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Author: Alise Zaiceva 7 minute read
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179% eCPM Growth over Google AdSense | Case Study

How did Setupad increase eCPM by 179% compared to Google AdSense?

About founder, Brian Williams, coached high school basketball for two decades before transitioning into school administration. Despite this shift, his passion for basketball remained. Brian saw an opportunity to merge his love for coaching and website development. And that’s how the idea of The Coaching Toolbox appeared. 

His goal was twofold. Firstly, he aimed to establish a comprehensive resource hub, avoiding personal opinions on coaching. The focus was on providing coaches with a variety of resources tailored to their team’s needs, including plays, drills, articles for motivation, and leadership materials.

Secondly, in 2008, he introduced a daily email service delivering high-level coaching resources to coaches’ inboxes. This eliminated the need for coaches to search actively, making the resources more accessible and convenient.

Drawing from his collection of over 20 years’ worth of “thought for the day” quotes used during practices, he integrated a different quote into each daily email’s conclusion. These quotes could inspire coaches personally or be shared with players for motivation.

In 2013, Brian launched to share these quotes beyond the coaching realm, contributing to his personal growth while reaching a wider audience. In 2016, he partnered with a company organizing in-person coaching clinics across various sports, leading to the creation of and All these platforms are currently monetized by Setupad and aim to generate Brian’s retirement income.

Collectively, sites offer over 5,000 resource pages for sports coaches and athletes, with alone boasting 200 pages and ongoing growth.

The Challenge: Work out optimal ad setup and provide a better return on the inventory compared to Google AdSense can be characterized as a traditional long-form lifestyle blogger website. It features long-form content, blueprints, eBooks, and other forms of lead magnets to build a community of engaged readers. 

Consistent quality content creation is what keeps audiences engaged and provides advertisers with excellent value. 

The Coaching Toolbox even has an online store where readers can buy eBooks, popular online courses, DVDs, and other educational materials for a deep-dive on basketball coaching. 

Apart from revenue maximization, Setupad first needed to work out the ideal ad setup. The client already had a few ad placements reserved for direct deals from advertisers who market to coaches. 

Because the blog pages on the Coaching Toolbox are quite long, the ad density was set at 8 (8 banners per page). Since 5 of those banners are 300×250, we placed them next to each other in particular placements so they take the same amount of space as one 728×90-sized banner. Additionally, we introduced anchor ads and sticky ads across all pages, creatively increasing the ad density in a user-friendly fashion. 

This approach illustrates that there are ways to creatively increase ad density without making the ad layout cluttered.

“Before I partnered with Setupad, I ran Google AdSense featured content at the bottom of the page. My Setupad representative, Martins [Mārtiņš Veisbārdis, Senior Account Executive at Setupad], helped me with a replacement for those ads that I really like. After a few days of correspondence with him and asking several questions, I decided that it was worth experimenting to see if I could do better. The two most important things to me were testing to see if I could earn more revenue and having an account representative who could assist me in finding ways to increase my ad revenue. Both have worked out very well for me.”–Brian Williams, founder.

The Solution: Continuous ad inventory value improvement and superb customer support  

As mentioned before, our task at Setupad is always to optimize the client’s ad revenue. However, this is never the only goal. Because our clients’ success is also our success, we take overall website experience very seriously. This is where our Account Executives’ and Ad Operations Managers’ expertise and industry knowledge comes in. 

With The Coaching Toolbox, our team has helped to improve user experience, website speed and gave various recommendations for SEO strategy. Because the client eventually trusted us with his whole website portfolio, we were running experiments on smaller websites to apply our insights to websites that were already generating most of the revenue.

“Even though I started in 2013, I didn’t put in any work to drive traffic until 2022. He [Mārtiņš Veisbārdis, Senior Account Executive at Setupad] has helped me all along the way as I am working to grow it into a larger piece of my business. And, he is continually making me aware of new ideas, tools, and opportunities for revenue growth on each of my sites. I appreciate the fact that if I do not have any questions for a while, he will email me to check in to see how things are going with the sites.”–Brian Williams, founder.

We also helped the client with plugin implementation (Setupad WordPress plugin for easy ad insertion and optimization and another third-party plugin). 

Our smart ads.txt management tool helped to always keep ads.txt file in check across all client’s websites.  

“Martins, along with Amanda Pipare [Ad Operations Manager at Setupad], have helped with every issue that I have brought to them. I know that several of the questions I have had, have been very basic and they have always been patient, thorough, and detailed in answering my questions.–Brian Williams, founder.

The client is also running Setupad CMP, which is both Google-certified and IAB-approved, to collect user consent in a simple and transparent fashion.

The Result: 179% eCPM increase over Google AdSense in two years

The client gladly provided us with reports from his previous monetization platform (Google AdSense). 

Because the client has been with us for more than a year now, we were able to compare the eCPM growth not just with AdSense but also with our network in 2022 and 2023. For more precise comparisons, we looked at the month of July across 2021 (AdSense), 2022 (Setupad) and 2023 (Setupad). The data was taken from the AdSense and Setupad reporting systems. 

The graph above illustrates that the initial eCPM increase in July 2022 over Google AdSense in July 2021 was 55.22%. However, eCPM in July 2023 was already outperforming AdSense eCPM by 178.97%.

This can be attributed to two things: buyer algorithms and the major drop the industry experienced in 2022 when Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. When the client had just started working with us, his inventory was still new for demand partners. However, over the year, with major viewability* and user engagement improvements, his inventory became much more valuable for buyers, therefore they are willing to pay higher prices. 

*In 2023, the viewability was increased by 44% compared to 2021. 

Our technology was able to achieve incremental revenue growth for the client, but it wouldn’t be as successful if it wasn’t for Setupad’s collective work with the client to continuously optimize his portfolio of websites, growing traffic, and improving user experience and engagement. And this case study proves exactly that. 

“I have worked with three other ad network services. My experience with Setupad has been far and away the best. At the time that I was working with the others, I thought they were good. My experience with Setupad has been on another level!”–Brian Williams, founder.

Join Setupad today and receive a service tailored to your needs that is guaranteed to increase your ad revenue! 

About Alise Zaiceva
Alise is a content marketing manager at Setupad. She’s passionate about content and helping publishers scale their businesses through powerful digital marketing strategies. In her free time, she expands her knowledge of tech.

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