How can you monetize a medium

The Pillars of Monetization: A Data-Driven Guide for Ad Publishers and Bloggers

Despite our SEO focus, we at SEMrush have always been fascinated by the possibilities of online advertising. And since we've been looking at the advertiser's perspective for a long time, we thought it was only fair to take a closer look at the other side of the business.

So we turned to those who deliver the ads to the audience - the large and diverse network of online publishers, content producers, and influencers from all over the internet.

To uncover the secrets of online publishers, we did what the SEMrush marketers do best: We Googled. But while that works most of the time, this time around, to our surprise, we didn't find a comprehensive study or research on how the ad placement business is doing.

Since we don't miss any exciting puzzle, our advertising department put together a team and started research.

The results were surprising, to say the least.

Publishers are missing out on 79% of their potential monetization

Yes you've read correctly! Domains that live on display space sold realize only 21% of their potential monetization. The average blog or website with ads misses 79% of its sales potential with third-party ads. This makes 21 the loneliest number in the world of online advertising.

Are you a publisher, blogger, or affiliate marketer?

We don't want to paint the devil on the wall, but you probably belong to this statistic and earn a fifth of what you could earn. Oh woe!

We are happy to provide evidence for these big claims - using data obtained from analyzing 30,000 domains from 20 industries. So don't take our word for it - see for yourself. Do a quick reality check of your website, blog, or any other online medium you operate.

By the way, affiliate marketing is a good solution for those who want to participate directly in the sales success of the goods advertised.

Our tool for the Google Ads benchmark will help you with this. Enter your domain in the search box and see if you are getting the most out of your monetization. What do you have to lose?


Get back the missed sales

How did the benchmark turn out? Yes, we know the feeling. The numbers can be sobering. But you can turn the ship! See the positives - the wider the gap between current and potential advertising revenue, the more room you have to grow your monetization. And thanks to the wonders of technology, it is entirely possible to increase your sales from the current 21% to the coveted 100%.

Get the 100% for only$ 99.95 WithSEMrush PRO. Get all the data and tools you need to turn your domain into a well-oiled machine of monetization!

Whatever your untapped potential, you can realize it. All you need is a magic formula ... and we have found it for you!

The magic formula of monetization

Whether you use Google Ads or direct mail, your monetization business is built on three pillars:

  • The click prices (CPC)that determine the average amount of payout you will receive from advertisers for placing their ads on your domain. This column stands on the maximum price that an impression, a click or a desired action will bring you.
  • The organic traffic- the core of monetization. The more organic traffic you get, the more views, clicks and conversions you can get from the ads placed.
  • The click rate - while the organic traffic leads the potential customers to your domain, the point here is that they stay long enough to interact with your content. This also includes the advertisements. More usability means more clicks and conversions - and advertisers love conversions.

How do we best use the magic formula? Theory is fun, but we only get something out of it in practice. So: let's take action!

1st pillar: Click prices - Get the most out of your display space

Let's start with the audience favorite: the click price column. If you have aPublisher the point here is to align your domain with the most profitable combination of industry, target group and region.

If you Content producer - bloggers, artists, musicians, etc. - it works the same way. Even if you start out with a pure passion for art, you will probably want to know sooner or later whether there is any way to monetize your work.

If you can base the tricky decisions you have to make on reliable data, it will be much easier for you to get the big payouts you want.

G for generous: Google pays 68% of advertising revenue in the Google Ads network to publishers. .

The challenges

Choose your market niche

To achieve financial success, you need to meet market demand with your content. Choosing the right market niche and keywords should be your top priority as a publisher or producer. Especially if you want to monetize, it is a must to take the most important step of your marketing journey on the basis of reliable data.

The decision between 'in demand' and 'expensive'
Many inexperienced publishers succumb to the temptations of the high payouts that advertisers offer in some industries. But not everything that glitters is gold. Big payouts are only possible when users click on the ads.

Imagine you are promoting a castle for sale in Scotland. This is an expensive item so you can expect a large payout from the seller. But the demand for locks is low. It should take a while for someone to click on the ad.

In other words, a generous payout that the seller promises or an impressive "average click price" does not guarantee a high profit. The most expensive keywords and industries don't generate a lot of revenue if they only serve a small market. On the other hand, some "click price dwarfs" can make up for in quantity what they lack in the individual price.

Target local markets

Google Ads or not, if you want your hard creative work to pay off, choosing the right industry isn't enough. It is just as important to find the right target group and to be present in various local markets. For example, if your content is written in English, you can target resonance around the world or focus on a specific market - like the US - to maximize your payouts. Thinking globally is a good thing, but acting local can be more profitable.

Solution: CPC Map

CPC Map does all the research work for you so that you can make a well-informed assessment of which industry, which country and which keywords offer the greatest potential for monetization.

The tool processes data for online advertising in 15 countries and from various industries. We analyze 5,567,193 keywords to produce a compact, easy-to-understand, and fully interactive report that looks like this:

Let's briefly go through the typical scenarios in which you can use CPC Map as a publisher or content producer.

1. See the market from a bird's eye view

The first thing you can do with CPC Map is to get a detailed snapshot of advertising activity in a particular industry and country, state, or region:

Simply select a country and / or an industry and get an overview of the local advertising market of your choice.

It's also a great way to see the average CPC payouts you can expect from showing ads in specific industries and regions.

2. Research prices vs. demand

As I said earlier, not all that glitters is gold, and focusing on keywords or industries with the highest click prices doesn't necessarily promise the highest profit.

