Low CPC’s from Adsense – Is going to a CPM worth it? My test with Burst Media (Part 1)

I run a site called Warcraft-Maps.com, which offers free map downloads, as well as a little description/review of each map. Since it’s inception, I’ve had Google Adsense ads running on it. Now, the site gets oodles of traffic. You would think that it would pay well, but it doesn’t. In fact, despite having more traffic and offering more clicks/day than any of my other sites, it generates less revenue because of a low CPC rate on Warcraft-related ads.

This is of course great for the advertisers… not so great for me.

The logical conclusion of course it to try moving to another ad method. I do have a Chitika account, but unfortunately, that generated even less revenue. Chitika’s great for some niche sites, but not that one. I also tried a few advertisers through Commission Junction, but again, it didn’t do as well as well as I was hoping. So what option was I left with? Finding someone who offers CPM based ads.

A touch of info for those who aren’t savvy on what CPC and CPM are:

  • CPC is cost-per-click. Things like Google Adsense and Chitika eMiniMalls are CPC. If you get a click, you get paid. Most of the work here needs to be done on the publisher’s end. You have to find places on your site where the ads will be prominently displayed, and hope that users find them interesting enough to click on them. At that point you’ve been paid, and the user is at the advertisers site. The advantage to this for the publisher is that you can put the ads wherever you want, and you don’t need to worry about what happens once the individual reaches the advertiser’s site. The disadvantage though (in most cases) is that you have no guarantee as to how much you’re going to earn for that click. It could be pennies, it could be dollars. In addition, you have to hope that the ads themselves are “interesting” enough that your visitors want to click on those ads.
  • CPM on the other hand is “cost per 1000 impressions”. Just by having your visitors visit a page with CPM ads you get paid, regardless of whether or not they click on the ad. It’s great for high-traffic sites in many cases, as you’re provided with guaranteed income based upon your traffic. An advantage is that you don’t have to worry about the ad being “enticing” enough to click on. The onus is really on the advertiser. A disadvantage is that it can offer much less than what a CPC program would offer if you send a lot of traffic to the advertiser’s site. In addition, there are almost always requirements as to where the ad appears on your site. Since the advertiser is paying you regardless, they usually require that the ad be placed near the top of your page where it is sure to be seen.

There are other types as well, but these are the two that are relevent to the site.

I applied to Burst Media, and after a few days, got an e-mail informing me that I had been accepted into their program. I put one of their “Above the Scroll” Leaderboard ads at the top, and replaced an Adsense Skyscraper with a Burst Media Skyscraper. I’m quite certain that traffic will be sent to the Advertisers sites. What remains to be seen is what the “fill rate” of Burst Media ads turns out to be (there’s no guarantee they will show an ad for each impression), as well as which ads will be shown (some offer more than others). The results should be interesting.

Now all that remains is to wait and see…. Head to Part II where I post the results.