How do publishers make more money at Raptive?

Raptive Raptive

KFC makes fried chicken with 11 secret herbs and spices. 

Coca-Cola keeps its original formula within a secure vault in the company’s Atlanta headquarters. 

And Phoebe Buffay on Friends closely guarded her grandmother’s famous French chocolate chip cookie recipe that was passed down from her grandmother, “Nestle Toulous.”

But today, we’re spilling the beans on our secret recipe for getting our publishers higher ad revenue…

So here goes:

  1. Take 1 high-quality site’s baseline open market ad revenue potential
  2. Add advanced ad code that constantly optimizes the ad auction and ad delivery
  3. Mix in premium revenue from strong direct sales and add more lift with sales flooring and competition
  4. Layer in unique ad technology relationships that you can’t get anywhere else
  5. Serve with customized ad layout optimization and hands-on consultative support!
bar showing open market baseline revenue is a percentage of how publishers make money with about 40% showing the parts of AdThrive's incremental revenue parts

1. Open market demand offers baseline revenue for high-quality sites

“Every ad manager has access to the same advertising sources, so it doesn’t make a difference where you go.”

“Everyone says they can make you more money, but they’re all pulling from the same pool of advertising demand.”

“Ad management companies all use the same DSPs and SSPs — the rest is marketing and revenue share.”

Have you ever heard these points come up in a discussion about ad management companies?

These common pieces of advice float around in forums and Facebook groups whenever someone is trying to understand the risks or benefits of changing ad management or working with a specific ad management company. 

The advice is usually well-intentioned.

It’s also mostly wrong.

What’s true?

Today, most online advertising is bought and sold programmatically through automated auctions, known as “the open market.” 

“Open” can be a bit misleading, though. Publishers need custom ad technology to connect to these auctions. Working with an ad management company is the most efficient way to get plugged in to the world of programmatic advertising

Once a publisher is connected to the most common SSPs (Supply Side Platforms) like Google AdX or OpenX, their site can participate and earn a baseline amount of ad revenue that’s dependent on how valuable their site’s traffic is to advertisers. Even if a publisher moves from one ad management company to another ad management company, they generally keep their “baseline” — their site has a core value on the open market.

But there’s more to the story… 

Open market ad spending should only be ONE piece of a site’s ad earning puzzle. If access to the open market is all that an ad management firm brings to the table, a publisher could likely earn the same amount or more anywhere.

But that also means the ad management firm isn’t doing much “ad managing” because there’s a ton of other revenue sources they can and should bring to that site.

Specialized technology and custom options are the secret ingredients that take an ad revenue recipe up a notch!

2. AdThrive’s advanced ad code optimizes the ad auction and ad delivery

The right ad technology running on a site can make a big difference in take-home ad earnings. Ad auctions take place within moments of a page visit, so if a site is running old, slow, or poorly-coded ad technology, they’re likely missing out on the best bids for their ad slots.

Nucleus is our flexible ad code base. When a reader loads a page on an AdThrive represented site, Nucleus handles everything to make sure the highest-paying ads are served every time.

Like many other ad management firms, we work with Prebid, Amazon, and Google to provide the foundation of much of what we do. But built on top of those platforms, we have extensive custom code that optimizes, enhances, and maximizes revenue in every scenario based on machine learning-driven systems providing real-time feedback into the system.

We’re constantly testing, tweaking, and improving our ad code to drive even the tiniest amounts of incremental revenue, squeezing out the maximum value for our publishers every time an ad loads on their sites.

And thanks to our positions on the Prebid and IAB boards, we always have access to the most up-to-date information about every change coming in the industry, putting the publishers we work with five steps ahead of anyone else out there.

3. AdThrive brings premium revenue with direct sales + our sales flooring and competition drives higher advertiser spending overall

There’s a whole world of ad spending that doesn’t transact on the open market. These premium deals are still done the old-fashioned way — through personalized sales pitches and Mad Men-style negotiations.

Not every ad management company has a skilled sales team representing their site for these higher-end opportunities and designing unique ad products that attract the interest of world-class brands. It takes years to build relationships and establish that type of reputation.

Thankfully, the AdThrive/CafeMedia sales team can draw on decades of experience and proven results to bring our publishers direct-sold ad campaigns that can pay 2–3x open market rates.

And on top of the added revenue from direct deals themselves, even just having those deals available to a site drives higher ad spending overall. 


WIth direct campaigns running on a site, ad buying algorithms learn to bid higher for all of the site’s ad impressions due to the increased competition. 

While direct sales require lots of hard, manual labor, it’s also one of the more future-proof revenue streams for digital advertising. Sales will play an even bigger role as we reimagine a more privacy-conscious industry without third-party cookies, so it’s important to work with an ad partner with a strong sales strategy.

4. AdThrive connects publishers to unique ad technology relationships

Independent publishers don’t have the same access to technology partnerships as giant media conglomerates, but an ad management partner can bring unique relationships that a publisher can’t get on their own.

The key?

An ad management partner has to have enough proven scale to land these partnerships.

With the AdThrive community holding the #9 spot (on the entire internet!) in Comscore’s ranking systems (December 2021), we have a proven history of forging industry-first relationships on behalf of AdThrive publishers: 

When someone works with AdThrive, they benefit from dozens of one-of-a-kind integrations — and they’re so seamless a publisher may not notice them anywhere but in higher RPMs.

5. AdThrive’s hands-on support and ad layout optimization equals higher RPMs

The final ingredient in this revenue recipe is the icing on top — our hands-on support and ad layout optimization.

We work with publishers to understand their site, their readership, and their overall revenue goals to design a completely custom ad layout

While we have general best practices we’ve honed over the years, we don’t do “cookie-cutter” templates or squeeze a site into a one-size-fits-all ad layout. We’re hands-on, and team of ad performance experts (real humans) help our publishers dial in the optimal settings for their ads with frequent tweaks and optimizations.

We invest heavily to assemble a talented team that comes to work each day excited to help publishers live their dreams.

Well, there you have it!

The secret sauce isn’t so secret anymore. Now you know how AdThrive came to be the #1 ad management company representing over 3,500 high-quality publishers who enjoy higher ad earnings and take home more money than anywhere else. Plus, they enjoy proven RPM increases time after time without cluttering their site with extra ads.

Interested in joining AdThrive? Apply now.