Banner ads have been and always will be a popular way to make money with your blog. It isn’t exactly my favorite method, but it does work if you have the right kind of audience and the traffic to throw at it.
A lot of bloggers, too, are familiar with Google Adsense. It is the ultimate equal-opportunity blog monetization opportunity. Anybody can use it (unless you’re running an adult site or something of that ilk). And, with the right targeting and the right traffic, people can and DO bank with Adsense. (Quick Plug: Workshop On How To Maximize Revenue With Google Adsense).
While Adsense is easy, you’re also paying for it. The typical publisher split with Adsense is 68% (according to a 2010 announcement from Google, anyway). So, that means you’re giving Google 32% of the total revenue your site is earning. The big publishers (however they define that) often arrange custom splits.
So, that’s always an option.
Eventually, most bloggers who use banner ads think about direct-selling, removing the middle-man, and keeping 100% of revenue. For more on this, you can check out an older post I wrote on How To Sell Ads On Your Blog.
Many site owners end up getting confused on how to actually manage this in-house.
- How can you rotate ads on your site internally?
- How do you track performance?
- Does this mean I can’t use networks anymore like Adsense?
That last one ends up being a biggie for many.
You want to direct sell ads, but you don’t want to stop using ad networks. After all, they’re fairly dependable. You simply want to be able to use your own campaigns IF you manage to sell them and they make you more money.
OIO Publisher remains a good option for many. It allows you to run 3rd party ad networks along with your own in-house campaigns.
But, there is another option provided by Google. And it is free.
It isn’t super well-known that this solution is there. Most people just think of standard Adsense when it comes to Google. But, yes, Google bought the Doubleclick network back in 2007. Now, you can use the power of Doubleclick – for free.
DFP allows you to manage your in-house inventory AND integrate Adsense into it. You can also use any other third-party ad network with no problem. So, you can sell in-house ad campaigns and still seamlessly have Adsense use up your unsold inventory. The system can even maximize revenue by running whichever networks is paying you the most.
Setting up DFP has a lot of similarities to setting up Adsense… however, it is a bit more complicated. You have to take the time to set up the different ad placements and ad slots. If you sell a direct campaign, you set up an order, set up creatives, tell it which slots to deliver the banners to, etc. The first time or two you do it, it will take a little trial and error. They also have a Youtube channel with video tutorials for it.
You’ve also got pretty much any option you might need for campaigns. For example, sometimes an advertiser might want to limit display of their banner only to the U.S. You can geo-locate a campaign easily with DFP. You can also target campaigns to a user’s browser, language, operating system, or domain. You can do frequency capping easily (capping the number of times per day a user sees the same ad).
I also like the fact that it is all managed by Google. Less headache that way.
There is no WordPress plug-in that I can find to auto-integrate this into your blog. To set up the ad tags, you’ll need to modify your theme manually and insert the ad tags into the right spot.
If advertising is part of how you make your money online, then definitely check out DFP.