How to Make Money With Display Ads

Running display ads is one of the easiest options for publishers to monetize their websites. While there are other methods, including selling ads directly and using affiliate marketing via Amazon, display advertising using an ad network is the simplest way to generate passive income and monetize your website.

You place a snippet of code on your website, and ads are displayed automatically when site visitors are on your website. The best ad networks will serve relevant ads to the target audience to generate opportunities for higher monetization.

Display ads are the most common type of advertising online, generating more than $244 billion globally in ad spending in 2021.

Several things impact your ability to earn, including your website content or niche, the target audience you attract, and the volume of traffic and page views.

Whether you’re a publisher, blogger, or running an online business, display ads are an easy way to make money.

If you’d like to see how much money you could make by running banner ads on your website, check out the free Newor Media Earning Calculator.

What are Display Ads?

Display ads are a type of online advertisement that combines text and images in ad units that appear on your website page. They may also contain videos.

Display ads will link off-site to advertiser websites, and the two most common types of ad pricing options are cost per click (CPC) and cost per mille (thousand) (CPM).

With the CPC model, advertisers create a landing page on their website where visitors go when they click with the goal of converting site visitors to purchase, sign up, or download the product or service being advertised.

The more website visitors on a page, the more ad impressions publishers can produce. The greater the clickthrough rate (CTR), the more money publishers earn.

With the CPM model, you are paid based on ad impressions. An impression is counted each time an ad is loaded and displayed on a webpage. “Cost per mille” specifically means “cost per thousand,” so CPM is the cost per thousand ad impressions.

Types of Display Ads

There are different types of display ads and different formats, including:

  • Banner ads
  • Interstitial ads
  • Rich media ads
  • Social media ads

Banner Ads

Banner ads are the most common ad format. They generally feature static images and text and appear throughout the website to encourage site visitors to click. Ad revenue tends to vary based on traffic and ad placement on the page.

Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads show full screen when users move from one web page to another. These ads are highly noticeable and generally produce higher CTRs. However, because of their intrusive nature, publishers generally place a frequency cap to avoid negatively impacting the user experience.

Rich Media Ads

These creatives incorporate advanced features such as video, audio, or other elements. Rich media ads might expand when users hover over them or have interactive elements. They might also float as users scroll.

Social Media Ads

Ads on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram have become increasingly popular. One of the fastest-growing categories is video ads on YouTube and other social platforms, which is forecast to grow by 20.1% in 2022.

Display Ad Options

Within each of these ad types, marketers may also choose from a variety of options, including:

  • Dynamic ads automatically change what’s displayed based on users, devices, or other variables. Working with an ad network, ad servers will automate the real-time process to customize ads designed to optimize performance based on these variables.
  • Responsive ads feature multiple headlines, images, and layouts to create ads in various sizes to fit the user’s device.
  • Retargeting ads re-engage people that have previously visited your website and can be highly targeted to specific pages or products they visited. These ads are especially effective when users have placed items in a shopping cart to purchase but failed to complete the transaction.
  • Remarketing ads are primarily used to market to customers that have already done business with an advertiser or are part of their lead nurturing process.
  • Native ads are created in the style and format that is native to the website. In this way, they blend more seamlessly into the content.

Display Ad Targeting

Display ads remain as one of the most effective types of advertising and a significant revenue generator for publishers. One of the reasons is that ads can be highly targeted to specific users. This increases the relevancy of the ad units and the likelihood that users will click on the ads.

Ad networks match advertisers with publishers automatically using advanced algorithms for targeting. Some of the most common targeting options include:

  • Demographics: There are hundreds of demographic categories available, from age and gender to education and job title. You can get extremely granular in your selections, such as people that fit a category and interact with specific content.
  • Geo-location: Advertisers can target certain locations to display ads. This ensures that only people in an advertiser’s service area see the banner ads. Advertisers can also set geo-fences to target specific locations, such as those near stores.
  • Device and platform: Marketers can also place specific ads targeted to devices or platforms. For example, if they advertise a mobile app for download, they may want to restrict the ad to those viewing it on mobile devices.
  • Behavioral and contextual: Advertisers can choose from interest categories based on users’ online behavior or place contextual ads that are relevant to the content being displayed on the page.
  • Custom audiences: Another strategy advertisers use is to build custom audiences. They might target people in their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database or from a marketing list.
  • Third-party data: Advertisers also often use third-party data that provides deeper insights into users and behavior, including intent data and in-market consumers.

How To Add Display Ads to Your Website

Getting started with display ads on your website is easy. Most publishers do this by partnering with an ad network, such as Newor Media or Google AdSense.

Selecting the right advertising network is important as each ad network works differently. For example, the Google AdSense program through Google Ads is self-service. Publishers are responsible for the account setup, ad code, and ad placements. While other ad networks are more automated and hands-off for the website owner.

