While publishers have several tools to track revenue generation, one of the key metrics they can monitor and influence is page revenue per thousand impressions (RPM). It’s an important metric to detect issues with ad effectiveness as well.
Although RPM is quite a volatile metric, there are several strategies you can implement to influence this metric and estimate how much revenue is being generated.
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What is Page RPM?
Page RPM is a formula used to gauge the revenue generated by a web page. Because it is essentially the same as eCPM, which stands for “effective cost per mille”, Google uses the terms interchangeably.
eCPM is used on many platforms—including include desktop, mobile, in-app and video—that monetize through display ads.
How to Calculate Page RPM
Page RPM is calculated by dividing your estimated earnings or ad revenue by your total number of page views and multiplying the result by 1000:
Page RPM = (estimated earnings / total number of page views) * 1000
For instance, if you have 1500 page views per month and an estimated revenue of $15, your page RPM would be ($15/1500)*1000 = $10.
What Influences Page RPM?
There are two metrics that directly influence your RPM:
1. Click-through rate (CTR)
This measures the number of clicks on an ad per thousand ad impressions. The more an advertiser’s ads are clicked, the more publishers are paid. An increasing CTR translates to an increase in how much revenue your site can generate.
A higher CTR also means the publisher is offering a high-quality placement for those kinds of ads, which would allow the publisher to get a higher price per click on the ad placement bid.
2. Cost per click (CPC)
This measures how much money an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on an ad placed on a publisher’s site. CPC varies based on the content of the ad, context, and niche.
Publishers should ensure that they are keeping both CTR and CPC as high as possible since increasing these two metrics will drive the growth of their page RPM.
There are several strategies publishers can use to increase the effectiveness of their advertising real estate. Here are some of the best ways publishers can increase page RPM.
11 Ways to Increase Page RPM
The actions you take to boost your page RPM won’t necessarily have an immediate effect. When doing A/B tests to implement any of these recommendations, remember to use a significant sample size and let each experiment run for at least a week before evaluating the results.
There are three main areas you can work on to improve page RPM: your own web pages, the ads that are shown on your website, and the audience that visits your site.
1. Focus on your content quality
It may be a cliché at this point, but focusing on your content quality is the foundation that will allow you to command a higher page RPM. Having strong content that your audience cares about has a waterfall effect on all the other metrics and optimizations.
True, having great content is not a guarantee for success. We all know great publications with high-quality content in their niches that disappeared. But look at it from the other side: how many successful, sustainable sites that you know of have poor content?
2. Suggest relevant content to maintain user engagement
Content recommendation engines are designed to provide navigational pathways to related content to keep users engaged and increase their time on page and throughout the site.
Increasing the number of page views will drive up your page RPM, as it increases the chance that the user will end up clicking on an ad.
3. Increase site speed and fix technical issues
Increasing your ad, site and page speed is a key factor for improving user experience and ad viewability. But you should also pay attention to any other technical issues that might decrease your performance, such as mobile rendering issues or broken links.
These technical issues have a gradual, accumulating negative effect on your SEO efforts, which will impact your page RPM as well.
4. Increase ad viewability
How effective is an ad that isn't seen? Not very. Increasingly, advertisers and publishers are using this metric to evaluate ad campaigns. There’s a growing trend among advertisers to pay only for viewable impressions.
According to eMarketer, desktop viewability is around 50%. This means that almost half of the advertising investment goes to ads that are never seen. If the industry switched overnight to paying only for viewable impressions, publishers would lose an important part of their revenue. So, it’s in everyone’s interest to increase viewability.
According to our research, there’s a strong correlation between viewability and CPM, which means that increasing viewability will directly impact your page RPM.
5. Optimize your ad formats and sizes
There are a variety of formats you can accept on your site: text, display, video, rich media or expandable ads are some of the options available. Some formats command higher prices per click and impression.
That doesn’t mean that switching all your ad inventory to video ads will allow you to increase your page RPM. You’d need to experiment and find the optimal combination of formats that can maximize your revenue performance.
There is also a variety of ad sizes which are defined and standardized by industry bodies like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The IAB released in 2017 guidelines which are based on image proportions rather than fixed sizes. Some ad sizes are used more frequently by advertisers, which results in a higher competition.
