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I've been advised that once a site reaches a certain level of traffic it's possible to get more lucrative ad providers on board that give better return than AdSense.

For a reasonable sized ad above the fold (for example 728x90 or 160x600) what sort of CPM can we expect?

What level of traffic do we need to achieve before we become attractive to these bigger fish?

Thanks in advance for any insights you can share, Gavin

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3 Answers 3

Like everyone else said, it's a tough question to answer. From what I've seen, ad networks often advertise a range from .20 cents to 15$ eCPM, sometimes 25$ eCPM.

The best way to figure out would be to keep your stats at hand and shop some ad networks around. Any ad network should be able to give an estimate to you by checking other clients' records against your own. If they don't, they're probably not worth your time.

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The best indicator I have found so far is by looking at the website selling site https://flippa.com/ and keeping an eye on the "High End" sales.

The largest sale I've seen go through so far that doesn't hide it's particulars is: https://flippa.com/138899-the-inqusitr-rare-opp-to-buy-15k-month-news-site-with-1-5-million-uniques

This particular site http://www.inquisitr.com/ is apparently getting about 7 million page views a month with a eCPM of about $2.21 ($15,449 / 7,000,825 page views) * 1,000 = $2.21

The site has numerous ad slots which take a fair amount of real estate on the page so it's not the best match for my original question, but does give a slight indication. It also has affiliate income so this skews the figure a little also.

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[It isn't really possible to answer this too well without more detailed information from you, at which point the question could become too specific, but:]

You might start to get a general sense of ranges by using the "browse" filters at AdRatesOnline.
One caveat, however, is that I've never even heard of the majority of sites listed there. Sites which have established a "name" for themselves in their field will obviously have more room to negotiate for more, and will also be more likely to have their own advertising pages set up with their rates. You'd probably be better off looking at your specific competitors, if their ad information is openly available.

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Thanks Su' - unfortunately AdRatesOnline seems too full of chaff to be useful. Most CPM's on the site we're currently beating using AdWords. –  Gavin May 6 '11 at 4:55

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