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How to Monetize E-commerce Websites with Ads

By Ana Kealy

December 14, 2023

Table of Contents

In their Retail trends for 2023, Deloitte has highlighted a crucial priority for retailers: maximizing the value of customer data to generate incremental advertising revenue. There is no doubt that e-commerce is continuing its ascending trend, meaning that more and more people visit e-commerce websites daily. The data that e-commerce websites gather from all of these visitors, whether they make a purchase or not, is a highly valuable asset that can be monetized by displaying relevant ads. In this article, we look at how to monetize e-commerce websites with ads and leverage every single website visit.

Opportunities for Suppliers and Other Advertisers

By providing the opportunity for suppliers and other advertisers to place ads on their digital properties, retailers not only open avenues for increased revenues but also foster stronger relationships with their suppliers. 

This collaborative approach transforms the retailer-supplier dynamic into a mutually beneficial partnership. Suppliers gain heightened visibility and exposure through strategically placed advertisements, leading to increased sales and brand recognition. 

As e-commerce websites attract a vast and diverse audience actively engaged in the purchasing journey, they provide advertisers with a prime opportunity to connect with potential customers at critical touchpoints. The targeted nature of e-commerce advertising enables advertisers to tailor their messages based on user behavior, preferences, and demographics, ensuring relevance and resonance. 

Unlocking the First-Party Data Goldmine

As already mentioned, the power of e-commerce websites lies not just in the transactions but in the wealth of first-party data that retailers can gather from their website visitors and customers. First-party data includes information directly collected from users, providing a valuable resource for personalized marketing strategies and, ultimately, boosting advertising revenue. The most important aspect then, becomes the segmentation of the various audience groups by using first-party data. 

  1. Understanding Your Visitors: E-commerce website owners can hold valuable information such as the demographic details, preferences, and browsing behavior of their visitors. By analyzing this data, businesses gain insights into their audience's interests, allowing them to segment their audience and target them with precision. 
  1. Tapping into Purchase Data: Every transaction on an e-commerce platform is a treasure trove of information. By scrutinizing purchase histories, businesses can discern trends, identify popular categories and products, and predict future consumer behavior. This knowledge becomes instrumental as it allows retailers to display ads that resonate with the audience's buying patterns.
  1. Reclaiming Abandoned Carts: One often overlooked aspect of first-party data is the information gathered from users who abandon their shopping carts. With the right analytics tools, e-commerce websites can uncover reasons behind cart abandonment and formulate targeted strategies to win back these potential customers. Sending personalized email reminders or displaying relevant ads the next time these users visit the site can rekindle their interest and convert abandoned carts into completed transactions.
  1. Crafting Effective Retargeting Campaigns: Armed with comprehensive first-party data, e-commerce businesses can implement retargeting campaigns. Tailoring ads based on past purchases, preferences, and behavior ensures that the content resonates with the audience, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Whether through email outreach or strategically placed ads on the website, retargeting becomes a powerful tool for maximizing advertising revenue.

Monetization strategies for E-commerce websites

Having established the power of first-party data available to e-commerce website owners, we will now look at two of the most popular strategies for efficient monetization. The strategy chosen should align with the overall goals of the business and with the audience’s expectations.  

Monetizing with Sponsored Listings

At the forefront of e-commerce website monetization strategies are sponsored listings. This strategy offers an additional revenue stream to retailers, increased sales for suppliers, and a personalized advertising and retail experience for shoppers.

Sponsored listings, labeled as "sponsored" or "Ad," stand out at the top of product/service lists on websites or applications, representing paid placements. These ads allow businesses to pay for increased visibility and exposure, creating an enriched consumer advertising experience. Despite blending seamlessly with organic listings, they often include dynamic elements such as product images and prices, strategically placed to maximize visibility and drive consumer engagement.

Sponsored search ads, akin to search engine results, respond to consumer search intent, appearing prominently among search results. Sponsored brand ads, resembling display banner ads, offer brand visibility above search results, showcasing multiple products for comprehensive representation. These placements, particularly favored by big retailers and diverse marketplaces, generate revenue while ensuring a non-intrusive and effective shopping experience.

Sponsored Listings Ads example

Screenshot from Tesco.ie

Main Benefits of Sponsored Listings:

  • Sponsored listings offer contextual relevance by aligning with consumer browsing intent, strategically placed for maximum visibility. 
  • Precision targeting through keyword and first-party data ensures ads reach the right audience, enhancing conversion rates. 
  • With comprehensive information and non-disruptive placement, these listings contribute to a superior shopping experience.
  • They also provide brands with a competitive edge, allowing for flexible adaptation to changing market conditions.

Monetizing with Email Ads

The second strategy is the monetization of email through strategically placed ads. Email remains a direct and powerful channel for customer engagement. By integrating ads seamlessly into email content, retailers can create an additional revenue stream while delivering personalized advertising experiences to their audience.

Email ads embedded within newsletters or promotional emails represent a sophisticated approach to monetizing customer communication. These ads can range from email clicks to sponsored content, strategically positioned to align with the user's interests and purchasing history. As consumers increasingly rely on emails for updates and offers, incorporating ads into this channel ensures that advertisers can directly reach their target audience in a non-disruptive manner.

Similar to sponsored content, the success of email ads lies in their strategic placement within the customer's journey. Whether it's a personalized product recommendation or an exclusive offer, email ads can enhance customer interaction, driving clicks and conversions. The types of email ads can vary from dynamic product showcases to exclusive deals, allowing advertisers to tailor their content for maximum impact.

