We’d love to learn more about what you think the most important metrics to look at daily/weekly are to optimize your performance. If you’ve been in the game for a while, have you shifted away from one set of metrics in favor of another? This could be related to header bidding data, traffic/UTM, anything you feel is important.
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For me, definitely it is revenue! Jokes aside:
And by extension yield. I always try to get the highest CPM without compromising fill rate too much. I’ve found that while we use Google to fill in backfill inventory through DFP and also compete via their dynamic allocation, the rates we get from AdSense is much lower when it comes through a pass back tag. So making sure the fill rate is high, reduces the pass back.
We can talk about this for days, but to further elaborate on the above, I also like to create multiple tags for the same ad unit to segment traffic. While some tags always have a low fill rate since they are lower in my network stack, I am not really concerned about it as the purpose of those tags are competition vs. Adsense in DFP.
I don’t know if any of that made sense.
If you use price priority in DFP, and use a high floor/CPM when you enter the Sovrn lines in DFP (slightly higher than your actual Sovrn eCPMs), you can pass it to AsSense/Ad Exchange first and they will try to fill the impressions with a high yield ad first.
On the other hand, if you use a header bidder all of this becomes much easier to manage and works much faster.
Makes total sense I can talk about this for days too! Are you set up with header bidding? I’d also love to learn more about how you are segmenting your traffic to different ad units.
Yes, I have header bidding running as well.
The way I am segmenting my traffic and ad units is primarily by geo and device. I find that for my traffic, US/CA deliver higher CPMs than other countries and Desktop traffic is much better than Mobile.
So for each Partner, I have multiple line items of the same ad unit broken down by those parameters. I have a higher CPM entered for those targeted impressions that traditionally deliver higher revenue. Then at the very bottom, I have a low rate CPM line item that is sot of a “catch all” with no targeting and as I was saying earlier, I use that primarily to ensure there is some competition with AdSense. AdSense would fill 99%+ my inventory any way but my thinking was that if I have a line items even at a penny, it would enable that competition and possibly force AdSense to pay more for that traffic. Better to earn two cents than one!
I truly feel like if you don’t segment your traffic and ad units, you’re not optimizing your waterfall set up because of the wide variance in how much each impression is valued at. Those average Value CPMs that DFP has you enter is only that - an average for that inventory. So to get as granular as possible, in theory, would make that number more accurate.
Our most important metric is Session eCPM. Meaning the revenue of a month divided by the number of thousand sessions in the month. We do this exercise once a month, summing all the revenue data from our demand partners and dividing it by thousand sessions as reported in Google Analytics. We’ve got a Google Spreadsheet for that.
That allows us to:
- Understand how much we get out of one visitor
- Improvements in ad CPM will increase this value
- Improvements in pages per session will increase this value
Session eCPM is a very good indicator of the health of your website. Sometimes, you need to make trade-offs between UX and revenue, and this metric allows you to understand the overall benefit of the changes you make.
That makes a lot of sense, Jan! Thank you for sharing. This is one metric that I haven’t heard about from publishers yet but is very insightful. Do you ever incorporate session length or engagement into your calculations too?
Of course we look at session length and time spent on site (we’ve just switched to lazy-loading ads on ancient.eu, so this becomes even more important). The beauty of the Session eCPM is that all of those metrics are sort of included. If the session length is higher, we’re going to see more ad revenue (we’re using your OnScroll tech quite successfully).
The belief behind this metric is that revenue is not all about ad metrics. If you get people to stay longer on your site, you will make more money. That is easily forgotten, as many people focus on getting people onto their site and then to monetize them as much as possible.
For example, compare:
$2.00 per pageview, 1.25 pageviews per session average
$1.50 per pageview, 2.00 pageviews per session average
In the first example, you make $2.50 per visitor, in the second example you make $3.00 per visitor.
Of course, ALL metrics are important, but the question was about the most important one.
Awesome insights, Jan! Very appreciated