Where Do Online Ads Come From?

For people who are new to the web/internet, the question arises, where do all these advertisements that I see on websites and blogs come from? If I want to put advertising on my website where can I find ads too?

ads for your website

ads for your website

When the Internet first began, ads were simply images or text links that website publishers (website owner) installed for a fee and then linked visitors to the advertiser’s website or landing page. Now there is an entire ecosystem designed to provide advertising media to both small and large website providers who want to monetize their content. Monetizing is simply the process of figuring out how you can get paid for all the work that goes into creating content and publishing a website. The money you make can help offset the costs for web hosting and video services.

Direct Website-Advertiser Relationship

Let’s think of an example. If you write a blog about digital cameras, you might know a handful of digital camera advertisers (advertisers A, B, C, and D) who you could call and ask if they would like to sponsor ads on your website. The advertisers may be interested because the audience you attract to your site is a profile similar to the people who buy their digital camera related products. But that involves calling and developing relationships and signing contracts for banner ad sponsorships with each separate organization. That is possible but it is also time and labor intensive.

direct advertiser relationship

direct advertiser relationship

Ads. these days, are generally provided by what is called an advertising network. Ad networks are online buyer-seller matchmakers, connecting companies selling products or services with the audience who is most likely to buy them.

Website-Ad Network Intermediary Relationship

It’s a little bit like filling a square hole with a square peg. Now, rather than YOU trying to figure out what your web visitor audience might be interested in purchasing, there is a bunch of technology that can be applied to figuring that out. And… rather than you approaching many different advertisers in separate discussions, you can deal with a single entity that has many different product/service sellers in their backend population of advertising buyers.

ad network relationship

ad network relationship

The ad network represents many advertisers and the ad network is able to match the interests of you web visitors to the the messages their ad buyers want to put in front of them — either based on the context of the content of your website or base on the visitor’s previous web history, or re-targeting.

Optimized Ad Network Supply and Targeting

So, now, this is great. You have a single organization that understands the audience profiles visiting your site and the ads that most appeal to them, e.g., the ads visitors will most likely click on. Back to our example, if web visitor B comes to the digital camera site and is interested in “tripods”, the ad network knows to show the tripod advertisement from Advertiser B.

ad network targeting

ad network targeting

And likewise, if a visitor with a profile more interested in Advertiser D’s goods or services arrives, and ad will be shown from Advertiser D.

Please post and comments or questions you have in the comment section. Thanks!

Video Ads for Your Site

Have you ever considered monetizing your website with video ads? Well, if you’re already using AdSense you have the option to do that. Or if you have your AdSense parameters set up a certain way, you may already be doing that and not even know it.

Why would you want to show video ads on your site? The first answer is visitor engagement. A recent study by Google compared and contrasted video ad response rates to display ad response rates.

Video Ad CTR

Site visitors clicked on video ads 18 times more than standard display ads. That means potentially higher revenue for your website. That is why so many advertising dollars are flowing from display to video. In fact, a recent study by BIA intelligence and the inter-net advertising board shows aggregate video revenue doubling between this year, 2015, and the year 2020.


Video has never been easier to create and manage. Video advertising media has never been more available as a monetizing option for website owners. If you are using AdSense to monetize your content, make sure your ad units are set to show text and image ads.

If you have questions about showing video ads please leave them in the comments section of our website.

Set Up the Google AdSense Plugin for WordPress

Okay, this is part-two of how to use the Google AdSense plug-in for WordPress. In this post I will show you how to easily set up AdSense ads on your WordPress blog. In fact, I’ll show you how to add advertising to this very page/blog you are looking at now. Here is a picture of the front page before we added any advertising.

Before: No Advertising on Page


And here is  how the page looks after adding the AdSense advertising plugin.

After: Easy Inserted AdSense Advertising


If you followed the instructions from the last post, you now have the Google AdSense plug-in listed in your installed plugins dashboard and it is activated.


The first thing you do is click on this settings link within the plug-in dashboard listing.  At that point, they get started dialog box will open.


Before you check the “get started” button, you need to make sure you’re logged in to the Google account that you use for AdSense and Google Webmaster tools. If you don’t have a Google account you can click on the “create one now” button but realize it may take a day or two for you to be approved for AdSense.

Verify Your Website With Google

After your logged in to your Google account, press the “get started” button. At that point you will be brought to a new google page to verify your site – click on the “verify” button.


 After you click the “verify” button you will see a dialog box as Google verifies that you have an existing account.


Once verification is complete, you will land on the Google AdSense Plugin settings page. You can click on the image below to see a larger version.


The first thing to do is to enable automated mobile ads. Click the “automated mobile ads” button and Google will make sure any ads shown to users on smartphones are mobile friendly.

Manage Your AdSense Advertising

Next, click on the “manage ads” button. Google then analyzes your page and decides the best place to put ads.


The Google Plugin Automatically Decides Where to Put Ads

After you click on the “manage ads” button, Google will will automatically suggest where to put advertising.


