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“How much does a website with X visitors make?” is one of the most common types of questions that comes up from new website investors or builders. While every niche and website is different, and many factors affect monetization, some tools can give decent estimates of what a website owner can expect.

Website ad revenue calculators are some of the best tools for estimating potential ad income that a website can expect to bring in based on traffic.

Let’s get into this calculator and how it works.

How To Estimate Website Ad Revenue: 3-Step Process

Estimating website ad revenue is simple, but it is a multi-step process to get the best possible estimates. Keep in mind that an estimate is just that: a good idea of what the site should earn on average.

Factors like seasonality, niche, ad provider, and sources of traffic can all heavily affect these numbers in real-world scenarios.

Step #1: Estimate Monthly Pageviews

To estimate monthly pageviews, do the following:

  • Take the last 3-6 months of traffic from Google Analytics (or an estimate), 
  • Add up the number of total visitors, and
  • Divide by the number of months you used.

This gives you an average “Monthly page views” number to use in the formula below.

Keep in mind that if the site is very seasonal (surfing, skiing) or seeing massive changes in traffic trends that the numbers won’t be completely accurate. That’s fine, just get the best estimate possible.

I prefer to estimate a touch on the conservative side so any earnings above that feel like extra instead of falling short of optimistic estimates feeling like a failure.

Step #2: Estimate Industry RPM

Every niche and industry will have a different average RPM range. This information can be found with a little bit of Googling. Outdoors will have a different RPM than toys just as gardening will have a different RPM than DUI attorneys.

Most answers you find will give you an average RPM range. I advise taking the low and high numbers given for the range, or just use the low side of the range if you prefer conservative estimates.

Here are some examples RPMs you can use:

  • Generic: $10 to $15 RPM
  • Outdoor: $15 to $20 RPM
  • Pets: $20 RPM
  • Energy: $30 RPM
  • Finance: $30 to $50 RPM

Step #3: Calculate Revenue

The formula for calculating estimated revenue is:

Revenue = RPM x (Monthly page views / 1000)

Take careful note to divide monthly page views by a thousand. Since the RPM is money per thousand, missing this step would throw the numbers way off.

Example:

A website in the hobby niche is getting roughly 50,000 page views a month. Let’s say the RPM for ads in the hobby industry was $12.50 (hypothetical). Divide that 50,000 by 1,000 and then plug in the numbers:

$12.50 x 50 = $625 estimated revenue

This is the formula to use if you want to calculate ad revenue for your website at different traffic levels.


How Does Website Ad Revenue Work?

When a website owner works with an ad company, they make ads available to the site owner. Whether the website owner places the ads or the company does depends on the company. 

Most ads will be pay per click (PPC). That means every time a visitor clicks on the ad, you will earn ad revenue. Some of the mixed-in ads will be pay per view. These often pay a penny or two for every single view on the ad.

The total earned from these ads are what the publisher makes. The ad company keeps a certain amount off the top so the website owner never has to worry about splitting the ad revenues – this is done automatically before they are paid.

Generally speaking, the more views a page gets, the more website ad revenue it will earn.

Only visitors not using ad blockers will count towards a site’s revenue. If the ads aren’t displayed, they won’t earn money for the website owner (publisher).


Common Glossary of Terms

Here are some common terms that you’ll run into when studying how to maximize ad revenue on a website.

  • RPM – Revenue per thousand visitors, the amount a website can expect to earn for every thousand views.
  • CPM – Cost per thousand impressions, the amount an ad buyer expects to pay per 1,000 views of their ad
  • Sessions – The number of user-based interactions with a site. One user’s session could include looking at multiple posts, clicking a link, or interacting with multiple parts of a site.
  • page views – The total number of page views on a site. One visitor looking at four blog posts would count as four page views.
  • Above the fold – The most popular, and profitable, ad placement on most websites referring to the space at the top of a website that appears right when the site loads
  • Header bidding – Publishers offering ad space to multiple ad exchanges before 

How To Generate Ad Revenue On Your Website

Generating ad revenue on an existing website comes down to a few simple steps, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy. 

Step one is finding a display ad provider. The most popular are Ezoic, Mediavine, and AdThrive. Google AdSense and Ezoic are the two most commonly used by beginner website publishers.

Each display ad provider has different requirements for a website owner to qualify for their program, so options will be limited depending mostly on traffic numbers.

Follow the instructions given by the ad provider to set up the site for ads, and then focus on building traffic since more traffic will mean more revenue.

Here are the high-level steps:

  1. Build a site that starts getting traffic
  2. Choose an ad provider
  3. Follow their instructions for placing ads on the site
  4. Get more traffic 
  5. Optimize ads or consider a higher-paying ad provider at high enough traffic levels
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5

This is how to get ad revenue on a website and then take it to the next level to maximize it.


How To Maximize Ad Revenue: 4 Battle-Tested Ways

Placing ads is only one step in earning revenue. Ad placements, ad types, the structure of the content, and adding video ads all can have a very strong effect on the total revenue of the display ads on a site.

1. Optimize Above The Fold

Above the fold ads are normally the most valuable location on a site. They get the most attention and the most clicks and therefore make the most money.

So how do you optimize above the fold? 

Two simple steps:

  • Remove extra whitespace
  • Remove featured image (thus pushing ads higher above the fold)

Reducing whitespace means the ad is more likely to show upon loading, especially on smaller screens like with mobile devices. 

