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A little over a year ago, we used a service called Open X on TuDiabetes.org and EsTuDiabetes.org, to serve our ads until we found ourselves talking to nobody when faced with a tech issue that resulted in no ads getting served. At that point, I decided to try Google Ad Manager, a free service that does the same thing (help you manage ads) as a hosted service by Google.

More than a year later (now it's called DFP Small Business, but it is essentially the same service), we continue to be very happy with the platform. It lets you manage multiple orders for multiple clients over multiple inventory locations. This is ideal for us, having two networks to manage ads on and typically having multiple campaigns under way.

The ability to manage an order includes start and end times, % of impressions and targeting by geography, language, browser, domains and much more. Also, their reporting capabilities are as solid as the rest of the Google products you may be used to, which is advantageous to you and to your clients.

All in all, DFP has become a solution that seems to meet all our needs and has been reliable in its delivery of ads since we adopted it.

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Generating revenue through advertising can be golden; however, how does a network creator manage the advertising real estate?


First...what is advertising real estate? Since there is only so much space on a web page (okay so technically there is nearly unlimited space on a web page, but being realistic, there is only so much that is considered quality space) advertising real estate, is that space that a network creator allocates to advertising.

A few of tips before moving forward:
  1. Too much advertising can take away from the site visitor's experience and too little can be lost revenue. Finding a balance that works for your demographic is key.
  2. Work within your chosen web design. Placing advertising in awkward places on the site just to draw attention can be counter productive. Yes, you may get a visitor's attention, but by diminishing their experience on your site can be a huge negative.
  3. The key to success in advertising revenue is going to be return site visitors. The amount of effort and cost to get a new visitor to your website can be very costly and usually is. Keeping a balance of new visitors vs returning visitors is key. The balance and mix of these two variables is dependent on the site business model. For a social network, heavy percentage on return visitors is a must. If they aren't returning, something is wrong.
Okay, so how to manage the ad space? First, what are the variables that affect ad space?

They are:
  1. Ad size
  2. Ad placement
  3. Ad cost
  4. Ad exposure
In a nutshell there are just four variables to consider. Let's break each one down.

First, Ad size. Ad size is defined by the actual space that the ad will occupy on the web page. Whether placing graphics-based or text-based advertisements, the space requirement should be considered. Banner ads are typically sized by pixels, so for example, a 160x600 banner requires 160 pixels for the width and 600 pixels for the height.

Second, Ad placement. There are many combinations that can be used with regard to ad placement. The typical placement on a Ning network will be the right column. This space will receive the highest exposure because nearly every page on the network will have this column visible. It is also easy to manage by simply placing a text box and adding a banner image. Network creators can also easily place ads in all three columns on the network homepage. With bit more work, posting ads in the header, footer, and content areas, can be done; however, at present this will require a bit of javascript code and may offer some unpredictable outcomes.

Third, Ad cost. In determining how much to sell advertising space for, there are numerous considerations.
  1. What are the demographics of the site?
  2. Who could benefit from advertising?
  3. Do I charge CPC, or CPM?
  4. How much traffic does this network generate?
  5. Where will the ad be placed, (for example above the fold or below)?
This consideration (ad cost) can be expanded even further, but I will leave that for the comments.

Forth, Ad exposure. Ad exposure has four basic variables. They are:
  1. How many times an ad is seen by an individual.
  2. How often an ad is seen by an individual.
  3. The geographical location of the individual seeing the ad.
  4. The time the ad is being seen by an individual.
There are additional variables, like age, gender, browser type, etc., but those are beyond the scope of this discussion and can be explored in the comments.

Managing the complexity of advertising space can be daunting if not properly equipped. for the task.

For this reason, I recommend, Google Ad Manager as a solution for managing your advertising campaigns. This robust solution offers handy tools for managing your campaign along with providing confidence in reporting for your advertisers.

What experiences do you have regarding generating revenue via an advertising model?

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I’m new here. I wanted to simply stand up and say hello. I join Laura as a fellow community manager on the Creators Network. Like Laura, I’m here to help Creators with their creations: providing tips on building Ning Networks, encouraging folks to get creative and improve things, and pointing out ways people can manage and grow their Ning Networks.
I have a fair amount of technical knowledge, although if you bust out some elaborate CSS, I will probably have to defer to someone smarter than me for an answer. I’ll always do my best to try, but luckily I have a ton of smart people here at Ning (and in the Creators Network) who can weigh in. In addition to community management experience, I also have a background rooted in publishing and communications. I’m all about spreading compelling information and advice — and that includes helping Network Creators do the same.
One way we’re spreading it is with the Ning Now newsletter, which we’ve recently begun sending to everyone who has created a Ning Network on Ning. I’ll be helping to create and corral and organize the content of the newsletter, but it’s really a team effort. Don’t mean to be so forward, but I pretty much already consider you part of the team. I know we’re just now meeting for the first time, but I’d like you to take an important role in the shaping of the newsletter: I’d like your feedback as we move forward.
To that end, friend: Let us know what you’d like to see. You gave us a few suggestions after a recent issue, but feel free to share more feedback and suggestions here if you like.
What say you?
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