Change of Network
Google has built the largest advertiser's network in America and Europe with its AdSense network. With the largest amount of advertisers and publishers, it's one of the most reliable ways to get a few dollars of advertiser's money in your pockets every month, but it's also one of the most unprofitable. Even as a more niche site, you will have a hard time getting matched with high-profit advertisers for a long time. There is a sea of similar sites to yours, and the ad algorithms will cold-heartedly choose the ones with the highest engagement.
So what can you do? Easy - switch the network.
There are a ton of alternative adsense networks out there. Sites like PropellerAds and Media act on a similarily big network of advertisers and publishers, but are usually less competitive than their big competitor from Google.
For anyone serving a sizeable niche, and with lower traffic, you might also like niche-targeted alternatives like Carbon. These are networks which usually only serve a specific niche (in this case, coders and designers), but tend to have a lot higher payouts than their untargeted competitors. If one of these networks target your niche, you might be in luck!
Network-served advertisments can often feel like they destroy the look and feel of your site or blog. They often come in big banners or blocks, and serve images that often don't fit the look of your overall site and content. It can make your site look cheap and unrespected. Since ads have been running on virtually every site on the internet, consumers have also started unconsciously hiding these parts of a website - conversion rates aren't what they once have been.
A good solution to this are native ads. These ads usually take a bit more work to integrate, but can mimic the look and feel of your website, for example in the form of "Related Articles" at the end of your blogpost. This comes with a few benefits:
- A well targeted campaign may feel like part of your site
- There are no badly designed banners on your site
- It may improve engagement rates
- It may therefore improve your earnings.
Popular examples for this kind of advertisment medium are Outbrain or Redirect. There is one caveat though: You might unconsciously lead visitors away from your site, and they may never come back. Make sure to still make it obvious that they are leaving your site!
Content Advertisements & Sponsored Posts
If you're not into display ad networks anymore, you could try writing sponsored posts and targeted content on your site for an advertiser.
This is usually how bigger content sites monetize their content organically. In the end, it's not an ad from a faceless ad network - it's written content from your favourite blogger, with the sole difference that the content was paid for.
If you're not into negotiating deals with sponsors and advertisers yourself, you could look into Content Advertisment Networks who can send you requests to re-post or write sponsored content, but you will only get a fraction of the price.
Sponsorships & Native Billboards with Intravert
Finally, if you'd like to become independent from any ad network, content network or similar – it may be time to sell your own ad spaces, using a solution like Intravert.
Intravert is not an ad network. It's just a piece of software which can display empty ad spaces, invite people to book them for a certain amount of time, and redirect the earnings of that to you.
The advantages of doing so are clear:
- You are receiving at least 90%+ of what the advertiser has spent, not only a fraction of it.
- You can choose who and what gets advertised on your site.
- You can choose how your ad spaces will look like - say goodbye to ugly banners (or don't, if you like them)
- Advertisers know your site, might even be from your community - aren't strangers
- There's no targeting, crawling or other shady stuff needed.
There are obviously caveats about this too, we don't want to lie to you: If your audience is unengaged, likely no one will book out the spot. If your site is uninteresting to advertise on, you might never find an advertiser and if your traffic is incredibly low, this might just not make sense. On the upside, we know that people with an engaged audience, who previously made $10 in traditional ads, suddenly were able to make $300+ per month. We also know that these ads usually had a high clickthrough-rate and often led to multiple consecutive bookings. If you're looking to build your community into a real business, this might be a great chance.