The Resource Guide to Display Ads

‘Display ads’ refers to advertisements that are displayed on websites. Think about the blogs you visit - they likely have ads along the sides, within the articles, or along the bottom of the screen. Those are display ads!

The idea is that you work with an ad agency and sell space on your website to advertisers.

This is really only a strategy we recommend you use if you have a highly trafficked website. If you don’t have at least 20,000 pageviews/month, then it really isn’t a strategy worth pursuing as you won’t make much.

However, if you have been blogging for a while or have been a content creator and have a website that is generating a lot of traffic, then this can be a strategy to generate some extremely passive income.

There are two agencies we recommend working with:

  1. MediaVine

  2. AdThrive

Both have guidelines which you have to meet to be accepted into their programs (like a minimum pageview requiement). Once you are in, you generally just have to go through a few setup instructions, and then boom - they can place ads all over your site!

The advantage of going through an agency like this, rather than using Google Ads for example, is that they are the experts when it comes to optimizing your ad placement and revenue. They manage everything - you just concentrate on producing content for your site that bring in readers - and they do the rest. If you try to place the ads yourself, you won’t make as much, it will take more time, and it just won’t be worth it for you.

To give you an idea of the income that can be generated from ads, for a 6-month period in 2018 I averaged about 70,000 pageviews/month and made about $1500-$1800 USD in revenue from Mediavine. It’s not an exact science, as “RPM” (revenue per mille - or what you make per thousand pageviews) varies during different months depending on brand campaigns and shopping season.

Here is a snapshot of what I made between September 1st 2018 and December 31st 2018. I had a total of 284,992 pageviews and made $7315 USD.

Below is how that revenue broke down per ad type on my site. “Content mobile” made the most money - that refers to the ads that are right inside of my content (ie. my blog posts) that are viewed on a mobile device.


The only real reason that I personally continue to have this revenue stream is because I worked hard in my early years of blogging to build up this traffic from sources like Pinterest and SEO that just continue to “work for me”. I only published about 1-2 blog posts per month in 2018 and my revenue from this stream continued to increase.

However, if I were starting all over again, I wouldn’t concern myself with aiming to produce tons of free content (ie blog posts) and playing the traffic game. It can take a long, long time to build, and you can get further faster by focusing on other streams of passive income. The ROI is better if you spend that time instead creating a product to sell, building out affiliate funnels, and growing your email list. If I were starting The Sweetest Digs all over again, the business model would look a whole lot different! I would have started much earlier with my ecommerce online shop, I would have focused on list building WAAAY earlier, and I would have probably created a digital product (like a course on simplifying your home, decorating, or creating a toxin-free home).

A friend of mine, Kendra Hennessy, runs her business called Mother Like a Boss. She is a great example of passive monetization in a B2C niche (ie. not about business!) but without display ads or creating tons of blog content. Her business model is to have several online courses (one about cleaning and one about homemaking) that sell for around the $197 mark. She has created a sales funnel for them and drives traffic using paid advertising, her social media following, and her popular podcast. I’m sure she also has some affiliate marketing in her business model, but the two online courses make up a large percentage of her annual income. And it’s no joke. The chick is a smart and successful entrepreneur who is making seriously good coin (trust me).

So all that to say, don’t be afraid to go against the “old” model of blogging, where you produce free content after free content, do everything you can to get traffic, and rely on that display ad income. There are other ways to build an ultra-successful online business that are faster and more in your control!

Personally with my second business,, I have never had any intention of including display ads in my monetization gameplan. I have been able to grow the income for that business much more quickly, because I was focused on high ROI activities (like creating and selling digital products). I originally started that business in the same way - producing free blog content - because that’s what I had been used to doing, but then realized quickly that it was not an effective strategy. Who cares if I got a lot of traffic to that website? The most important thing was to get the right kind of audience onto my email list. So I changed my priorities. I worked on creating an online course, building out an effective email funnel that converted, and then driving leads into that funnel in a bunch of different ways (press, guest spots on podcasts, social media, and paid advertising). And subsequently I hit that 6-figure mark with that business within a year of fixing the strategy!

Bottom line?

Display ads can be effective passive income if you have already built up traffic to your site, but don’t fret if that’s not where you are right now. If you don’t have a ton of traffic at this point, then just put this passive income stream on the back burner. We will grow your business further, faster with other strategies!

What do YOU think? Will you use this stream of income (or do you already)? Let us know in the Facebook Group!