What Advertisers Want

young female fashion blogger showing off a colorful plaid shirt to a video camera

Post updated September 2023

Mediavine’s sales and revenue team spends most of its time working externally with ad partners and internally with our Ad Operations team to deliver the most value for every single impression on our publishers’ properties. One question we often hear from publishers, however, is what they can do on their own to make their sites more appealing to advertisers.

Below is a brief breakdown of what we do to get as many advertisers as possible bidding on your inventory, and how you can help the process on the publishing side.

(For more information on how this auction process works behind the scenes, read Mediavine co-founder Eric’s post on header bidding.)

All sites go through a multiple-step approval process when joining Mediavine. Internally, we ensure that sites meet the basic Mediavine requirements, but what you may not know is that our publishers are also approved by every single monetization partner (Google, Index Exchange, Rubicon, etc.).

There are separate and sometimes additional processes for an individual partner, and while they differ, there are a few simple steps that should prevent you from being excluded by any partners:

1. Never buy traffic

Even a generic traffic acquisition test will cause red flags with any monetization partner using fraud detection and could result in you being banned. Such bans are extremely difficult to undo as well as long lasting.

Even if you start a new blog, the new site may also be banned if the same owner is attached to it. Never buy traffic.

2. Keep your site, especially your homepage and other important landing pages, clean and updated

Buyers, exchanges and some individual advertisers will manually inspect sites before approving them. While this may take all of a minute or two, that short window can make or break you, so the first impression is everything.

We’ve seen publishers rejected by buyers and exchanges for many reasons over the years, some more arbitrary than others, but all worth watching out for.

A few common issues include:

  • Too cluttered. As subjective as it gets, we know, but make sure your site is “clean” enough for a first-time visitor to navigate easily. (This is good advice for anyone.)
  • Not updated. The more content you post, the better, but if you can’t update it all the time, shoot for a minimum of two new articles per month.
  • Slow site speed. At Mediavine, site speed is everything. Just saying.
  • The URL isn’t old enough. Just as it takes a while for a site to be fully indexed in search engines, the same is true of ad partners. This issue is perhaps most noteworthy for those considering changing the name of your site. It could take up to 18 months (!) for all buyers and exchanges to start transacting on your site again, which is a big reason why we discourage rebranding.
  • Privacy Policy. All exchanges require an updated Privacy Policy. If they can’t find it, they won’t approve the site. If possible, add a hard-coded Privacy Policy link in the site’s footer.

3. Questionable content

Advertisers are wary of being associated with certain things, from medical content and controversial news to the profane or risqué. Try to keep everything as G-rated or PG as possible, maybe the occasional PG-13 if you must. Definitely not R-rated or beyond.

If you’re wondering what constitutes an R-rating, you probably know it when you see it, but err on the side of caution.

There are many family advertisers who are hyper-vigilant with the kind of content they run next to and incorporate their own ad blockers.

Have you ever seen an ad with just clouds? That ad was blocked from running on that particular page so you saw clouds instead.

On our side, we work hard to make sure all Mediavine ads are rated PG and we are vigilant to ensure the quality and standards of the ads we serve.

Someone watching a video on a mobile phone, with a cup of coffee and a wireless keyboard and mouse in the background.

4. Once you’ve been approved there are other ways to give advertisers what they want:

Diversify your content (within reason).

If you can reach them organically, more is more when it comes to diverse sets of audiences. For example, many Mediavine publishers do a great job of combining food and travel.

A diverse audience means diverse advertisers which means, most importantly, MORE advertisers bidding on the ads on your sites.

This doesn’t mean you should start posting auto reviews if you’re a craft blogger, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other relevant content to expand your reach.

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