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.

Posted in Contextual Ad Targeting, Monetize Your Content, Online Advertising Techniques, Retargeting | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Monetize Your Content, Online Advertising Styles, Web Site Advertising, Website Advertising, Website Monetization | Leave a comment

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:




Posted in Ads For My Website, Advertising For My Website, Advertising For Your Website, Content Monetization, Website Advertising, Website Monetization | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Non-Image Online Ads, Online Advertising Styles, Online Advertising Techniques, Text Link Ads | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Ads For My Website, Affiliate Marketing, Content Monetization, Cost Per Click Ads, CPC, Monetize Your Content, Text Link Ads, Website Monetization | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Behavioral Ad Targeting, Contextual Ad Targeting, Web Site Advertising, Website Advertising | Leave a comment

What Is An Ad Network?

People put advertising on their website to make money. The the phrase often used to describe it in the industry is “website monetization” or “monetizing your content”.

One of the easiest places to find sources of advertising for your website is an ad network. Ad networks serve people who own websites, typically called web publishers, and they also serve companies who want to place advertisements on those websites. They effectively bring the two interested parties together. There is another similar entity called an ad exchange, but we will talk about ad exchanges some other time.

As a website publisher, you provide essentially a “window” or a “space” on your website and you want to fill that with an advertisement. Your goal is to make money on your website. Depending on the type of ad that fills your space, you can make money when someone clicks on it (with cost per click advertising), or you can make money just by having someone show up on the page (cost per impression advertising). You can tell the ad network which kind of ad you want.

An ad network is essentially a middleman. With one hand the ad network listens to you, the publisher as you detail which spaces you want to fill and the type of people that show up on your website. Audience analysis is normally determined automatically by the ad network. On the other hand the ad network is talking to advertisers that want to sell or promote things. These are people paying money to find their target audience on websites all over the globe.


Here’s an example of how the interaction works. Let’s say you have a website that sells green duck eggs, that is your niche. You go to an ad network and you sign up. You then figure out where you want to place the advertising on your website that sells the green duck eggs. Then you go to your ad network and you specify the type and size of ads you want to fill the space that you have created within your HTML pages on your website.

Once you’ve done that the ad network will give you a little slice of code, also called a script. You cut and paste the script from the ad network and you place it in this space you’ve created on your webpage on your website.

Once you’ve placed the code on your webpage, the ad network monitors the traffic on your website. The ad network determines what kind of people show up on your website and which aren’t the best ads to place there.

So back to the green duck egg example. The ad network finds advertisers that are interested in your audience that shows up to consume your green duck eggs content. The ad network’s interest is not in your content, the interest is in the audience of your content — showing ads to the people going to your website to look your the content.

So now the ad network goes to the advertising side of their house and looks for advertisers that are interested in showing ads to people who are interested in green duck eggs. It’s not always clear to the website owner, you, who that might be. If you’re selling green duck eggs it might be other green duck egg sellers. There are ways to prevent your competitors from showing ads on your website. It might be products and services that complement or are somehow related to your green duck eggs.

So how do you get paid? Here’s an example. One of your web site visitors comes to the webpage you’ve placed the advertising on. They see an advertisement for duck feed that is running on your website that is about green duck eggs. The web visitor clicks on the advertisement and is taken to the advertiser’s site promoting duck feed. The duck feed advertiser has paid the ad network to put that duck feed advertisement on your webpage — let’s call it a dollar. So the ad network gets a dollar when someone clicks on the advertisement and then gives you $.60 of that dollar.


That’s what a middleman does. The advertiser pays a dollar to the ad network, the middleman ad network keeps $.40 of that dollar and you, the website owner, gets $.60. The haircut $.40, or the portion the ad network keeps, varies across ad networks.

It’s easy to find ad networks who will provide advertising for your website by simply going to a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing and searching for “ad networks”. Google is one of the largest ad networks around. But it is confusing when you first try to figure out how the whole advertising ecosystem works.

People with websites looking for advertising go to the AdSense part of the Google ad network. There you can sign up, be approved and ask for the script, or the code, that you insert into the spaces of your website that will provide advertising from the other side of the Google ad network which is called AdWords.

Posted in Ad Networks, Ads For My Website, Advertising For My Website, Advertising For Your Website, Cost Per Click Ads, Cost Per Impression Ads, CPC, Monetize Your Content, Web Site Advertising, Website Advertising, Website Monetization | Leave a comment

Welcome to Ads For My Website

How Do I Get Ads for My Website?

So, you want to start advertising on your website… this site is a practical guide for website owners who want to generate the highest income from online advertising on their websites or blogs. Once you’ve established a website with high-quality content and some visitors, you can start to think about selling advertising. You sell ads (by signing up for an advertising program or selling your ad space/inventory directly) and make money from the ads you show.

You should first consider how the addition of advertising might impact your audience — the people who come your site every day. Making money with ads on your website requires traffic, and if you’re traffic disappears because you’ve added online advertising, then you may want to consider a new business model – maybe subscription or donations. However, millions of websites today successfully include online website advertising without excessive traffic loss on their pages.

