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Monetizing Membership and Subscription Sites with Ads

By Ana Kealy

November 9, 2023

Table of Contents

Monetizing membership and subscription sites with ads can provide a substantial revenue stream for these businesses. Take for example communities or forum sites, educational sites, fintech platforms, dating, gambling, or any other vertical or niche. These sites already have a vast amount of data on their users, spanning from demographic profiles to interests and behaviors. By monetizing their data, membership and subscription sites can easily deliver personalized advertising experiences to their users. This major advantage makes them the perfect channel for brands that want to target specific audiences.

In-house solution vs. third-party ad server

Venturing into the digital advertising world can be challenging, especially when you are just starting, have little experience in the field, or have limited resources to allocate to such a big project. You would need to create a strategic approach by which you integrate the advertising model into your already established models, define the teams dedicated to this project, and define your operational processes, goals, and targets. 

One of the most important decisions that you need to make is what advertising technology solution you are going to use and whether this will be an in-house solution that you can develop yourself, or if you will partner with a third-party ad server.  

An in-house solution requires specialized resources and technological know-how. This comes as a high cost if you factor in the developers you will need but also the revenue you would miss out on while creating this solution from scratch. It would also lengthen your time to launch. 

With a third-party ad server, you would save money, focus resources on your ad sales or operational processes, and have an ad tech solution ready for launch in weeks. Moreover, with a third-party ad server, you don’t need to worry about maintenance or updates as these are taken care of. Ad servers like EXADS offer ready-to-go infrastructure that can be customized to your requirements. 

So what do you need to look for in an ad server to ensure that you have everything you need for a successful monetization of your membership or subscription-based digital properties? Let’s dive into it!

Must-have capabilities for ad monetization

There are a multitude of ad servers available in the market so assessing the capabilities of each of them can be quite difficult. Below we give you the main criteria that you need to take into consideration before making a decision.


Your choice of ad server must offer the option to white-label your new platform. To attract advertisers to your advertising platform, you need to strengthen your brand across the board. This means that your advertising platform must have your branding elements incorporated into its interface. This includes your logo or a sub-logo, your brand colors, and other brand codes that are associated with your business. 

Then, you need a unique domain that is recognizable and that would help to present a cohesive overall brand. All the elements that are part of the platform must reinforce your ownership and create a safe and trustworthy ecosystem for your advertiser clients. 


To facilitate and streamline sales, you need self-service technology. This functionality allows your advertiser clients or brands to create and manage their accounts independently, freeing your sales team to quickly shift focus to new opportunities. 

The self-service technology enables advertisers to create and manage their campaigns, apply the settings that they need from those available to them, and monitor the performance of each campaign and creative as they go live on your sites. 


A robust ad server must provide you with customization options that answer the needs of your business. As the platform owner you should have the ability to customize your ad platform by selecting the features or integrations that you require, creating the roles and permissions that suit your teams and clients, and also having the option of customizing existing functionalities.

Some ad servers, like EXADS, provide access to their APIs, which takes customization to a different level. With APIs for Statistics, Ad Placement, Admin Panel, Automation, and EXADS technical support, your business can create the ideal ad platform. 


Membership and subscription sites must be able to leverage the first-party data that they have. For this, you need an ad server that allows you to segment your users and allows advertisers to target these different segments. First-party data is a crucial requirement for the successful monetization of your sites. With proper user consent, this first-party data can be leveraged for precise custom targeting.

With EXADS, you have the flexibility to incorporate various custom targeting options tailored to your subscribers and members. For instance, you can target users based on their interests, demographics, subscription history, or any other specific criteria. These customizable options encompass:

  • Predefined List: This option supports a single-level list of predefined attributes relevant to your membership audience.
  • Predefined Range: Specify a range of values to target members within specific numerical limits.
  • String: Target users based on specific sequences of characters, allowing for personalized messaging and engagement.
  • Integers: Precision targeting using whole numbers, including zero, positive natural numbers, or negative integers with a minus sign.
  • Range: Define a range of values to target members falling within specific numerical intervals, ensuring tailored content delivery.

