Publishers need to be able to wring every dollar out of their content, and the quicker they can access performance metrics, the better they are able to do so.
For Running Shoes Guru, a one-person publication started in 2009, an analytics dashboard offering same-day ad performance and editorial metrics has led to significant revenue growth. The site, which draws more than 750,000 visitors a month, reviews of running shoes alongside related content, earning revenue from affiliate commissions and display ads. A year and a half ago, owner Ruggero Loda started using a new ad-and-analytics platform developed by Sortable.
Released as Sortable Analytics, it became generally available to users last month.
“My point of view is I’m not an ad professional. Even not being an ad professional, it’s helpful,” Loda says.
The goal with Sortable Analytics is to reduce the time it takes publishers to measure the impact on revenue of site changes, paid marketing and other optimization strategies, according to Sortable CEO Christopher Reid. That means putting real-time ad performance data in a dashboard for publishers alongside user analytics, and adding tools for testing and measuring changes.
“We wanted to make sure that media companies both had all the important data surrounding their business and could report on it,” he says. Sortable Analytics works with Sortable’s existing business of managing ad inventory, making available to users the kind of advanced all-in-one reporting that the company already had available internally.
Optimizing Ad Revenue
Running Shoes Guru’s is mainly an e-commerce business, with 70 percent of revenue from affiliate commissions. The other 30 percent comes from display ads, and how those ads get served has changed in the eight-plus years since Loda created the site.
Originally, Loda used Google AdSense to run ads, before turning to a third-party agency to manage inventory through direct ad buys. The agency took a 50 percent cut for its efforts. Today the site, along with the rest of the publishing industry, has moved away from direct buys to programmatic, and that monetization stack is the main service Sortable provides, working with ad partners and using machine learning to set dynamic pricing for a publisher’s inventory.
So Sortable Analytics sits on top of Sortable’s ad product, helping sites like Running Shoes Guru to make decisions about where and how to place ads that increase profit for everyone.
“The first thing we did we tweaked, for example, the main leaderboard on articles. That had a very high CPM because of the premium location, but very low viewability,” Loda says. Using a Sortable feature called page segmenting, or showing two different versions of the site to users, he tested moving the leaderboard from above the headline to immediately below, where it would stay in view when users began to read the article.
The result? Viewability increased from slightly below 30 percent to around 38 percent.
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