Implementing these ads would drive the CPC of your ads up, which would result in higher page RPM. Some ad sizes are also more effective and have higher CPCs than others. While you should always experiment to find out what ad size works best for you, in general, wider advertising sizes tend to have higher CPC.
6. Diversify your ad networks
Fill rate is an online advertising metric that defines how many ad units a publisher can fill with ads. You should aim to have a high fill rate to maximize your page RPM. Reaching 100% fill rate is impossible due to external factors like network issues or a visitor closing the site before the ad had time to load.
One strategy to increase your fill rate is to work with an ad server that allows you to diversify your ad providers. You could serve first your own direct campaigns and then fill the rest of the ad placements with several ad networks. Doing this will allow you to serve the most profitable advertisement in each case, and also maximize your fill rate by having several options from where to serve an ad.
7. Use header bidding
Allowing ad exchanges to compete for advertisement placements is an effective way to maximise your advertising revenue. Instead of selling your inventory to the biggest exchanges, which was traditionally done using the waterfall model of ad selling, you sell your space to the highest bidding exchange.
Switching to header bidding from waterfall will also reduce ad loading times, increasing ad viewability and effectiveness.
8. Implement ad refresh
With ad refresh, you can serve multiple ads on the same advertising placement to the same user. After a condition is met, which can be time on page, an action performed by the visitor, or any other event, the current ad is refreshed and replaced with another different ad. You should only refresh the ad units the user is currently viewing. Even though CPM for those impressions will be lower than for the first ad served, you will increase your page RPM.
9. Make sure the ads are relevant to your audience
Setting up the correct targeting for your users is a critical step to increase your page RPM. Showing relevant ads to your audience increases their effectiveness as they’re much more likely to click on an ad. You can set up different targets for different sections or topics of your website to increase the relevancy of your ads.
10. Deliver a great user experience for your readers
Your audience didn’t come to your site to be bombarded by ads and notifications. They came to access and consume the content you make. It’s difficult to quantify and measure, but a great user experience will make your audience more engaged and loyal.
Bounce rate and repeated visits are two metrics you can monitor to gauge improvements in user experience. Repeated visitors will increase your page RPM over time. It’s a more sustainable approach than suffocating your audience with ads or implementing obtrusive ad formats that interrupt the user on their task.
11. Optimize traffic for quality
Your traffic acquisition efforts should aim to increase traffic quality and not just quantity. Organic users are usually high-quality, as the reason they visit your site is that they found your content relevant to their search query. But depending on the content, you may see a different picture on your site. The best approach would be to build a profile of your referral sources and see which traffic source brings the most engaged users. You can use that profile to focus your traffic acquisition efforts on high-quality traffic sources. A highly engaged audience will be more attractive to advertisers, which will increase their bids for ads on your sites, increasing your page RPM.
Why does page RPM change?
As an estimated metric, it’s normal for page RPM to fluctuate, so it’s important to monitor trends and use rolling averages instead of focusing on day-to-day metric updates. Any change you implement will take some time to affect your RPM, so give each optimization enough time to evaluate its effectiveness. In any case, you should never stop testing, experimenting, analyzing and optimizing.
Page RPM is just one part of the story. For example, you could have a decrease in page RPM due to an increase in traffic, which would also increase your overall advertising revenue. Combine page RPM with other metrics to get a complete picture of your site’s success and the ways to maximize your advertising estimated revenue.
What is a Good Page RPM?
How good your page RPM is varies depending on your publisher niche, content, demographics, traffic quality, geo-location as well as seasonality. Page RPM can range anywhere from $0.05 to $50 upward.
What is RPM AdSense?
RPM on AdSense measures the estimated ad revenue and ad impressions a publisher can earn for every thousand impressions.
RPM vs CPM
While page RPM is a publisher metric measuring estimated earnings and ad impressions for every thousand page views, CPM is an advertiser metric that measures the estimated revenue for a thousand ad impressions.
What is Impression RPM?
Impression RPM is simply calculated by dividing total ad revenue by total measured ad impressions, then, multiplying by a1000. Impression RPM is virtually identical to CPM, the only difference is impression RPM used by publishers and mainly on AdSense, whereas CPM is from the advertisers’ perspective.
Related Article: Guide to the Best CPM Ad Network for Publishers