Thursday, October 26, 2017

Monetize Your Blog with Amazon CPM ads


Amazon is well known among bloggers for their affiliate program where you can advertise their banners or links in your website. In return for advertising, Amazon pays you commission for each sale made through your referral link or banner within 24 hours. You will earn a sum even if the person who clicked your link bought something that wasn’t advertised on your blog. For e.g., if the link they clicked was for a vacuum cleaner but they bought a laptop, you still get paid. Apart from their affiliate system, you can earn through Amazon CPM Ads as well.

What are Amazon CPM Ads?

First of all, CPM literally translates to “cost per mille” or in English, cost per thousand impressions. For instance, if the CPM rate is $1, you will earn $1 for a thousand impressions on your advertisement. If you get 100,000 impressions, you will earn $100. It’s as simple as that.
That’s how Amazon CPM advertisements work. They display their ads and you earn from each impression that you get. For now, they don’t have CPC (cost per click) ads like Google Adsense. Nonetheless, having CPM ads is a great opportunity to earn especially if you get rejected by other advertising networks.

How do you apply for Amazon CPM Ads?

Firstly, you need to have an account with Amazon Affiliates that is still active.
Next, look at your Amazon Affiliates dashboard.

If you noticed on the image above, there is a column for Amazon CPM Ads. This may or may not be inside your dashboard. When I first joined Amazon Affiliates, I couldn’t find for such CPM ads. If it’s already embedded inside your dashboard, it means you already qualified upon registration for Amazon Affiliates. However, if it’s not, you need to check with their support staff to see if you qualify.
I had to contact their support staff and requested for it to be added. After a few days, they have added it for me and I started using their ads not long ago. Lucky me.

Once you click on it, you will see “Introduction”, “Home” and “Create New Ad Code”. Click on the “Create New Ad Code”.

After clicking, you will get to this page.
What should you do next?
  • Choose a name for your advertisement which is mainly for your own reference (so that you know which of your ads are performing well).
  • There are five different ad sizes, pick one which is suitable for your blog. No worries, you can create more ads later.
  • Choose your target CPM. Personally, I chose $1 as my target CPM.
So how does it actually work?
CPM rates depend on my factors, including where your audience is from and what your blog niche is. This means that some visitors are only “worth” lesser than $1 CPM and others may be worth $1 or more.
For example, assuming that your target CPM is $1, if your visitor is worth less than $1 CPM, Amazon won’t display their ads. They will only display ads if your audience is worth $1 or more.
Does this mean that my ad space will be empty?
Luckily, Amazon allows you to put a passback ad code, which brings us to the last part.
  • Provide your passback ad code. This means that they allow (or rather, force) you to put codes from other advertising agencies, such as Adsense, Media.net or anything else. If their CPM rate is not met, they will pass the ad space back to your other advertising network.

For example, if you put an Adsense code as your passback code, it will display Adsense ads if your targeted CPM rate is not met. You can even put their own Amazon Affiliates banner as the passback code. That’s what I did for this blog initially (until I changed to my hosting affiliate banner).
Once you’ve created your ads, you can insert it into your blog. I will use WordPress as an example.

How to insert Amazon CPM Ads into a WordPress blog

Inserting CPM ads into your WordPress blog is quite simple. If you have a sidebar, you can just go to your widgets, and add a “Text” widget.

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As you can see in the image above, just copy and paste exactly the Amazon ad code into the text widget and it works. The method of adding Amazon ads is the same as inserting ads from other networks.
If you want to insert the ad code into a header or a footer, and if you’re using a self-hosted WordPress, go to “Appearance“.
Next, click on “Editor” and you will be directed to this screen, which is the html part of your blog.

On the right hand side, you will notice “header.php” which is for your header and “footer.php” which is for your footer.
If you want to add the code into your header, click “header.php”. You will see all kinds of coding. Find the opening <body> tag which might look like this: “<body <?php body_class(); ?>>“. Insert the ad code after this tag, on the next line.
You can use the same method for footer ads, by going to “footer.php” and doing the same thing.
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If you’re not familiar with html, don’t risk it. You can just install and activate the Ad Inserter plugin, and you can choose where you want the ads to be inserted to. It can be at the header or footer or even in between paragraphs and so on.
Now that we’ve finally gotten this out of our way, let’s go back to the main question which is the topic of this post.

How much can I actually earn from Amazon’s CPM Ads a month?

As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this post, you can set a targeted CPM rate and you can basically guess how much you’ll earn for a thousand or a hundred thousand impressions.
Having said that, you have to take into account “ad fill rates” as well. This means that even if 1000 visitors came to your blog this month, not all 1000 will view the ads, as it’s impossible to display ads to all visitors. This happens because of network errors, timeouts or even if a visitor leaves the page early. Furthermore, not all of your visitors will reach your CPM rate. It could be your blog niche which commands a low CPM as well.

If you can see in the image above, I’ve earned $0.26 for 237 ad impressionswith the CPM rate of $1.11. That is the average CPM rate that I’m getting from my visitors, although I’ve set my targeted CPM rate as $1 only.
Just to clarify, it doesn’t mean that if you set your rate as $1, you will only earn $1 for 1,000 views. It just means that it displays ads to visitors with a CPM rate of $1 and above.
What about the fill rate?

If you can see on the image above, my fill rate is really low, i.e. around 3 – 9% only. If I’m not mistaken, fill rate is calculated by dividing impressions with ad requests. Ad requests are the number of times Amazon ads are requested from their server to display on your blog. Although they were displayed, they were not viewed by visitors most of the time, which results in low ad impressions.
The best way to improve ad impressions is to perhaps put ads in obvious places. “You don’t say“. Most of my ads are hidden in footers or in sidebars which are rarely viewed. Not everyone reads all the way to the end, which means a majority won’t see my footer ads. Furthermore, mobile visitors won’t see my sidebar if they read my articles, unless they purposely click the sidebar button.
Nevertheless, I’m not depending much on my Amazon CPM ads, as I’m focusing more towards affiliate sales currently. Putting too much ads at the beginning might adversely affect user experience.
Furthermore, Amazon only allows three CPM ads to be displayed at a page one time. Your account might get suspended if you use more than three different ads on a page.
Back to the topic. Are Amazon CPM ads really effective for new bloggers? Unfortunately, it may not be very effective as you won’t earn much in the beginning for the simple reason that new blogs generally don’t get much traffic (unless you’re an exceptional case). Even if you get 1,000 ad impressions, you’ll probably only earn $1 or slightly more.
This doesn’t mean that Amazon CPM ads are terrible. They are actually better than other CPM ads that I’ve tried and if you get lots of traffic each month, it becomes a source of passive income. Who doesn’t like passive income? Furthermore, they work well with Google Adsense or other advertising networks as well since it allows passback whenever CPM rates are not met.

Conclusion

Amazon CPM ads are quite useful as a source of passive income especially if you’ve failed to get approval with Adsense or other networks. As a new blogger, you won’t earn much but it’s better than saying that your blog is earning zero.
Putting ads on your blog is not the best way to monetize a blog with minimum traffic. If your blog is not getting many visitors, you can probably earn more by way of affiliate marketing. You can use their CPM ads and insert their affiliate code as passback to maximize your potential income.

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