Example of a predefined range:

Custom Targeting


Monitoring the performance of advertising campaigns is paramount for both membership and subscriber websites and their advertisers who are seeking a high return on their investment. As the owner of the ad platform, understanding which campaigns resonate best with your audience is essential.

With EXADS’ robust analytics tools, for example, you can effortlessly access vital information, that provides you with insights not only for your platform but also for your advertisers:

  • Comprehensive Analysis: Dive deep into the performance data using over 28 dimensions, more than 50 metrics, and over 28 filters, allowing for a thorough evaluation of campaign effectiveness and audience engagement.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Tailor your analytics experience with customizable dashboards, where you can create up to 50 personalized layouts. Arrange widgets, resize them, and display the most relevant information, empowering you to organize data according to your specific requirements.
  • Saved Filter Sets: Streamline your reporting process by utilizing saved filter sets. Access reports based on previously saved filter configurations, eliminating the need to recreate the same report every time you require it. This time-saving feature ensures efficient analysis and reporting, enhancing the overall management of advertising campaigns on your membership and subscriber websites.

Automatic Optimizations

Maximizing the appeal of your membership and subscription websites to advertisers is essential, especially when you want to attract high-quality advertisers who seek to optimize their return on investment (ROI). One effective strategy for drawing in advertisers lies in offering them seamless automatic optimizations for their campaigns.

With EXADS, you can empower your advertisers with the Bidder feature, allowing intelligent adjustments of bids based on received conversions and blocking ineffective ad zones. The flexibility of Bidder enables advertisers to implement multiple rules, fine-tuning the automation according to their specific requirements.

Moreover, take it a step further by providing automatic optimizations for Ad Variations and Landing Pages. By selecting suitable traffic distribution algorithms from a range of options, this feature ensures that the best-performing landing pages and ad variations receive the highest traffic. This not only significantly improves the user experience for your audience but also guarantees a better outcome for your advertisers, enhancing their ROI and overall satisfaction.

By offering these advanced automatic optimization features, you create a win-win situation where advertisers benefit from increased ROI, and your audience enjoys a more tailored and engaging experience.

RTB Programmatic Support

Partnering with a third-party ad server opens up a world of opportunities for membership and subscription websites. One of these key opportunities should be the ability to seamlessly expand advertising efforts to programmatic

By integrating with programmatic advertising through Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), or Ad Exchanges, you can significantly enhance your advertising business. This connectivity enables you to tap into a vast network of advertisers, unlocking more collaborations and revenue streams. 

By leveraging sophisticated algorithms and real-time data analysis such as the ones provided by EXADS, you can deliver more relevant and engaging advertisements to your audience. The seamless integration with the DSPs of your choice allows you to strike a balance between monetization and user experience, creating a harmonious environment for both advertisers and site visitors.


In conclusion, membership and subscription websites stand out as prime digital properties for advertisers, offering a unique combination of engaged audiences and valuable first-party data. They provide advertisers and brands with an exceptional opportunity to precisely target their audience, ensuring that their messages resonate with the right people at the right time. What makes them even more attractive is their ability to cater to niche or specialized audiences that are often hard to find elsewhere. For a thriving advertising business within these digital spaces, having a reliable ad tech solution is paramount.

A dependable third-party ad server, such as EXADS, can make all the difference in monetizing membership or subscription sites with ads! By leveraging EXADS' advanced technology, you as the owner of such a website, can streamline your advertising operations, dedicating your time and resources to acquiring advertisers that align seamlessly with your audience and brand identity. EXADS not only simplifies the process but also accelerates the launch of your advertising business, turning weeks into a timeframe for transformation. By reaching out to the EXADS team, you can unlock the full potential of your advertising endeavors. Contact EXADS today, and embark on a journey to elevate your advertising business to new heights!

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