When I started my first blog, it was a complete display ad monetization play. It was a strategy I took straight out of Jon Dykstra’s playbook.
I was drawn to this approach because I thought I could write about whatever I wanted. I wasn’t stuck just writing review or product guides. I got to write about more interesting content.
And my plan almost worked out perfectly. I reached 100,000 pageviews per month by Month 9. My site was skyrocketing.
But that $15 RPM that the likes of Jon Dykstra and Ron Stefanski rave about just didn’t come my way.
I was pulling in a whopping $4 per 1000 sessions with Ezoic.
Niche Selection matters for Display Ad Sites.
There are two problems, I think, with the way the current gurus teach display ad monetization. Don’t get me wrong, I respect and learn so much from. Maybe they said these things but they went through one ear and out the other.
But here are the two issues that I think still need to be emphasized a lot more for people going into display ad niches:
- You can’t pick any old niche. You need to pick a high revenue niche.
- No one’s talking about WHICH NICHES are the high revenue ones.
So for the last 6 months I’ve been sitting around wondering how I might find some data on which niches earn the most display ad revenue. It’s been brewing in the back of my mind.
And instead of getting good data-based advice, everyone gives the same old stale advice like:
- Pick a niche you know a lot about
- Pick a hobby
- Pick a broad niche with lots of content cluster ideas
- Niche selection doesn’t matter
Those answers didn’t satisfy me. I wanted data.
I Finally Found a Data Source
I was watching Matt Diggity’s YouTube video on whether to use display ads on an affiliate site when he mentioned he used a service called newormedia.com to deploy ads on his site.
So I went to their website to check them out.
And I came across this display ad revenue calculator:
You plug in a whole lot of data about your site, like when it was launched, where your traffic source is … and then you have to select one of 19 niches.
And out spits a figure for how much they think you can make in ad revenue.
According to the company, the data is generated based on “historical data of websites we work with”:
So I conducted a Test
I ran the calculator for all of the 19 niches they had listed in their drop-down menu.
And I entered the exact same data in every field, so all variable remained the same except the niche.
Any variations in revenue would have to be niche-dependent.
Here are the details I entered for every test:
- Website created in 2019
- 50% US Revenue
- 50% Mobile Traffic
- 100,000 PVs
- 5 Display Ads on Page
Now, I have to caveat this study: the results you’ll see aren’t going to be replicated on your website. For one thing, it seems that newormedia isn’t going to monetize at the same rate as competitors like Ezoic, Mediavine or Adthrive.
In fact, I was surprised at how low their predicted revenues are.
But the results are internally consistent. And that’s what matters in order for us to rank the niches.
I Tested the Following Niches
- Beauty & Fashion
- Business & Finance
- Family & Parenting
- Food & Drink
- Government & Politics
- Health & Fitness
- Home & Architecture
- Web Design & Development
Here are the Results:
|Rank (Best to Worst)||Niche||Predicted Revenue per 1000 Visitors|
|1||Business & Finance||$10.02|
|4||Health & Fitness||$6.80|
|5||Home & Architecture||$6.80|
|6||Government & Politics||$6.80|
|8||Beauty & Fashion||$6.12|
|9||Family & Parenting||$6.12|
|13||Web Design & Development||$4.76|
|14||Food and Drink||$4.76|
(I think you’ll be able to get at least double this revenue for most of the niches above if you run an aggressive ad strategy with Ezoic.)
What does this Data Tell Us?
From this data, my main takeaway is we now know what niches to avoid.
I’m going to avoid the super competitive ones. We already knew Finance, Travel and Weddings were unbelievably competitive. I’ll avoid them like the plague. I’ll also avoid the low income ones – Technology and Entertainment (I was surprised Cryptocurrency was so low).
But those niches in positions 4 – 9 are where I think there’s some potential. There are plenty of niches in the “Home” vertical to go after. Even Pets might be a good one for monetization.
Conclusion: Take this with a Healthy Dose of Skepticism
I’m not going to 100% rely on this data. For one thing, I think all the revenue predictions above are really low compared to what I know you can make from some of those niches. But as I said – it’s internal consistency that matters here, so that’s beside the point. Maybe you want to double each number above for a more realistic estimate.
But it sure is interesting data nonetheless.
So, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you in one of those lower-tiered niches making bank from display ads? I’d like to know (comment below!)
For now, this is the best data I’ve got. And based on this data, I sure as hell am not starting a Cryptocurrency blog any time soon.