By now you’ve realized the RPM equation is a complicated one, made up on many uncontrollable factors. RPMs vary by content niche, seasonality, geo location, viewability, device type, and many other factors. But there’s another piece of the puzzle that actually makes a huge impact in how much money an advertiser is willing to pay for that unit impression, and that’s quality.
And that’s a factor completely controllable by you!
Not only is quality controlled by the publisher, it’s one of the most impactful factors in the RPM equation. In short, advertisers will pay more for impressions in quality environment.
Why Quality Websites Have Higher RPMs
There is a strong correlation between these 3 factors: website/content quality, where the user comes to the page from, and high RPMs.
1. Quality websites have better RPMs because their users are coming to the page from organic search.
When a user is coming from organic search, that means they had to go to Google, search for something and click. Big lift in today’s world, and it makes this user the most valuable. There is strong intent to actually consume the content, to scroll on down the page, to be engaged and interested.
RPMs coming from organic search yield can be up to 50% higher than when the user comes from a paid traffic channels like Taboola, Outbrain or Facebook. Read that again, let it sink in.
And, how does a publisher get high organic search traffic? With accurate, unique content, an exceptional UX and by being better quality than all the rest. See, it’s a circle.
2. Quality websites have engaging content.
This causes the user to stay longer, potentially even clicking to another page in the same site visit. This impacts RPM. Engaging content encourages a user to read more.
What makes content engaging may be a bit subjective, but broadly speaking, characteristics include being well written, written in an interesting and unique way, being concise, and being formatted in a way that’s easy to read.
3. Quality websites earn trust from both users and Google.
One indicator of quality can be the time put into writing it. Google is on the hunt to favor “helpful content” and most people consider things helpful when the topic is thoroughly covered. That takes time. Editorial is an investment, and a costly one at that. In my brief time tangentially near the editor scene, a “high-quality” article jumped from $75 to well over $300 for an article.
Google also uses a mechanism to evaluate content called E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trust). Content is most helpful when it’s true and written by someone with actual experience in the topic. Users are savvier than ever before, and have learned to question accuracy in digital publications.
People trust quality brands, and return to them.
4. Quality websites yield higher RPMs because they care about UX.
There is a surprisingly high number of publishers who care none of an actual human viewer, and one of the main reasons Freestar has such strict quality guidelines. The most obvious signs come in variations of UX.
The highest quality publishers literally put their users before their monetization strategies. This is a long game, and it works. Publishers who care about speed, navigation, readability will keep users longer.
A smooth and seamless UX lends to higher viewability, as the user scrolls deeper into the page. In doing this, they view more ads, driving up viewability and thus driving up RPM.
5. Quality websites care about the content they contribute to the web, and to the world.
High paying, quality advertisers don’t want to appear next to vulgar content that’s NSFW. And maybe it’s not 100% of the time, but usually sites that post about a certain array of topics (violence, sexually explicit, hate-filled, fake, divisive etc.) are low quality in many other ways.
It’s time to take a long hard look at your website quality and make steps to improve it. One easy way to get started is to google several of the terms or phrases you’d like your site to rank #1 for. Click around in the top few sites to compare the UX, content and website experience your competitors offer their audience. Google shows you what it takes to be at the top, right in the live search results.