Removing the featured image is an easy optimization effect that pushes the ad higher above the fold. This also has the added benefit of making it easier to get down to the content where other ads are placed, making them more likely to be profitable, as well.

2. Add Sticky Ads (Footer and Sidebar)

sticky sidebar ad

Sticky ads are ads that stay on screen even as the visitor scrolls through a blog post or other piece of online content. Behind the first above the fold ad, sticky ads are the most profitable ad units on most sites.

These are best used in the footer and sidebar areas. This makes them as unobtrusive as possible so they don’t interfere with user experiences while also keeping one or two ad units in view at all times.

3. Improve Content Structure

The structure of content matters. If a blog post is just two giant blocks of text, not only will the user experience and visitor retention be terrible but that severely limits where ads can be placed and what types of ad blocks can be tested.

Space Out Paragraphs

You want blog posts with a lot of short, digestible paragraphs. This not only breaks up the text and makes it easier to read, but it provides many more places where ads can be placed and tested.

This isn’t just about numbers, but if there are paragraphs spaced out through a post, different types or styles of ads can be tested to see what combination of ads makes that page the most profitable.

Add More Images

Adding images breaks up the text, makes a post more readable, and also gives more options for ads. Many ad setups have good success with ads placed right after a picture.

Adding more images to a post has many positive benefits for the reader experience, while also allowing you to optimize your content structure for ads.

4. Implement Video Ads

Adding video ads can be a powerful way to increase the earnings of a post. These are often done through dedicate video ad providers and since they aren’t display ads, can be used in conjunction with display ads.

Settings are adjustable so these are ads that tend to pop up and play on the side, not a giant popup screen that annoys visitors in the middle of the screen.

Adding video ads the right way further optimizes the traffic coming to a website.


Recommended Display Ad Providers

There are currently three major display ad providers that stand out as being the major players. These are recommended display ad providers because they tend to have the best combination of advertisers, customer service, and some of the highest EPM numbers out there.

Ezoic Review 

Ezoic is the entry display ad provider for many relatively new websites. At a glance:

  • Impression-based ad network
  • Ideally for less than 50K page views
  • Google Adsense alternative for all niches

Ezoic usually requires 10,000 website page views to get into the program, but they have an Access Now program for websites below 10,000 page views which does require getting approved. Sites above 10,000 can get accepted directly.

More on those details can be found in the Ezoic FAQ. Ezoic has a reputation for delivering better results than Google AdSense.

This is a good starting point for site owners looking to monetize as they ramp up towards one of the two premium ad networks that have larger page view requirements.

Mediavine Review

Mediavine is an excellent display ad provider with an especially strong reputation for responsive customer service.

At a glance:

  • Impression-based ad network
  • Ideally between 50,000 to 100,000 page views
  • Excellent for food, home, outdoor, pet, finance niches

50,000 pageviews is the entry-level for any sites that want to use Mediavine. They have a reputation for being very responsive to website owners and working to make the transition to their ad system as easy and simple as possible.

Mediavine tends to be a major step up from AdSense or Ezoic when it comes to earnings and has a reputation as being especially good for some niches like home, finance, food, and outdoors, just to name a few.

Make sure to check our analysize of 1,000+ Mediavine sites. Learn what it takes to get into the network, niches and content that works, and much more.

AdThrive Review

AdThrive has long been known as the premium display ad network. They are hard to get into, and a site owner shouldn’t even apply until their site gets 100,000 visits a month (or more). 

At a glance:

  • Impression-based ad network
  • Ideally above 100,000 page views
  • Excellent for food, home, outdoor, pet, finance niches

AdThrive works with many of the biggest publishers in multiple markets or niches and are known for working with the largest websites – which allows them to get higher bids from advertisers.

This then allows them to pass along more profit to the website owners using their ads. AdThrive is seen by many as being the “last” display ad provider. Once a site is accepted into their program and uses their ads, they rarely revisit changing display ad providers again.

Premium ad provider excellent for most niches, although especially noted for finance, food, home, outdoor, and pet.

Others: Google AdSense, Niche Specific Providers

Google AdSense used to be the starting display ad provider for most website publishers. They were easy to get into and for years there just weren’t a lot of good display ad options for smaller to middle sized sites.

This isn’t the case so much anymore. While AdSense can be better than nothing, it’s usually best to start with Ezoic if possible.

There are niche-specific providers that can sometimes be worth looking at. However, even in very narrow niches usually one of the three large display ad providers will give better RPM than most niche ad providers.


6-Step Actionable Takeaway Plan

A website ad revenue calculator is a great tool for estimating what a site can be earning at upcoming milestones, or how much of a difference there could be between two ad providers that have different estimated niche RPMs.

Understanding the process will make your estimates when calculating potential ad revenue for your website more accurate.

Here are some actionable next steps you can take today:

  1. Use the website ad revenue estimator to understand the levers of growth
  2. Apply for Ezoic if your site isn’t monetized, or even MediaVine or AdThrive if you have the traffic for it
  3. Optimize the space above the fold
  4. Optimize your content to make it display ad friendly
  5. Employ sticky ads if you haven’t already
  6. Add video advertisements

Follow these steps and you will see better monetization success and get a better idea of what a site in your niche could make at higher traffic numbers.




Analyzed by Mushfiq S

Mushfiq has been buying, growing, and selling website assets since 2008. His first exit was in 2010. Since then, he has done 175 website flips with multiple 6-figure exits. Learn more about Mushfiq.


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