Main Benefits of Email Ads:

  • Enhancing the customer experience. 
  • They contribute to a seamless and enjoyable email interaction for the consumer.
  • Advertisers gain a direct channel to showcase their products or services.
  • They drive brand visibility and potentially increase sales.

How to monetize E-commerce websites with Ads

After deciding on a strategy, the next step is to decide on the advertising technology required and its implementation. Navigating the complexities of an in-house advertising solution demands substantial investments in technology, time, and resources. Developing proprietary solutions can quickly become a costly and time-consuming endeavor, potentially distracting from the core functionalities of the business.

A hosted white-label ad server like EXADS, can provide e-commerce sites and apps with a seamless avenue to monetize their potential, eliminating the need for the development and maintenance of an in-house advertising technology infrastructure.

The Easy Route to Ad Monetization

By leveraging a white-label solution, e-commerce website owners will unlock the advantages of robust and advanced advertising technology without having to build it from the ground up. Here's the breakdown:

  • Complete Ownership, Minimal Fuss: Opting for a white-label ad server ensures e-commerce websites retain absolute ownership of their platform and data. This autonomy is crucial, preserving the platform's unique identity and safeguarding the user experience.
  • Expert Support and Maintenance: Unlike internal solutions, hosted ad servers bring a dedicated team of experts to the table. This team manages the technological aspects and commits to maintaining the platform at industry standards. This translates to continuous updates, maintenance, and enhancements without taxing the platform's internal teams.
  • Seamless Integration: White-label ad servers can easily integrate with the existing infrastructure of e-commerce websites. This integration is pivotal for a cohesive user experience, allowing ads to blend seamlessly into the platform, sustaining user engagement while generating revenue.
  • Scalability and Adaptability: Engineered to scale with the platform's growth, these solutions ensure consistent and reliable performance, whether the user base expands rapidly or gradually. Additionally, their flexibility accommodates various ad formats and strategies tailored to the platform's distinct audience.
  • Data-Driven Monetization: Ad servers like EXADS empower businesses with data-driven insights. Robust analytics and reporting tools offer a deep understanding of user behavior, ad performance, and revenue generation. This valuable data informs strategic decisions, optimizing the advertising experience for both users and advertisers.

Essential Features for Monetizing E-commerce Websites with Ads

For e-commerce platforms, having the right set of tools is pivotal in defining the success of their advertising efforts. Let's explore the indispensable features and functionalities that they should prioritize:

  • Streamlined Management and Monitoring: A robust ad serving platform should empower e-commerce websites to efficiently manage and monitor all their activities from a centralized dashboard. EXADS for example, understands the diverse needs of e-commerce publishers, providing an all-in-one ad server that simplifies control over their advertising business. This includes enabling features for advertisers, creating ad zones, and accessing accurate reporting with real-time insights, facilitating quick adaptations to market demands.
  • User-Friendly Self-Service Capabilities: Self-service capabilities streamline sales processes for e-commerce platforms, allowing them to open up to a broader range of advertisers. An intuitive interface and easy access simplify onboarding, enabling advertisers to quickly create and activate campaigns. This enhances user-friendliness and positively impacts sales, fostering lasting relationships with advertisers.
  • Leveraging 1st-Party Data: An effective ad server must empower e-commerce websites to leverage their valuable first-party data. This capability allows for accurate audience segmentation and targeting based on various criteria. With EXADS, publishers can utilize numerous targeting options, including interests, demographics, and spending habits. Personalizing ad experiences through advanced targeting options increases user engagement and conversions.
  • Diverse and Customizable Ad Formats: A versatile ad server should offer a broad range of industry-standard ad formats. EXADS clients have reported success with formats such as Email Clicks and various others suitable for the e-commerce industry. Customizable ad formats are crucial for creating a seamless user experience, allowing ads to align with the overall look and feel of sites and apps, thereby enhancing user satisfaction and encouraging engagement.
  • Frequency Capping for Balanced Visibility: Balancing visibility and user experience is crucial, making features like frequency capping a necessity. This tool enables publishers to set restrictions on how often a specific ad is displayed to a user within a specific timeframe. By preventing users from being overwhelmed with repetitive ads, platforms safeguard against ad fatigue, contributing to increased user retention and engagement.
  • Cross-Site Retargeting and Conversion Goals: E-commerce businesses, particularly those managing multiple websites, benefit from setting conversion goals for cross-site retargeting. This capability allows companies to create effective conversion funnels across their properties, maximizing user engagement and promoting cross-selling initiatives. By smartly reaching out to users based on their preferences and interactions, conversion goals enhance the overall user journey and increase the probability of conversions.

Launching a Monetization Solution with EXADS

Moving from regular e-commerce websites to dynamic media platforms is a big change for retailers. They have to decide whether to build their own retail media platform or use a ready-made solution from an ad tech company like EXADS.

Creating an in-house retail media platform is a complex and time-consuming task. It involves understanding new ideas, managing budgets, and allocating resources for a long-term project. This includes dealing with issues like flexibility, scalability, how things work day-to-day, and how they get paid. On the other hand, teaming up with an ad tech company like EXADS makes launching a retail media platform easier. Our ready-made solution, which can be customized quickly, reduces the time it takes to get started. Retailers can focus on changing their operations and bringing in advertisers while EXADS takes care of the technology side.

EXADS' Retail Media Platform gives retailers a strong base to make money from their customer data. In just a few weeks, retailers can have their platform with their brand on it, managing their ads and relationships with advertisers. EXADS provides a complete solution, including easy-to-use technology for sales, access to different ad types like sponsored listings, display, video, and email ads, and real-time performance tracking. This all-in-one solution lets retailers start making money from ads with the support of a reliable ad tech partner.

Ready to get started? Contact our team today! 

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Ana Kealy