Mitch from Technipages.com shot me an email this week asking me for advice on getting accepted into CPM banner ad networks like ValueClick, TribalFusion and others. He commented that while he has decent traffic (around 140,000 page views a month) he hadn’t had much luck with being accepted and asked for advice.
This is a question I’ve had numerous times so I thought I’d post my response (I have slightly edited from my original answer).
- Design Matters – the more professional a site looks the better impression it will make and the increased likelihood of acceptance.
- Content – some advertising networks will judge your suitability based upon both the topic and also the type of posts (including length, editorial style etc). Some will also check to see if the content is original and or appearing elsewhere online. Topic plays a big part for some ad networks as they will sometimes have specific focuses and be looking for content partners with relevant content to their advertisers. I also know of at least one ad network who looks at the ‘quality’ of content – particularly looking at how well it is written, whether it is up to date, looking at whether there is an active user base interacting with it etc. They do this because they have a premium advertising base who don’t just want to align themselves with any old blog but only those that they perceive as premium. Each network also has its own standards on adult content, use of language (swearing) and other topics that they may or may not cover.
- Hosting and Personal sites – some ad networks don’t accept sites that they perceives to be ‘personal’ and don’t accept sites that are hosted on free services or on services where you don’t own your domain (for example blogspot blogs).
- Type of Site – some networks don’t accept sites that are primarily forums as they tend not to perform as well with advertising due to the high amount of page views per visitor and the ad blindness that quickly happens.
- Other advertising – if a site already has lots of ads on it this can be off putting for some ad networks.
- Traffic sources – if you have lots of non US traffic some ad networks will mark you down for that as they only have ad networks for that market.
- Language – many ad networks will not accept non English written sites. Again – this is about their advertisers (largely US based in many cases) not wanting to target ‘international’ audiences.
- Traffic numbers – this is the killer, many will reject unless you’re doing big traffic – they will check sources like comscore, Alexa to double check whether the numbers you are giving them are accurate.
Most ad networks have fairly good pages for publishers outlining what they do and don’t accept. Here you can see requirements from ValueClick and TribalFushion (although I’ve heard a lot of people say that they feel they fit into TribalFushion and don’t get in).
Some of the above reasons are frustrating. As someone who has built blogs for non US audiences I know some of the pain of not being accepted. However the main advice I gave Mitch was to keep building traffic and making the site look as professional as possible. Traffic numbers speak very loudly so to keep traffic trending up will mean that he finds it is easier and easier to get accepted into these programs. Also – keep hunting around for options, experiment with different ways to make money from your blog and be patient.