How Ad Performance is Like Dating

John Doe

John Doe

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How Ad Performance is Like Dating



How long does it take to get the best ad performance after joining Monumetric? Kevin Hill, CTO at Monumetric wrote this helpful post that explains how ad performance is just like a relationship. He compares it to dating. Larger sites will get there faster, smaller sites may take more time.

As a company that is fanatical about optimal ad performance, a common question we get is: “Why does it take time for ad performance to improve?” I want to paint a scenario for you to help explain this complex and common issue. I’m going to show you how it’s a relationship and compare it to dating.

A man sits at a table at a coffee shop. A woman comes and sits by him and says “Hey, I’m Susan”. “Hey, Susan, pleased to meet you,” he replies. After an awkward moment or two, she stands up. “Well I thought it was clear I am interested in you — I guess I will find someone else to marry me.”

As absurd as this story may sound, that sums up the most common issue that blogs experience. In case you are wondering, the website’s name is “Susan” — it isn’t the man.

Display ads serve through digital relationships. These relationships may be programmatic (done through methods and algorithms). But, their design requires a courtship that can’t be rushed.

Get a Good Matchmaker

At Monumetric, we consider ourselves professional matchmakers. We know who the sleaze balls are and how to avoid them. We’ve discovered who are full of empty promises and which suitors truly deliver. We’ve handpicked those who share your values and will appreciate you for who you are and not try and change you. We do our best to get as many fish in our sea so that they have to fight over you in the end.

In the end, even with an amazing matchmaker — some things still require time, attention, and patience.

First Blind Date

Nothing exemplifies “awkward” better than your first blind date with someone. You don’t know what to think of each other — you are just testing the waters to see if this relationship is worth pursuing. I don’t care if you were last year’s Jr. Prom Queen (have the millions of pageviews that everyone envies). No suitor is going to come running to you with a ring box in hand and beg for your hand in marriage at that point.

It takes a few dates, sometimes, some good experiences, some more time, and aligned values to take the relationship to a new level.

They might find they mainly like your smile (Top banner ad), or your interests (sidebar ads), or your body (contextual ads) or just your legs (footer ads). They may prefer to talk to you over the phone (mobile ads) or in person (“personal computer” desktop ads). Those are all things they find out over time.

“How long does that take?”

It depends — first answer this: “How long do you date someone before you get engaged?”

What Can I Do?

Things that influence the progression of a relationship:

  • How much you can put into it (quality traffic)
  • How much value you bring to the other party (quality pageviews)
  • How well your past dates have been (quality of ad clicks)
  • How much attention you give them (ad placement)
  • How loyal you are (limited number of ads per page)
  • How reliable you are (consistency in traffic, ad placements, and website changes)

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Things that hurt a relationship:

  • When you are fake (poor traffic quality)
  • When you are a “player” (have too many ads on each page
  • Don’t show that you care (place ads far away from content)
  • Ignore your cell phone when they call (have a mobile template that pushes all the ads to the bottom)
  • When you can’t commit (changing ad servers, ad providers, or ad placements)

We broke up, and now they won’t talk to me (Blacklisted)

Even with the best intentions, some actions put your relationship into a tailspin that almost no one recovers from.

Here are the Absolute DO NOT DO’S:

  • Don’t tarnish a good engagement with a ring from a Crackerjacks box (fake traffic).
  • Don’t brag about how amazing you are (clicking on your own ads)
  • Don’t gossip about your friends (break Google’s Privacy Policy requirements)
  • Don’t act inappropriately (have inappropriate content on your site)
  • Don’t be a flat out jerk (steal copyrighted material or publish hate, violent, or racist material)

Enough With The Analogy — I really want to know how long it takes.

Frankly, it depends. Huge blogs can usually see ad performance improvements normalize after a few weeks — smaller blogs usually longer than that.

Our experience tells us you need to let your ads run uninterrupted (don’t move them or stop them) for 100,000 pageviews before your ads “start” to normalize. But even then, we’ve had blogs that have 7 million monthly pageviews that still took a few weeks of dating before they got hooked up. Then a few weeks after that, engaged (spike in eCPM and fill rate), and then several months after that, married (direct ad deals).

So, before you starting thinking the guy at the coffee shop is a complete idiot. Think about whether you are allowing things to happen like they should — or if you are trying to rush things. You might find if you give them a chance to get to know you — things might work out for both of you — which is the ultimate trophy of a die-hard matchmaker.


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