Google analyzes the page and places dummy ad green placeholders in recommended page locations for ads. Anywhere Google puts a little red marker in each location where an alternative ad can be shown.

Or Manually Decide Where and Which Type of Ads To Show

Google allows only three ads per page to be shown. If you would like a different ad in a different page location, remove one of the 3 green placeholders by clicking the black x in the upper right-hand corner. Then click on the location where you want a new ad.


You can also adjust what type of ad you want to see by hitting the little black gear in the bottom right-hand corner. After you click the gear button in a dialog box appears allowing you to choose the ad format and read type you would like to insert.


Save and Activate

after you are satisfied with where your ads are placed you can click the save and activate blue button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

That’s all there is to it.

Add AdSense to WordPress Using the Google AdSense Plugin

Google AdSense is one of the easiest and most popular ways to add advertisements to your website. When your site visitors click on the ads (or sometimes when the ad is simply displayed, depending on the type of ad) you make money. AdSense is a service created by Google that automatically inserts image, text, and video ads which are targeted based on your site content or by your audience’s interest.

There are a number of different ways to add the necessary AdSense code to your website. If you are good with programming and WordPress, you can manually create html div areas or text widget containers to place the code in. If you’re not as picky about exact placement or not as skilled with a keyboard, there are number of WordPress plugins that make the job quite simple.

One of the easiest ways to add AdSense to your WordPress website is using the official Google AdSense plug-in created by Google. Some people worry about having Google know too much about your website but as far as I’m concerned there’s very little to worry about if you’re creating quality content doing everything by the book.

Assuming you have an approved Google AdSense account (sign up here if you don’t), it is simple to add the code directly from inside WordPress using your browser. First you go to your Plugins page within the WordPress Dashboard .


Then you press the Add New button in the top left-hand corner of the plug-ins page.


That will bring you to the Add Plugins page where you can type “adsense” into the search box and hit return.


 You should now see a number of different available plugins designed to install AdSense on your WordPress site. You may have to scroll down the page until you find the official Google AdSense plugin. Once you find it, click on the Install Now button.


You will then see a dialog box that asks, “are you sure you want to install this plug-in?”. Click “okay” and WordPress will install the plugin. You will then see the following screen where you must click Activate Plugin to enable it to work.


You should then see the Google AdSense plugin listed on your installed plugins page.


In our next post we will describe how to set up and use the plugin.

The Shift from Contextual to Behavioral Retargeted Advertising

A lot of website owners who want to monetize their site via advertising hear the term “online ad targeting” and immediately think that there is some skill or technology they need to develop themselves. The website builder believes that they somehow have to participate in this targeting process. But today the targeting is largely done behind the scenes.

Advertising has always been a matchmaker activity. Companies who sell dog food are interested in showing their advertisements to online segments of dog owners who buy dog food. But increasingly, web targeting focuses on the recency of an online consumer’s behavior — a website or advertisement they have clicked on in the last few minutes.

Back in the days when Google claimed to not be evil, advertising was more contextual — focusing on the range of content or commerce a given online consumer was interested in. But now, time-based retargeting seems to be ruling the day. Here’s how it works.

When you visit a website there are tracking companies who might “drop a cookie” (or a beacon, or a tracking pixel) — a small computer file that basically plants a little flag saying you’ve been there. There are a number of companies who collect this online behavior data and then sell it to advertisers and/or advertising platforms.


As a website owner and general web surfer you probably understand how the mechanics work. For example, if you were on Amazon shopping for a new pair of running shoes last night, chances are an ad for that same pair of running shoes will show up on your Facebook page by the next morning. Sometimes it happens faster than that.

There are complex buying/selling/exchanging of ads that you, as a website owner, are shielded from. All of the millisecond-based transactions happen in the background and all you need to do is place the advertising code on your website.

I guess the point is that the online advertising industry as a whole has made it easier for you, the website owner, to place ads on your website that might actually get clicked on — meaning you have a better chance of making money.

Google Adds New Large Format Ad Sizes to AdSense

Google recently announced the availability of two new ad size formats for its AdSense advertisers. Both new ads increase the square area available for advertising media — text, image or rich media.

The first is a new wider 970 x 250 pixel billboard ad that increases the horizontal area.


Many publishers will want to place this new ad format in the header area of their blog or website.

The second new ad format is a 300 x 1050 pixel skyscraper ad.


Many people will choose to fit this in a right-hand or left-hand column position.

As these ads are “larger” than the average ad, Google has placed restrictions when using them. When using these new ad formats, you are allowed to place one per page, as opposed to three per page using the standard smaller formats.

We are always looking for success or failure stories. Let us know if these ads have worked better for you.

Revenue Generating Ads for Small Websites

People always ask, how busy does my website need to be to to put revenue-generating ads on it? Do I need 100 people a day? Do I need 10 people a day? Do I need 1000 people a day?

There really is no set answer. There are some online ad providers who will not accept you if you don’t have a certain minimum number of visitors per day. The most common starting place for small publishers is an online ad provider like Google AdSense.

