How to Start an Online Business on The Side [2020 Edition]

2020 has been a difficult year for medium and small-sized businesses that depend on ad revenues. We’ve seen a drop in advertising budgets like never before.

But as economies are opening and brands are looking to invest in digital advertising again, there is plenty of hope that things will look upwards again.

I wanted to be prepared for when we see an increase in advertiser budgets, so I created an H2 revenue strategy that I think we all could benefit from. 

My suggestions come from a webinar I attended, hosted by Media.net on how publishers can adapt and respond to the pandemic. I found the session to be quite insightful honestly and actually ended up with a bunch of ideas and recommendations that I can put to use. I have used screenshots from their webinar wherever possible so that there’s no dilution of information. 

Full disclosure: I am able to share original content since I have access to the recording of the webinar – it was shared with all the attendees after the webinar.

So without further ado… here are my top 4 suggestions to implement if you want a winning ad strategy. 

1. Engage your readers with content that’s relevant to today’s times 

As a content creator myself, I’ve struggled a bit trying to find the right type of content to share with my audience during such dire times.

I’ve come to realize that the best way to approach this is to let consumer research and advertising spends guide your content strategy.

From Media.net’s webinar, I discovered that both consumers and brands are looking for certain types of content and that there are opportunities even now for all publishers to attract audiences and advertisers.

media.net webinar advertising revenue

So if you are already working within these niches, now would be the time to carefully go through and redefine your content calendar.

For those of you who are functioning outside of these verticals, I hope this can serve as a roadmap for your content plan for 2020. 

2. Diversify your demand sources

While it’s good practice to have multiple ad partners, it only makes sense to do so if they are actually offering you diverse demand. Else your inventory is going to be exposed only to a limited set of advertisers.

According to the Media.net webinar, now would be a good time to introduce search demand or performance marketing dollars into your mix.

eMarketer, a leader in advertising research has found that there will likely be less of a drop in pricing for search demand than compared to display demand. 

This basically means that paid search demand is more recession-proof than display demand. So if you only use Display, time to look beyond it and onboard sources of search budgets like Media.net themselves.

Here’s a quick snapshot of CPMs across channels to help put things into perspective:

advertising in 2020

3. Yield Optimization can make a huge difference

There’s a lot of talk about how important it is to optimize your yield, but what does this mean really? I’ve always wondered so I did some research.

What yield optimization or management means is that your ad setup needs to be tweaked to match industry trends so that you can attract the highest bids possible for your ad units and make the most from your content.

This means A/B testing with ad sizes and placements, analyzing the right data to understand where you can make improvements, and also keeping your ads.txt updated. 

While I was well aware of these things before the webinar too, it felt good to have these points reinforced in the session. 

Media.net’s yield optimization services are quite exhaustive and great for publishers who don’t have the time or knowledge for this type of work. I know from experience it can be confusing and difficult, so it’s good to have the choice of passing on the hassle to the experts. 

4. You must consider Header Bidding 

If you are unsure of what header bidding is don’t worry, I’ve got a simple answer for you.

Header Bidding basically allows multiple demand sources to bid on your ad inventory in real-time. And by introducing so much more competition for your ad units, it increases the value of your inventory thus offering you the best revenue possible. 

The Media.net webinar actually made clear several ways header bidding can help us increase revenue:

  • It drives better CPMs irrespective of the market conditions
  • It is a great way to expose your inventory to multiple demand sources without messing with your user experience
  • It allows you to scale up and add considerable value with minimal effort

The increasing popularity is a good indicator of how effective header bidding is.

effective header bidding

This pretty much covers my own learnings from the Media.net webinar. As always, I will keep sharing what I learn from such sessions that can benefit content publishers of all kinds.

If you’re considering implementing any of these suggestions, do let me know! And in case you’d like to sign up with Media.net, you can do so here.

Here are my top 4 suggestions to implement if you want a winning ad strategy: #adrevenueblog #blogtips #makemoneyblogging #monetizeyourblog #makemoneyadvertising #incomestreams #blogincome