Creating sports content may seem easy on paper, but rapidly covering sports events along with providing valuable content to users is a tough task. Add revenue optimization into the mix and the publisher’s daily life becomes even more difficult.
Socio-political changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic make matters worse for sports publishers. Lack of activity in the sporting world means less content to publish, which further puts more strain on the revenue streams.
The good news is that sports news websites often get a lot of traffic. For example, The Bleacher Report, one of the top sports news websites in the world received website traffic of 32.1 million in June 2020.
Similarly, owing to consistency of sports events and a constant user interest, several sports websites receive similar or enough traffic. This opens up opportunities for publishers to monetize their sports website. Following are some of the top steps they can take to monetize their traffic.
Starting with Content and Traffic
We mentioned that Sports niche generally get a good pageviews, thanks to the loyal Sports fans. However, this traffic requires rich content. Especially for Sports news publishers, being the first one to share the right information is the trickiest part. Now this comes under Sports journalism.
But when it comes to reaching the audience, publishers try different routes. SEO can be one way to get desired traffic. Social media channels is next best way to get new and recurring traffic. After that comes Google News and other news sharing platforms.
Sports news publishing can be challenging for entry-level publishers. But starting with a specific niche and creating a loyal audience base out of it can work wonders. For instance, you can start with local sports events in your area – with that it will be easy for you to access the information first. You can start promoting your news website on social media via paid campaign, a small investment there. But it pays itself when you start getting a good traffic.
Ad Layout Optimization and Ad Refresh
Finding the best performing ad placements is highly important for publishers who want to see a rise in revenue generation.
An average publisher is known to have only 50% viewable inventory while the rest goes unseen. Advertisers are most likely to opt out of ads that are not viewed by users, and in times like these, when advertisers are already low on investing, Ad viewability must be taken seriously. Hence, it is recommended to audit all placements for minimum ad viewability requirements.
Ad refresh on the other hand, reloads the ads on the user’s screen based on the time spent and activity on the page. Publishers can benefit from ad refresh once they have acquired an engaging audience. If you aren’t already using these techniques, it is suggested you should implement them as soon as possible.
Finding the Right Ad Network(s)
Ad networks buy inventory from publishers, and sell it to the highest bidders after segmenting it. They increase revenue for publishers and in return take a small revenue share from publishers and advertisers. Hence, finding a suitable ad network is a must in order to gain more revenue.
If a sports publisher is already running AdSense, we recommend diversifying revenue earning opportunities by partnering with an ad network (or a combination of some). Moreover, ad networks are efficient at selling remnant inventory, This will help publishers in optimizing their unsold ad units.
With Sports news publishing, demand matters. And header bidding has to be the best way to optimize demand. Allow us to explain this in details:
Advertisers from businesses like Sports gear, energy drinks, shoes brands, fitness trackers, upcoming Sports events, etc. are some examples that would readily purchase your inventory. These advertisers would not only want to buy your inventory but also your users would like to see/click on ads that are related to their interest.
How to reach these advertisers?
Enters Header Bidding. Header bidding is a real-time auctions that allows publishers to call out to multiple demand partners (advertisers) to bid on their inventory. This increased bid pressure and makes advertisers bid higher number to get impressions from your users.
Gone are the days when banner ads were one of the best ways to help publishers earn revenue. For revenue optimization, publishers must leverage video ads.
After getting started with video advertising, sports publishers can find news ways to optimize the video ad revenue. One of the primary ways to do that is by selling inventory via video header bidding.
Tiered Access, Paywall, Subscriptions, and Micropayments
Getting customers to pay for content is a great alternate source of revenue. Publishers can put certain piece of content under paywall where only subscribers have access to premium content. To gain the trust of the users, some content could be offered for free before they are asked to pay.
Tiered access offerings are another game changer when it comes to monetizing your website. Publishers can adopt a tiered access approach, wherein users can sample the content by registering for a free trial subscription for a limited period of time. Users can be offered greater volume of content and additional features if they pay more.
Subscriptions and micropayments have become a steady stream of revenue generation for publishers. Subscriptions offer a sustaining revenue flow depending upon the duration chosen by the users. However, some users are willing to pay for a single item or micropayment when offered. Both these models can be implemented by the publishers in order to gain more revenue.
Your audience is a niche-based audience, and you certainly don’t want to ruin their user experience by displaying irrelevant ads. Affiliate marketing is helpful for publishers as advertisers that best fit with your audience are chosen to display ads. Advertisers pay commission for approved sales that are referred from your sites.
A sports news publisher would ideally deal with a sports advertiser for their inventory. Establishing relationships with affiliate agencies can help publishers expand their revenue stream.
Many publishers are updating their articles to include affiliate links. This would help in monetizing their existing content. Sports news publishers can include such links in their content pieces as well. Be sure to start with the posts that have the highest SEO ranking and traffic.
The need for publishers to diversify revenue earning opportunities is a pressing one and must be catered to by adopting new strategies. The decline in advertising revenues, new competitive forces within the publishing industry as well as the changing user attitudes, are all influencing the revenue streams.
The key for publishers is to be flexible when it comes to adopting new technologies that bear fruit and ones that are extensible in nature. It has become highly important to keep up with the latest technologies and leave no stone unturned when it comes to generating revenue and monetizing your website. We hope these steps help prove beneficial in monetizing your website.