Where to Get Ads for my Website?

The most likely source of the ads for a small web publisher (website owners are often called web publishers) are from ad networks (Google Adsense, Kontera, Yahoo Publisher Network, Microsoft PubCenter, Bidvertiser, and AdBrite are some of the most popular), affiliate programs (Amazon, Commission Junction and LinkShare are popular examples), or selling ads yourself and using a free ad server like OpenX.

Adding AdSense for Content Ads to Your Website

AdSense from Google is the most popular way to add advertising to websites — it is also very easy to use. One of the best places to go to get more information ins the InsideAdSense YouTube Channel that has many helpful videos explaining how the program works, how to sign-up, and how to physically add the code to your site. Google recently updated the interface of their AdSense service – this is a video showing what the new inteface looks like and how the new interface works.

Adding Bidvertiser Ads to Your Website

Here’s the page that explains how to add bidvertiser ads to your site. It works a lot like Google AdSense.

What Kind of Ads Can I show?

The two main categories are “click ads” (CPC – Cost Per Click or PPC – Pay Per Click), ads that pay you when someone clicks on them, and “impression ads” (CPM – Cost Per Thousand (Mille = Thousand in Latin)), or ads that pay you when someone sees them.

How Much do the Website Ads Cost?

The ads and ad programs are almost always free. Be very skeptical if someone wants to charge you money to show their ads.

How do I Put the Website Ads on my Pages?

Adding ads to your website is one of the easiest and simplest ways to make money. If you go with an ad network, like the ones mentioned above, the ad provider will give you a small piece of code that you add to each web page you want to show ads on. If you want to show ads on every page (you need to pay attention to each ad providers “terms of service” sometimes they don’t want you to show ads on “non-content” pages) you can often add the code to a header, a footer, or as part of a template to reduce your workload.

How Much Money Can I Make?

It depends on the type of ads you choose, the type of content you have and the amount of traffic coming to your site. Many beginners start with contextual ads from a program like Google AdSense. The ads are called contextual ads because Google analyzes the content on each page (from text, headlines, etc) and then decides which ads to show your website visitors.

Let’s say you have 100 people a day coming to your site and each one looks at an average of 3 pages – that’s a total of 300 page views a day. That’s 300 pages where ads will be displayed. For contextual ads, you only make money when someone clicks on the ad. So, let’s say out of the 300 pages that get shown, 6 of those pages result in ads that get clicked. If each ad results in 15 cents per click, you will make 6 x 15 cents or 90 cents per day.

If you choose to put impression-based ads on your pages, the money you make depends on the price you get per impression. Let’s say you’re given a $5 CPM (Cost Per Impression) ad to show, you would make half a penny for every page someone looks at. So, in this case, you would make $1.50 – that’s ($5/1000) x 300 pages = $1.50.

Buying Ads to Drive Traffic to Your Website

The flip side of earning money with ads on your website is buying advertising yourself, on other people’s sites or on seach engines, to drive new people to your site. This is the “buy side” of online advertising. You buy ads to drive more traffic to your site. You can do this with Google AdWords or Microsoft AdCenter.

Targeted Advertising for Your Website

Some advertising networks include targeting technology that allows them to more accurately serve ads on your website that fit the interests of your web visitors. People that come to your site have cookies on their browser that allow advertising providers to better decide which ad to show on your website.

What’s New

This site will be updated and expanded soon.

Latest Headlines

The Web’s New Gold Mine: Your Secrets
A Journal investigation finds that one of the fastest-growing businesses on the Internet is the business of spying on consumers.
- The Wall Stree Journal
– July 30, 2010, Julia Angwin writes about how advertisers are profiling web visitors to more effectively target advertising.

Policing the Online Ad Market — The proposed financial reform bill — expanding the FTC’s powers — puts the industry on edge- AdAge – March 22, 2010, FTC consumer privacy acts may soon limit the types of advertising you can use on your website.

Familiar names cash in on ad networks - iMedia Connection – January 15, 2010, the lastest on the industry’s largest ad networks.

Internet Marketing 101: What is interactive advertising? - San Francisco Examiner – July 22, 2009, Robert Dick has a nice overview of possible ways to get ads for your website.

10 Tips for Boosting PPC Conversions- ECommerce Times – July 14, 2009, Brandon Leibowitz discusses how to maximize revenue from text ad programs like Google AdSense and others.

Advertising Spend Bucks Gloomy TrendThe Age – November 27, 2008, Ari Sharp discusses the fact that billing rates for some of Austrailia’s largest media buyers are up in the face of the global market depression.

Internet Advertising Competition Looking for Advertising Professionals to Judge 2009 Awards - Web Marketing Associaton – November 26, 2008, The Web Marketing Association is holding its 7th annual Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards abd is currently accepting entries.

Google Rises as Barclays Says Search Ads Picking UpBloomberg – November 25, 2008, Google stock goes up after Barclays Capital says it will increase online advertising spending.

Posted in Ads For My Website, Web Site Advertising, Website Advertising | 1 Comment