There are many ad networks available to us as bloggers. Adsense, Media.net, Sovrn, The Blogger Network, and many, many others make it possible for us to make some money from placing their ads in various locations on our sites — including in our articles — and if you know how to set up ad stacking, you can greatly increase your blogging income!
What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can actually create a “stack” or “waterfall” with those ads to get the best fill rates and RPM possible.
If that last sentence didn’t make much sense to you, I’ll explain those terms shortly. If the sentence DID make sense to you, and you’re looking for a good strategy to increase your ad network revenue, read on!
One of the first ways we as bloggers start monetizing our blogs is with Adsense. We apply for the program, pop a few ads up on our site, and wait for the big bucks to come rolling in!
In reality, using just one ad network will only get you part of the money you could be making by stacking your ads. But what is “Ad Stacking”?
What is Ad Stacking?
Ad stacking is a term used to describe the action of stacking your ad codes one within the other so you can always have ads showing in the places you want them with the highest possible amount of money made from those ads.
I know, it still sounds a little confusing. Keep reading, my friend. It will all become clearer as you absorb the information about how to stack your ads, and why you should be stacking them.
Why You Should Be Stacking Your Ads
Some ad networks offer a 100% “fill rate”. That means there will always be an ad served through their ad tags. However, you might not make as much per ad from that network as another network that offers a lower fill rate.
AdNetwork A might have a fill rate of 100% with an average CPM rate of $0.37 — which means they will always serve an ad, and you’ll make about 37 cents for every thousand ads served.
AdNetwork B has a fill rate of 75% with an average CPM rate of $0.79.
AdNetwork C has a fill rate of 50% with an average CPM rate of $1.13.
Typically you’ll find that the networks which offer lower fill rates have higher CPMs. When you’re stacking your ads, you want your highest CPMs higher in the stack so they’re potentially served first.
If your ad stack goes C > B > A, this is what will happen:
When your web page gets pulled up by a user, that ad block will try to pull an ad from AdNetwork C first. If there isn’t an ad ready to be filled from that network, it will default to AdNetwork B. Likewise, if AdNetwork B doesn’t have anything to serve at that moment, it defaults to AdNetwork A.
So there will always be an ad served there, but the higher in the stack it gets served, the more money you will potentially make from that ad.
How to Stack Your Ads
Now that you know what ad stacking is, and why you’d want to do it, let’s focus on how to do it. This is where you may need to do a couple of months worth of testing and reporting before you can get the stacks build properly in order to make the most money you can.
When you’re setting up your ads, there may be a place to add a “pass back”, “backup”, “secondary”, or “backfill” code. In essence, this is code that will remain dormant unless it is needed. If there is no such place, this will need to be the bottom of the stack. Google AdSense, for example, doesn’t give you the option of adding a code below theirs any more, so my recommendation is if you are using AdSense in your stacks, put it at the bottom.
Entering Floor Prices for Different Ad Networks in the Stack
Another feature to look for is “CPM floor price” (or at least, that’s what it’s called on the Sovrn ad network). Here is where you would enter the lowest amount of money you’re willing to accept from this particular place in the stack.
Take a look at your last 30 days report for each ad network with which you’re working. Average CPM is fine, but also look at the highs and lows. This is what will help you determine where you set your floor. You can set it at the lowest number, but that may be too low. You could set it at the highest number, but you may kill your fill rate for this network.
Instead, determine the median CPM. (See? You should have paid attention in math class.) “Median” means you list all the numbers in order and find the middle one. So if you have 5 numbers — $0.23, $0.37, $0.39, $0.41, $0.78 — the mean (average) would be $0.44, the median (middle) amount would be $0.39.
Now compare those two numbers. Setting a floor of $0.39 means you would catch anything higher than 39 cents. If you set it higher, you’ll miss a lot of ads.
This part is really a personal journey. You may play with it from month to month until you get it perfect. Then again, you may just pop a number in there and pray you make lots of dough. Either way, now you know what that section is for.
How to Maximize Income From Your Ad Stacks
There may be some sort of magic “optimum” number of ads that should be on any one given web page, or there may not be. What I can say is this — too many ads on one page instantly make me not want to go back to that site again.
That said, determine how many ad slots you want to have on your site, and prepare your stacks accordingly to be as “perfect” a fit for your site as you think it should be.
Some ad networks only allow so many ads on any one page from their network — AdSense, for example, only allows 3 of their ads on a page. If you attempt to put more than the maximum amount of ads on a page, either the excess won’t show, or none of them will show, so pay attention.
You can have multiple stacks using the same ad networks, but understand that if AdSense is in four or more stacks on the same page, and they all hit AdSense at the same time, you won’t get all your stacks serving ads.
My solution to that is to utilize everything you have at your disposal to fill your ad stacks:
- Sovrn > Media.net > Adsense
- Media.net > Amazon > Adsense
- Sovrn > Amazon > Affiliate
- Sovrn > Amazon > Adsense
- Sovrn > Media.net > My Store Ad
Yes, you can even back fill an ad with an affiliate code. It doesn’t have to necessarily be an ad from a network — any string of coding there will work. You might also make your own graphics to put there to point to your own online store!
Do You Still Have Questions About Ad Stacking?
I think I’ve covered everything here. If you still have questions about ad stacking, leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.
If you would prefer, we can set up a consultation call so I can explain things differently to you. Just contact me!
I am also available to set up your ad stacks if you still don’t understand (or are just too busy to do it yourself).