUST to making sure you are getting detailed answers to your questions whenever they arise. We are here when you need us — that includes weekends.
Questions you should definitely ask any potential ad managers about support include:
- What does weekend support look like? Is it just “limited” support on the weekend? What does that mean? Weekends tend to be the highest traffic days for sites in any niche, but weekends are also when bloggers get a TON of work done. So will someone be there to help you in case you need it?
- How will you support me? Do you offer email support? Phone support? Do humans work there and will they answer me?
If your goal is traffic growth:
This is sort of like increasing revenue — who among us does not want to grow their readership? The questions you want to ask here should be about what resources an ad manager offers to help grow your traffic? Also, how will they help support your ongoing efforts?
At Mediavine we offer free SEO resources from the experts that built OUR business. They have more than 16 years of SEO experience, but they ALSO have the search traffic to prove that these methods for growth REALLY work.
We also offer tools like Teal Talks, a series of videos put together by our Brand team to help answer questions on everything from your legal responsibilities as a blogger to hiring a virtual assistant, or trying to work from home with kids.
If your goal is more data:
Circling back to the first goal we touched on here — increasing revenue and RPM, data is everything when you are trying to figure out how much you are making, where it’s coming from and how to make more!
Mediavine has always been an industry leader in our reporting, and that has only increased exponentially with the new Dashboard 2.0 and page-level reporting. We offer you insights on how many ads you are actually serving to readers on every page, as well as page-level metrics on CPM and viewability.
Questions you should be asking any potential ad manager about the data you are provided are:
- Can I see the number of impressions served? How about viewability? CPM? For each unit?
- Is the data offered net or gross? Are the earnings in my dashboard finalized? (is that what I will actually be paid?)
- Do you offer page-level reporting or country-level data?
- Do you offer viable solutions on things like CCPA and GDPR to help me with my data responsibilities in reference to ads?
- How will you help me use the data provided to grow my business?
How are You Going to Help Me Reach My Goals?
If you reach out to talk with a potential new ad manager and get an email back with a bunch of nonsense about guarantees or machine learning, you should probably just delete it and move on. What you need to help make your decisions are numbers and facts. You need to know how your potential new ad manager proposes to help you reach your set goals.
If someone promises you a 20% increase in RPM, how do they intend to make that happen? What’s the strategy? Where’s the proof? It is okay to ask all of these questions! This is your business and you are allowed to be the biggest skeptic of anyone that wants to help you monetize it. Make sure to check in with those goals you set, and get your questions lined up.
Are you going to increase RPM by running more ads? Does that line up with your set goals?
If the promise is a higher RPM but fewer ads, do they offer the impressions data to back that up?
Are the increases you are seeing just quarterly trends that you should see anyway? This question is really important because to answer it you will also want to review any numbers you have from years past.
Take a look at how much your RPM increased last year from the beginning of Q1 on January 1 to the end of Q1 on March 31. What was the increase percentage?
Make notes on the answers to all of your questions. If you are chatting with friends to help make the decision, are they offering you the same insights to the numbers we’ve covered here, or are the results anecdotal? Other bloggers are such a valuable resource, and digging in to the actual numbers together might help you both learn more.
Ready to make the leap?
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