Believe it or not, the answer may be no!

If you have less than 1,000,000 monthly pageviews, our advice is simple:

  1. Setup AdSense
  2. Focus on growing your audience

If you have less than 1M monthly pageviews, frankly, you will be wasting your time and money by investing in ad operations. Instead, write more articles, improve your SEO, build out your newsletter and social channels. Until you reach at least 1M monthly pageviews, your time will be better spent on these activities.

There are a few notable exceptions:

  1. Video can be profitable with fewer pageviews, because the CPMs are much higher
  2. If you have an extremely niche and high-valued audience (this is rare, most audiences are not as niche as you think!)

As an example, let’s say you’ve got a website that generates 10,000 pageviews every month. If you’re fairly knowledgeable about the web, you will be able to setup AdSense on your site in between 30-120 minutes. With one ad unit, 10k pageviews, and a typical audience, your site will most likely earn between $10/mo and $20/mo. With three ad units, you’re making perhaps $60/mo. Maybe you’re lucky or choose a high-value niche and you’re making $100/mo. This is a nice supplemental income! But it’s not enough to quit your day job just yet.

So where do you go from here?

If you have less than 100,000 monthly pageviews

Spent a couple of hours setting up AdSense and understanding the screens. Then forget about advertising for 3-6 months and focus on growing your audience. The extra money you earn by squeezing every last penny out of your site won’t be worth the time it requires. It’s tough, but you just don’t have enough pageviews yet to attract most advertisers and low-volume will make you ineligible to participate in some of the more important revenue-driving technologies.

If you have more than 100,000 monthly pageviews

Nice! Now things start to get interesting. At this point, you might start receiving emails from ad networks. If AdSense is still looking good, honestly, just stick with it for now and keep focusing on growth. At this point, you might consider setting up an ad server such as DFP to handle more complex executions such as Single Page Roadblocks.

If you have more than 1,000,000 monthly pageviews

Now it’s time to get serious and make sure your ad operations are tight. At this point, you should be looking at several thousand dollars of monthly revenue and it may indeed be time to quit your day job. You are becoming attractive to individual advertisers, which means direct deals and higher rates. You are likely receiving frequent emails from ad networks encouraging you to try their services. You might also start looking for a dedicated ad operations team to support your technical, sales and trafficking efforts, in which case, contact us!

If you have more than 10,000,000 monthly pageviews

The sky is the limit. You should absolutely have an ad server such as DFP. You should be working with several ad networks and you may be working directly with individual brands. You should be implementing Header Bidding and PMPs. You should get your own AdX account. You might have a sales staff and perhaps an internal ad operations team. This is where small improvements can make a huge difference because a $0.10 increase in average RPM translates to $1000 in revenue.


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