When it comes to squeezing out a few extra dollars per 1,000 visitors, incremental revenue is where it’s at, whether it’s increasing affiliate revenue with existing traffic or incorporating some ad measures that notch up your ad revenue.
One of my favorite ways to squeeze out a few extra dollars per 1,000 visitors is incorporating Criteo ads into my site. It’s a win/win ad network because you control the lowest RPM amount you’ll accept before Criteo ads display.
How Criteo Works
Criteo is not meant to be your primary ad server. Instead, you put other ad network ad codes as backfill and select a floor CPM for Criteo ads. If Criteo advertisers can meet your stipulated CPM, Criteo ads display and you earn that amount.
What’s really cool is more often than not, you’ll earn more than your floor CPM.
If advertisers won’t pay the floor CPM, your back fill ads display instead.
How does Criteo earn premium ad rates?
This is really cool. Criteo ads display to select website visitors; visitors who have indicated through their surfing history that they’re interested in buying something by visiting various e-commerce stores. When those visitors are cookied on those advertisers’ sites, they trigger Criteo ads on your site.
You can see it in action on your site. For example, when I visit a merchant’s site on my computer and then visit my own site, Criteo ads display. If it’s been a while since I’ve visited an advertiser’s site, I don’t see Criteo ads on my own site.
How much does Criteo earn?
It’s not life-changing revenue. Instead, it’s excellent incremental ad revenue. Here’s a revenue screenshot for one day (May 22, 2017):
$42.94 isn’t bad. I’ve earned more and earned less. That’s a pretty typical amount for one of my sites.
Keep in mind that this revenue does dip into the ad networks you use as back fill. In other words, if you didn’t use Criteo, those other networks would display 100% of the time. Nevertheless, because I set Criteo floors above what the other ad units typically earn, the Criteo revenue is higher than I would earn with the other networks.
Are the ads junkie or fine for most audiences?
The ads are great. They’re typically product grids for specific merchants. They look good and are clearly very effective. You won’t be showing sketchy “toe nail fungus” ads that you see with other ad networks. FYI, I’m not morally opposed to gross ads, it’s just my audience is totally turned off by them.
CPMs I’m getting
Here’s a screenshot of the floor CPMs I set for each ad unit as well as the actual CPMs earned:
As you can see, I’m earning well above the floor amounts for most units.
Which ad networks can you use as back fill?
You can use any ad network you like. I use Media.net and AdSense but you can use any ad network tags.
Back Fill Optional
If you have an ad placement that you want to display only if CPM is high enough, you can place Criteo ads without any ad back fill. What this does is only Criteo ads will show there when and if an advertiser bids a sufficient amount (set by you).
Very easy to use
You can create your own ad units and then place whatever ad code as back fill as you like. To do so, click the wrench icon you see in the above screenshot.
You’ll then see the following:
Ad sizes and placements I use
I currently have 4 Criteo units on my site. Not all trigger all the time. One unit have no back fill. I choose not to place a back fill ad because it’s in a spot where I only want to show ads if and when it will earn a premium amount.
Otherwise, I have Criteo set to display below the post title, top sidebar (with AdSense back fill), bottom sticky sidebar, bottom of the site and one unit in the middle of the content.
Could I place more Criteo units?
My rep says I’m pretty maxed out. Too many will dilute effectiveness. I’ve tested several configurations and my current set up is working quite well.
How to decide on your floor CPM?
It’s not rocket science.
Check the RPM of the ads you currently have where you’d like to place Criteo ads. I typically add $.50 to $1.00 to that RPM as my Criteo floor CPM. If the ad space is a high earner, I’ll set Criteo at least $1.00 higher.
The nice thing with Criteo is you’ll very likely earn a higher CPM than the floor you set, which is a real bonus and helps you max out the RPM for each ad spot.
Do you get any support?
Yes, you get a rep once you’re admitted into Criteo. They usually respond to inquiries same-day or within 24 hours. They’re super friendly, aren’t pushy and very quick to get you set up.
Is there a contract?
There’s no contract. It’s a self-serve system that you can turn on and off or adjust any time you like. If you don’t want to deal with creating ads, your rep will do so for you.
I told Media.net that I had Media.net ads as Criteo back fill. Media.net asked me to share with them what kind of CPMs I’m getting with Criteo. I told them. Now Media.net will be doing extensive testing in an effort to improve RPM and hopefully get it to exceed Criteo. If that happens, I just bump up the Criteo floor CPMs.
Yes, it’s absolutely worth trying. I started with 2 units and built up from there. I tested quite a few different units and ultimately settled on my current configuration.
Criteo is a great way to add incremental ad revenue to your ad-supported site.
Click here for Criteo.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.