How to Maximize Your Q4 Ad Earnings

Published

As many publishers are very aware, the digital ad industry historically sees the highest ad rates of the whole year in Q4, which starts in October and ends at the end of the calendar year, December 31. The statistics can be pretty incredible, with some websites seeing upwards of 50% of their annual revenue in these short couple months at the end of the year. 

This blog will focus on how you can use the natural uptick in ad rates to your advantage. Follow along for tangible action items you can use to make sure that your site sees even more revenue growth during Q4. 

  1. Why does this occur?
  2. Conduct a Big Data Analytics “check-in”
  3. Optimize your existing content
  4. Consider promoting your content on additional outlets 
  5. Use recommendations from Leap

1. Why does this occur?

Before we jump into the “how” to ride the wave and earn even more revenue during this quarter, it’s important to explain the “why.” We have many blogs that focus on the reasons why this change in ad revenue occurs, which we will link at the bottom of this article. You can also check out the Online Ad Revenue Index we built to see the trend of ad rates across the globe, updated all the way to today.

 

In simple terms, it can be linked to the holiday season and other larger economic events, like Black Friday. To break it down a bit further, when advertisers know that consumers will be spending more time and more money online shopping, they are willing to spend more to get that ad space on sites. This means that the auction space on these sites gets more and more competitive, and this rises year over year as more consumers trend toward online shopping rather than in-person shopping. (This 2018 blog explains it even further.)

2. Conduct a Big Data Analytics “check-in”

Whenever you’re trying to improve your site, a check-in with Big Data Analytics is always a good place to start. Our CMO Tyler Bishop wrote two blogs that might help you in this step: one blog that gives tips on why EPMV increases or decreases, and another recent blog that has interactive buttons to analyze your own site. Before beginning, know that there are many factors that go into your EPMV on your site.

First, you can check in on sources of higher or lower revenue and look at potential reasons. Before you do this, you’ll need to confirm if a period’s revenue is actually higher or lower. This can be done using comparison periods in Big Data Analytics. (Tips on how to do this here.

Once you can confirm that the revenue for that period is higher or lower than normal, you can look at specific attributes to your content and site at this time to see why this might be occurring. 

This check-in will help you discern things like device type and content that are influencing your site’s performance. From there, you can make informed decisions about how to alter your site’s strategy to ride the wave of higher Q4 earnings. 

For instance, if you notice that you are earning quite a bit of traffic from desktop devices and less from mobile devices, this could lead you to look into other settings on your site. Is your site’s content showing up well on mobile devices, or could there be a problem with your user experience? Are you promoting your posts in certain communities that are primarily accessed via desktop, but avoiding promoting them on social media? 

There are many more aspects to your data that you can examine to conduct this “check-in,” but we would recommend starting with these pieces of content we’ve recently published:

3. Optimize your existing content

After you’ve completed your overall check-in on your website, one thing you can do to prepare even further is to find existing articles and make sure they are ready to go for Q4. 

The following list from a recent blog by Craig Casazza we published gives some good indicators that it may be worth updating a certain piece of content:

  • Competitors are starting to rank better (including Google algorithm updates)
  • Competitors released their own more recently updated article (including Google algorithm updates)
  • The intent of the keyword has changed, making your article less relevant
  • Google SERP features leading to less organic clicks
  • Seasonality

We should also note that the pieces of content you should look at updating should be at least around a year old. 

For maximizing earnings in Q4, seasonality may also be a good place to start. For instance, if you have certain autumn or winter-specific articles, updating them would be a great way to get better revenue without doing too much more work. Although updating content requires strategy, it is definitely easier than creating multiple pieces of content totally from scratch. 

4. Consider promoting your content on additional outlets 

If you’ve been hesitant with your social media strategy or on promoting your content in general, now is the time to pick it back up. 

While this can be time-consuming, this is one step you can complete with relatively little effort that can get your content out there that little bit more that you need to boost your traffic, in turn setting you up for more revenue potential.

Although we commonly think of “ads” when we hear “promoting,” that’s not the kind of promoting we’re talking about in this case. (In fact, that is likely not worth your time, and we wrote about that here.) 

Rather, you should be looking at the following to get your content out there:

  • Posting more consistently on social media
  • Posting in various online communities and forums relevant to your content
  • Investing time and resources in sending out more emails or building your newsletter subscriber base

5. Use recommendations from Leap

Last, but not least, we really recommend checking out Leap if you haven’t already. While our previous tips mainly focus on optimizing your content or sending more traffic to your website, it will be important to make sure that your site is delivering the best possible user experience it can during this quarter.

For example, if your site has an amazing article on a candy-cane craft, but is impossibly slow, your visitor who wants to see your content is likely going to bounce instead of reading that piece of content. When that happens over and over, ad space on your site isn’t as valuable to advertisers. 

Leap is a good place to start to get your speed up, but also to optimize for what Google will be ranking for. By eliminating bulky or low-quality technologies, you get your site ready to rank in the SERP for the content you’ve spent all this time optimizing.

You can check out some other aspects of your site that Leap could improve in this recent blog.

In conclusion

There are many things you can do right now to make sure your site is ready to bask in those high Q4 ad rates.

If you’re looking for where to start, here’s what we recommend:

  • Check some key reports on Big Data Analytics to see what might need to change
  • Find articles that might be relevant to update for seasonality (or in general)
  • Get serious about promoting your content
  • Use Leap to make sure your site will actually rank in the SERP and be fast for visitors

To read up further on these topics, here are some pieces of content we’d recommend checking out:

Seasonality and ad rates:

Big Data Analytics

Promoting your content

Leap and optimizing your website

Blog: How To Handle Outdated Content, Earn More Traffic, & Grow Ad Earnings

By Linden O'Brien Williams

Linden is a former journalism graduate of the University of Missouri turned social media and content marketer. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, and French and is responsible for Ezoic social marketing strategies.