CPM ads are a bit of an art. You’re paying for impressions by the thousand, but you’re not guaranteed clicks out of any of those impressions. Furthermore, even if you get those clicks, you then have the whole issue of the sales funnel and all the additional potential failure points along the way.
Therefore, if you want to succeed with CPM, you need to find the cheapest CPM ads you can possibly find. However, you don’t want to end up signing on with a network that’s riddled with bot viewers and very few actual users, or a wide range of actual users, most of whom don’t care about your site. After all, you need interested users on related sites to click through to your ad landing page. If they aren’t interested, no matter why they clicked, they won’t be buying, so you make nothing from the conversion.
Here are five excellent networks you can investigate. They won’t all work for you, but they’re all worth checking out, particularly if you have issues with the unmentioned giants.
Casale Media is the core system behind two different networks; Index and MediaNet. Both networks are focused on advertising, with different areas of expertise. Index is focused more on the massive enterprise solutions that you might find useful if you’re a large national or global brand. This includes valuable automation tools. MediaNet, meanwhile, is a more traditional ad network.
Casale is also very picky about the sorts of publishers they let into their system. They have strict requirements for traffic and site quality, meaning that as an advertiser, you have a guaranteed quality level for your traffic.
Conversant was formerly known as ValueClick, a name that they abandoned due to some negative connotations when they rebranded and revamped their system. Today, they’re one of the oldest and most respected ad networks for publishers, which makes them a very potent source of placement.
They are also very picky about the publishers they let into their system. Though they aren’t the most elitist network in the world, they have high standards, meaning your ads are very unlikely to be displayed on spam sites or thin, low-quality sites designed to game the system. You’re going to be displayed on great sites related to your content, with the absolute minimum of 3,000 views per month on the site.
Exponential is one of the largest ad networks in the world, servicing a wide variety of clients ranging from Mastercard, AT&T, Nissan and HP to smaller clients like your business. They have a huge presence all around the globe, including their publisher-centric network, Tribal Fusion. If you’ve heard of them before – and you probably have – you know all about their reputation.
Sovrn, formerly known as Lijit, is a pretty good ad network focused entirely on the United States. Publishers love them because they have great ad fill rates and high payments. That, in turn, means you’ll have plenty of opportunities for your ad to be displayed in their network. They’re also very good at providing demographic and performance statistics, though it’s not always the more accurate or sensible data at first.
Sovrn is on the cusp of debuting a new tool called Meridian, as well. It’s mostly aimed at publishers, but anything that benefits publishers benefits advertisers as well.
Popcash is an interesting network to use, because it’s all about performance, and it uses a mostly unused form of advertising. See, Popcash worked with pop-under advertising, which has been relegated by many to be the realm of spammers and pornographers. You can certainly use the network if you’re one of those, but you can also use it in more legitimate means. You have full control over your campaign, you can see how your ads are performing on an hour by hour basis, and you don’t have to dump a ton of cash into the platform to get it rolling.
Of course, at the end of the day, you’re still using pop-under advertising. If you don’t want to be associated with that reputation, deserved or not, you should avoid Popcash.
Honorable Mention: BuySellAds
BuySellAds is not an ad network, per se. Instead, it’s more of an advertising marketplace. As an advertiser, you sign on to their network and gain access to a marketplace where publishers post their sites. You bid for how much you’re willing to pay for the traffic and quality they post, and compete against other advertisers doing the same thing. When you win the bid, you get your ad placed on that site for whatever length of time you won. If you lose, you move on to another pick and repeat the process.
Some very potent sites with amazing traffic can be found on this site, as well as some surprisingly valuable sites with very little in the way of competition for your ads. This is particularly true if you’re part of a relatively narrow niche.
The one drawback to using this site is that it’s not a network, it’s a DIY solution. You do everything your self. There’s not much in the way of automation beyond “bid this much again next month?” You also are limited in the amount of analytics information you get, because, again, there’s no centralized network to monitor.
The Giants: Facebook and Google
As mentioned above, these are all alternatives to the giants, that is, Facebook and Google. The big F&G sites are obviously excellent options, but they tend to be both more expensive and harder to use, due to the sheer amount of competition. On the other hand, they have massive audiences the likes of which other networks can’t compare. If you can still use Facebook or Google, you may want to give them a shot and experiment with ways to make your ads a success. If you’ve failed on those platforms, or if you’ve been blocked from using them, these alternatives are all viable.
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