With CPC Map you can compare prices and demand for both industries and keywords. Here's how to find either the perfect balance or industries and keywords that are popular but also have high advertising costs:

3. Discover trends

Like it or not, nothing lasts forever in online advertising either. Trends come and go, prices rise and fall. But you can be one step ahead of the action if you keep an eye on a special component of the CPC map:

And with that our click price column is complete!

2nd pillar: organic traffic

There's no need to introduce our next guest - that's right: in this section of the guide, we'll play the SEO card. No matter how you monetize your domain - through ads or selling your own products - you won't make big leaps without organic traffic.

Pro tip: According to a recent study by Backlinko, a place gained in Google search results increases the click rate of your domain by an average of 30.8%.

We'll show you how to boost your organic traffic with minimal investment of time and effort. Let's call it 'SEO to go for those in a hurry'.

The challenges

SEO for the Blog: Most publishers, bloggers and enthusiasts of online monetization commit one of the original SEO sins. Based on an analysis of more than 30,000 domains with theSite audit we identified the most common mistakes on publisher websites:

The biggest SEO challenges for the average publisher are relatively simple:

  1. Make a complete and honest list of your domain's SEO issues

  2. Fix the problems early

Solution: On Page SEO Checker

Fixing all technical issues will, in and of itself, give your website visibility a boost. But you can take your SEO a little further. On the way to the top, it is not only important to repair what is defective, but also to use and improve what is already good.

You don't have that from us - but you don't need a doctorate in SEO to achieve results on a professional level in a matter of months. At least not with a reliable plan and intelligent tools that automate all routine tasks for you. So lucky that we have both on offer!

May we introduce: the On Page SEO Checker

Every superhero needs an assistant. Here is yours! The On Page SEO Checker - a kinder and better looking cousin of the average free SEO tool out there - one that even people like.

The short version of the story is, if you've ever been craving an SEO tool that you can immediately understand and use, then you've found it. The On Page SEO Checker creates a list of practical recommendations (not just technical ones) and accompanies you on every step of the implementation.

Receive ideas - and implement them!

If you have successfully set up the On Page SEO Checker, you will immediately receive dozens of optimization ideas for every page that you want to give a helping hand. This data is extremely useful when it comes to promoting pages to the Google sun that are important to your monetization.

And the best thing is: you get your boost at the expense of your direct online competitors! The On Page SEO Checker collects data about the most successful competitors of the selected page and shows you how you can use this data to get in the lead.

With the On Page SEO Checker, we have distilled out the 10 most frequent recommendations that ad publishers receive. Take these ideas first because they offer the best chance for quick and noticeable results!

If you want to deepen your knowledge, we recommend our SEO for Monetization Guide.

3rd pillar: The click rate

Your success in monetization stands and falls with the click rate. The smarter the ads are placed for your target audiences, the more organic traffic on your pages turns into money. Please also note that the click rate of Google Ads and other advertisers is also used as a quality criterion for your website as an advertising medium.

The challenges

Poor ad placements, unfavorable web design decisions, and technical issues all contribute to a poor user experience (UX) for your website visitors. This in turn has a negative impact on the willingness of your target audience to interact with your ads. As a result, the click rate drops.

While the majority of UX issues are easy to fix, they can be difficult to even spot.

The solution: display advertising

One measure to increase the click rate is to use our display advertising tool to look through your competitors' pages for cleverly placed ads or good web design ideas. Just type in their domain names and see which ad formats they run. You can also research their most successful landing pages.

Alternatively, if you want to attract the interest of a specific advertiser or industry, use the Publishers section to find out which type of publishers certain advertisers prefer to advertise to:

Read this article in our knowledgebase if you want to learn more about the display advertising tool, its features and what you can do with it.

The focus is on the content

The focus is on the content and ensures that the three pillars remain stable. It is the heart of every domain, and every ad publisher thrives on a steady flow of this valuable resource.

So whether you create content yourself or delegate this task to others - you can always use SEMrushsContent Marketing Toolkit benefit. You will find the following useful tools in it:

  • Topic Research
    Sometimes it is not easy to come up with good ideas for new content. It is even more difficult to select topics that generate a response in the markets. Topic Research is happy to take this burden off your shoulders and help you find topics for relevant content that attracts visitors with just a few clicks.
  • SEO Writing Assistant
    Nothing offends an author's pride more than the need to rewrite his content masterpiece according to SEO requirements. The SEO Writing Assistant will help you avoid this situation by providing unobtrusive optimization ideas as you write. And if you as an editor work with external authors, you can use the tool to quickly check whether everything is OK in the SEO department. The authors like it, they like it, the tool makes sure that Google likes it too.
  • Marketplace
    If you're not a great writer, don't want to overuse your creative genius, or don't have the manpower to scale your content strategy to a higher level, the new marketplace is the solution for you. Give us a title and get a professionally written article straight to your inbox. (For the time being, only English-speaking authors are available on the Marketplace.)

4. Conclusion

And that's it for today! This is the first time we've looked at digital marketing and online monetization from that angle, but we're not going to leave it at that. So keep your eyes open - more content on this topic will follow in the near future.

As always, we look forward to hearing your opinion. In your opinion, which pillars are the most important for publishers and content producers, what is your experience with their structure and what were the results? Feel free to share your experiences, ideas and suggestions with us in the comments.

Thank you for your time and we wish you every success with monetization!