The content arbitrage industry can be very lucrative but it’s also a fickle beast. Simply throwing up long slideshows may increase your pageviews but it’s not likely to improve your bottom line.
In order to truly capitalize on the large number of unique visitors you deliver to your website through paid campaigns, there are some simple but highly important metrics that must be considered.
These metrics are widely known throughout the analytics industry so let’s dive into why they are specifically important for digital content arbitrage companies.
Time On Site
Study after study has proven that readers who are more engaged with digital content are more likely to click-through on ads placed on a website. There are several ways to accomplish this goal.
Place multiple slides on a single page. A slideshow with 50 slides can be broken down into 50 separate pages but the average user won’t stick around for the entirety of the post. Instead, consider breaking those 50 slides into 10 pages with 5 slides each. If each page contains 100 words per example, you may find readers sticking around for 5,000 words spread over far fewer slides.
Add video content to your slides. This is a quick way to provide content that requires a longer viewing period. The content you select should match the theme of your post and be engaging in its own right. This also helps ensure that visual visitors have content they prefer to absorb.
*Don’t add too many videos as it can affect page load times (which we discuss next) and cause readers to develop “video fatigue.”
Page Load Times
Load times are crucial. Nobody wants to load 25 slides if your page takes more than 1 second to load per page. Our friends at KissMetrics provide an infographic which shows how users interact with certain types of pages based on load times. You can easily lose 50% of your audience on the first page if your site is slow. Readers are also less likely to engage with your advertisers if page load times are high.
Even if a user does stick around because your content is interesting, they are far less likely to click on ads if your site is slow to load.
This is why high CPM or CPC earnings per ad are important for an arbitrage site. If you can serve less ads of higher quality your page is already guaranteed to load faster, thus increasing your click-through rates.
Photo Credit: demandaj bounce out
Keeping users on your website can skyrocket your earnings by increasing the CPM (cost per 1000 pageviews) metric. If 90% of your users jump ship after a single article, you are leaving money on the table.
Bounce rate improvements can be reached in several ways.
Provide content readers want. If you find a niche that keeps readers on your website, exploit that niche as much as humanly possible. Many Zenpost partners have found that certain types of pieces work better than others for keeping readers engaged. Entertainment, shocking stories, uplifting, and similar stories tend to perform well.
*Niche content is also great because it allows advertisers to hone in on the type of readership they are seeking, thus increase your earnings per ad unit.
Make the content your own. Readers want to be led through a story in a unique and thoughtful way. Whether you inject humor, compassion, or shocking details into your story, don’t be afraid to take a topic and make it more interesting through storytelling. Stay ture to the facts of the story but give readers a reason to engage at the same time.
This metric can be frustrating for arbitrage buyers because it requires them to convince a user to return to their website for future pageviews. Studies have shown countless times that a returning visitor is more likely to trust ads on a website they view regularly. That means increased click through rates and better overall ad engagement.
The metrics already discussed above can lead to returning visitors. Fast loading websites with engaging content are more likely to be frequented once discovered through native, social, and display advertising. Niche content is also smart because readers know they can return to your website to find similar content they are interested in during a returning visit in the future.
Types Of Traffic
The type of traffic you receive to your website can drastically increase or decrease your earnings.
Direct visitors, typically those that find your website directly through a URL in their browser address bar, tend to be highly engaged. Typically, these users are returning readers who have enjoyed your website content in the past or they have received a link from a friend in via email or messaging app.
Search visitors are those people who find your website organically through Google, Yahoo, and other online searches. These individuals are typically already interested in the content you are sharing and are likely to be engaged if your content is well thought out and written.
Referral visitors are readers who were sent to your website from another source. Typically they click a link on another website or news portal and find their way to your content. These readers already have an idea about the content they are about to read and will become engaged if you have a unique take on the topic at hand.
Search visitors are the readers who find your content on Facebook, Twitter, and through other social channels. They tend to trust the content they are about to read because they received a link from their friends, family, or social influencers. We’ve seen this first hand when fake news spreads across the web because social users failed to verify the information on their own, instead, trusting the content based on referrals.
Ad Users. This is a trick one. As an arbitrage buyer and seller you likely receive a lot of your readers from Taboola, RevContent, Content.ad, Outbrain, Native20, and other networks. Testing different networks and seeing how their metrics perform based on the considerations on this page can help you determine which site offers the best bang for your buck. Keep in mind that a lower CTR might be beneficial if the quality of the reader is higher.
Ultimately, content arbitrage is best left to digital media publishers who understand what readers want and deliver content quickly and with an emphasis on quality.
Great content will be first discovered through ads, then shared by readers directly with friends and via social media channels. Increasing your social signals and delivering top-notch quality content will ultimately lead to more organic views which turn into higher advertising earnings for your efforts.