Setting Up a Google AdSense Account

To set up a Google AdSense account, you’ll first need to have a Google account. If you already use Gmail or a Google service for your business, you’re ready. If not, you will need to create a Google account to get started.

Next, you will want to create a Google AdSense account and enter the URL of the website you publish, select your country or territory where you do business and want to receive payment, and accept the terms and conditions.

Google will generate an ad code containing your unique publisher ID, which you will need to place on your website. If you’re using WordPress, you can place this code in a widget or via a plugin. This can be simple or complex depending on how you want to structure your AdSense display ads. You can let Google manage ad placement throughout your site or restrict ads to specific locations on a specific page.

Setting Up Ads.txt

You’ll also want to ensure you have properly set up your ads.txt file on your website. Ads.txt is an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab designed to increase transparency in programmatic advertising. In this case, Ads stands for Authorized Digital Sellers and are important in preventing fraud.

Ads.txt files include the ad exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSPs), and demand-side platforms (DSPs) that are authorized to initiate buying or selling activities for publisher inventory. Publishers will also have to obtain a unique identification code from the Trustworthy Accounting Group (TAG) for verification and include it in their ads.txt file.

Working with Newor Media

By comparison, Newor Media helps publishers with the process of setting up ads and helps them discover the best placements to optimize revenue. Ad placement and format play a significant role in the number of money publishers can earn, so decisions you make about what to display and where to place ads are crucial to maximizing potential.

How To Increase Revenue with Display Ads

Overall, the more traffic your website receives, the more opportunities you have to generate revenue. By partnering with a top ad network, publishers can generate a mostly passive revenue stream, but there are ways to increase the amount of revenue generated from display ads.

First, though, we should talk a bit about the user experience.

Use Best Practices

If you overload your web pages with ads, it can significantly disrupt the user experience. Not only can it hurt your site’s reputation and make you appear untrustworthy, but it causes higher bounce rates and means visitors are less likely to return. Make sure you always use best practices for display ads to ensure a high-quality experience for site visitors.

Ad placement also has a big role in performance. Ads that appear above the fold have much better viewability, for example.

Publishers will also want to optimize traffic to show relevant ads to the largest possible number of website visitors, so this means producing high-quality content and using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to build and grow an audience.

Enable Different Ad Sizes and Formats

Different advertisers use different ad sizes and formats. The more ad types and formats you offer on your website, the more opportunities you have to generate revenue. A diversity of ad units lets you tap into different revenue streams. Since some ad units generate better CPMs or CTRs than others, you will also want to make sure you include the types and formats that can produce better revenue.

Ensure Mobile Optimization

Surprisingly, one common mistake publishers still make is formatting for desktop computers when 58% of all website visits occur on mobile devices. Ads need to automatically be formatted for devices, and publishers need to manage ad placements for mobile devices to optimize performance.

Continuous Tracking

Whether you use Google Analytics or some other form of measurement, you want to watch your performance carefully. By keeping an eye on the key metrics, you can see what’s working and what’s not, so you adjust your banner ad strategy as needed.

Two key metrics publishers will want to track from their ad network will be CPM and fill rate. CPM, or cost per thousand (mille) is the amount of revenue earned per thousand impressions. Fill rate is the number of ads that are shown versus the number of potential impressions.

By reviewing the metrics regularly, you can also make sure that the right ads are reaching the right audience. The more relevant the ad is to the site visitors, the more likely they will click on it.

Continuous Testing

Publishers should always be testing different ad formats, sizes, and placements. Some types may work better when it comes to engagement and click-through rate. You’ll want to make sure you are using the ad placement types that generate the most revenue.

A/B testing is an important component of optimizing display ad performance. You will want to test various scenarios and combinations to determine what works better. Analyzing the data from A/B tests can produce the insights you need to improve performance. Just as importantly, the data can show you what strategies don’t produce the results you want, so you can avoid them in the future.

You can learn more strategies to improve your performance in our Beginner’s Guide to Ad Network Performance and Optimization.


Display ads are the easiest way to monetize a website. Publishers can generate significant income by placing display ads on their site and partnering with an ad network that can help you maximize your potential earnings by displaying the highest paying ads.

Newor Media is an ad network that connects website owners, publishers, and bloggers with advertisers for the monetization of their websites. Newor Media provides publishers with optimized ad monetization technology, insightful reporting and analytics, and a team of digital advertising experts standing by to help optimize your revenue.

You can get an idea of how much revenue you can generate with Newor Media by using the free Earnings Calculator.

Ready to sign up? Get started with Newor Media today and start making more money from your website.

Lauren Aloia

Senior Account Manager, Publisher Development: Newor Media

Lauren is an ad tech expert with a wealth of experience spanning product development, ad operations, and data analysis. She currently works with Newor Media publishers to implement yield optimization strategies that maximize revenue from their programmatic inventory.