The 5-step guide to choosing your content rec vendor
Your domain is bringing in terrific traffic, you are ready to earn more with the awesome content you are creating, and you decide to try content recommendation advertising. But how do you choose the right ad vendor for you?
We collected below the 5 most important criteria for publishers to use to find their own best vendors. Let’s get to it.
Who are you and where do you come from? Or, more importantly, where does your traffic (or most of it) come from? Once you know the answer to that question, you need to find the vendors that provide the highest-paying ads for these geos (aka countries).
When it comes to finding solid, high-paying vendors for the so-called Tier 1 geos (like the US, UK, Australia, etc) – the publisher’s job is pretty straightforward. Almost all vendors will pay good money for their traffic.
Finding the right vendor for traffic from the rest of the world – that’s where research and experience will make a huge difference. (Or a handy vendor guide.)
What to do if only part of your traffic comes from Tier 1 geos?
Let’s say only 30% of your traffic comes from Tier 1 geos. If choosing a mainstream, Tier 1-focused vendor, you allow them to underpay for the remaining 70%. If you choose a vendor for the 70% – you might actually earn less (with lower CPMs) than you would with the 30%.
To be able to better serve all visitors – publishers can use an ad server (like GAM) to work with multiple vendors at the same time, assigning them different vendors to different geos. This way they can use one mainstream vendor like Taboola for their US traffic and a region-focused vendor like Speakol to cover (for example) their Middle Eastern audience.
You can search native ad vendors by geo and/or ad type in this vendor guide.
Gentle plug: You can use the WhizzCo platform to work with multiple vendors for the same goes simultaneously, letting your selected vendors compete for placements.
Negotiate a strong revenue share (or commission) agreement with your vendors. Your vendor will take somewhere between 10-40% of the ad revenue – depending on how valuable your traffic is to them.
Clarify when your vendor is going to pay you. The timeline of payment will be specified in your contract and it will usually happen 30, 45, or 60 days after the end of the month. (Make sure to keep track of their payments.)
That said, there are vendors who are notoriously late with their payments, or pay randomly before or after the promised payday. Look for recommendations (or scathing reviews) on publisher forums before signing.
The ad quality
After revenue, comes ad quality. You want to choose a vendor who delivers the right kind of ads for your domain. If you want to focus on monetization – you might be less stringent about ad quality. If you’d like to maintain a certain user experience – you may want to choose your vendor accordingly.
That said, don’t leave a vendor right away over a few unsavory ads. Instead, get in touch with your account manager and establish or refine your list of restrictions – regarding the topic of the ads, advertisers, or more. Read more about how to do this here.
Most vendors will want you for themselves – and only for themselves. They don’t want to see any of their rivals around you and your domains. And while this might sound like a reasonable request if someone offers you a decent average CPM, in the long run, an exclusivity agreement never benefits the publisher. (Yes, we’ve done the math. See the study here.)
If you discover in the agreement that the vendor wants to block you from using some or all of their competitors, sit down with them again and negotiate your way out of it.
Research, research, research
Let us say that again: always do your own research. Check out relevant groups on social media, ask your questions on forums (like this Reddit group), and reach out to experienced professionals about specific vendors and setups. Make sure your chosen vendor will be available for you (even if you are not CNN) when you need them and that they will deliver on their promises regarding payments and ad quality.
You should only sign an agreement after mapping out your needs and negotiating your way through your contract. A good monetization partner will bring you both strong peace of mind – and piece of revenue. (Like what we did there?)
P.S. Want to learn more about HOW to work with multiple vendors? We have more on that topic too right here.