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Vertical ad networks

July 25th, 2008

These days there is a new way for webmasters to monetize their content that goes beyond Google Adsense and Amazon Associates: vertical ad networks. Vertical ad networks are basically ad sales agencies that target a particular niche or vertical (outdoor sports, for example). These agencies approach big name advertisers and sell hundreds of thousands of ad impressions across their network of small- to medium-sized sites and share the revenue with the publishers.

The concept for vertical ad networks isn’t a new one but up until recently we’ve found the whole concept oversold and underdelivered. Today we’re working with two vertical ad networks across our sites and are seeing revenues per thousand impressions roughly double what we were generating through Google Adsense alone. Vertical ad networks are able to charge premium rates over typical cost per click campaigns because they are more targeted and offer additional rich media ad capabilities (think flash).

One thing to keep in mind when signing on to a vertical ad network is that these companies will often ask publishers to sign exclusive one-year ad contracts. It’s important to do your homework and understand the CPMs, payment schedules, ad filtering capabilities, reporting tools, et al before you sign on the dotted line. Ask to speak with other publishers using the network and don’t be afraid to walk away if something seems fishy about the pitch (like it’s too good to be true), especially if you’re satisfied with the revenue you’re generating through Google Adsense.

Vertical ad networks are a great option for monetizing your site once you’re built a reasonable amount of online traffic (at least 25K impressions per month). If you haven’t already been contacted by a network in your niche, search online to find an appropriate partner – just remember to do your homework!

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