Google will determine the type of content on your site but, often more importantly, they may have relevant information related to any given visitor to your site that helps them determine the best ad to show. Google may know that one of your visitors has recently been looking at new cars and they will automatically show an advertisement for the car that the visitor was looking at 30 minutes ago.

Google pulls ads from it’s AdWords inventory of advertisers (eg, “I want to sell dog food”) and matches them to the interests of the visitors on your site (eg. a website about dogs).

Other potential sources ads to put on your blog or website include:




Text-Based Advertising Styles to Put on Your Website

Lots of people start websites or blogs because they want to write about a subject they’re passionate about. It could be auto mechanics, gardening, or coin collecting. Today, if you combine the website information with social media interactions (discussions on Twitter, or Facebook), you can end up with an increasing number of people showing up to read what you’ve created.

That’s the time that most people think to themselves, “maybe I should put some advertising up, and make a little money?” But, often, there are two things in the way. The first is where to get ads from? The second is, not wanting to clutter up the site with lots of intrusive, oversized banner ads or things that will annoy the growing readership of your site.

Today, we’ll talk a little bit about the control you have over your advertising styles and techniques. You don’t have to have large banners that distract and detract from your content. Here are a few examples.

Text and Link Ads

Text and Link Ad Examples

The advertising (from Google’s AdSense Program) highlighted in the above example shows the various styles available to insert into a webpage. You can control the height, width and color scheme of the ads. There are lots of combinations to minimize ad distraction from your content.

Inline Content Text Ads

Inline Content Link Ads

The online ads highlighted above (from Kontera) show how certain keywords in your content can be automatically highlighted with double-underline css. When a web visitor hovers over the double-underlined keyword, a pop-up ad appears. The pop-up ad only appears if the viewer moves their cursor over the keyword as tacit evidence of interest.

Inline Affiliate Links

Affiliate Link Ads

As mentioned in an earlier post on Pay-Per-Click Ads vs. Affiliate Link Ads, you can also highlight certain words in you website content to link to affiliate programs. The above example shows both image and text links.

There are many ways to control any potential adverse impacts to your content by adding online advertising that will help make you extra money from your blog or website.


AdSense CPC vs Affiliate Marketing CPA Ads to Monetize Content

If you have a website with popular content (lots of people visiting regularly) you probably know that there are easy ways to add advertising on your site using services like Google AdSense, but you may not have heard the term affiliate marketing. Both of these tools will help you monetize your content.

CPC (Cost Per Click) ads are provided by companies that insert little text or image advertisements on your site and you get paid when a visitor clicks on the CPC ad. Generally, you just decide where to put the ad and the ad provider decides which ad to show based on your content or visitor-tracked behavior.

Google AdSense is easy to setup and use (signup for an account, put code on your site, ads automatically pop up) but, the often the click rates are often low, the per-click payout is low (pennies to dollars), people are vectored away from your site, sometimes your competitor ads might be shown and you never really know how much revenue a click will produce — how much Google gets for the ad and how much they give to you.


Affiliate marketing is a little different form of advertising with a little different payment arrangement. Affiliate marketing works best if you have a site that lends itself to product recommendations or product linking. That means that if you have a website or a blog about mountain biking you can put text links on your site linking to companies/sites selling mountain bikes. When one of your visitors clicks on an affiliate advertising link, goes to the mountain bike sellers site and purchases a mountain bike, you get paid a percentage of the bike sale price. You can also get paid if the visitor fills out a form with their e-mail address which means the mountain bike seller creates a new sales lead.


With affiliate marketing you get paid on what’s called a CPA — Cost Per Action – basis. That means that the visitors on your site have to first click on the ad and then also take action on the seller’s site — purchase the product or become a sales lead by submitting their email address.

The good news is that the bounties on CPA affiliate ads are usually quite a bit higher (tens to hundreds of dollars per click) than the typical CPC ads and often you know exactly what you will make (unlike CPC ads) when one of your visitors fulfills the action requirements (purchase or becomes a sales lead) of the advertiser.

More good news is that you can essentially build a business and become a seller of goods without the hassle of the transaction management overhead.

The cons of affiliate marketing is that they take a little bit more thinking and planning than CPC ads. You also need to make sure you are clear on your site disclosure that you are using affiliate links.

The Shift from Contextual to Behavioral Targeting

I’ll bet you’ve noticed it… the crazy shift from your favorite sites showing ads related to the content you’re reading (contextual targeting) to showing ads from the site you were reading two hours earlier (behavioral targeting).

Advertising works better when the message delivered is personally relevant to the person receiving it — when it fits the needs or interests of the viewer. For a long time Google had a reputation for its amazing ability to scan the content of a website page and come up with a relevant ad to show. For example, on a website about bicycles, Google would show ads for bicycles and bicycle parts.

While Google still obviously analyzes a page for contextual relevance, increasingly the ads that get inserted have nothing to do with the site or the page. Google is now more likely to make a decision about what ad to show based on your browsing behavior — what sites you’ve looked at recently and most often.