I am looking to monetize my start-up website by adding advertisements to it.
After doing some research it seems I should look at Pay per Click (PPC) rather than Cost per Thousand (CPM) or some combination of them both. However- I have no idea about this space. Do I just sign up with Ad Sense? Do they give the best pricing?
How do start-ups learn more about online ad networks? Are there any current preferred books or blogs to read? Are Ad companies willing to form partnerships w/start ups prior to launch?
What is the most efficient way for start-ups to learn about online advertising?
Since you are building a startup, I assume you don't have much traffic to your site. I think you should focus on generating value/content for your site first before you think about the monetizing part. To start, you should use adsense for simplicity.
Like what the rest have said, you probably need millions of impressions to start seeing substantial earnings in your bank.
Now, to know more about adnetworks out there, the answer is that there are thousands of adnetworks out there. If your site is huge enough, you don't even need to contact them, the networks will contact you first! You can see some of them from here under vendor list. Most huge publishers work on CPM.
One thing you must know though is that once you build up a huge traffic site you will have 2 different class of inventory, one is called premium (pre-ordered) inventory and the other is called remnant (excess) inventory. You should get your sales team to focus on selling premium inventory since it can range from anywhere above $8CPM (rough gauge) while remnant inventory usually fetch between $0.10 - $2 CPM depending on your inventory.
How advertisers price your inventory depends on the quality and exclusively of it. If you want to fetch higher CPM you need genuine visitors which can convert for the advertisers. This is why I asked you to focus on your content in the first place.
As for working as an affiliate, you can forget about it. I'm an affiliate marketer and I know certain sites don't convert for affiliate leads/products. Remember, your job as a publisher is to focus on generating great content and getting the best CPM rates. Affiliate is a different game. It is for marketers who have the options to buy traffic from thousands of traffic source. If you simply add an affiliate banner on your site's spot you probably will get the worst CPM you ever had.
To start learning, go AdExchanger.com
I put together an advertising program for a company website a number of years ago. In a nutshell, a few of my takeaways:
You might look at AdSense and an affiliate program to start and look at their guidelines and information. They will likely have much to help you learn more.
Best of luck!
Adsense doesn't offer the best prices, but they have a large inventory which would help delivering the right ad to the right people. The better the targeting, the better the performance.
Most startups run different ad networks on different pages to see which one yields the highest return, just be careful that there is no over lap or this doesn't violate your terms of service.
Unfortunately there's no universal answer to find out which ad network works the best for you, but trying different networks, keeping detailed analytics and trying to optimize ads with a click through rate (CTR) of less then 1% is key.
Also remember not to make the mistake most startups make out the bat, which is they make too many changes too quickly without sufficient data to make these changes. There's a reason most VCs won't jump in until after the first year of operations. Good luck!
Monetizing your website or blog is a little bit tricky especially if it's brand new. For now, your focus should be on your web development. No sponsors are willing to have partnership with you if they don't see any good reason to do so, unless you are a well known celebrity.
Applying for Google Adsense is no joke. Your project will undergo assessment with real Google Adsense representative. He or she will look into your website, count how many pages or articles, check your domain name age, your location and many others before approval. Depending on which country you are based at, they have certain policy like: for people in India, China, and any other South Asian countries, they must have at least 6 months old website. The rest, must have at least 7 full length articles (at least 500 words each, I think). After that, they will give you partial approval if you pass the first assessment. They will give you access to advertisement links and banners for 1 week trial run. After that, they will decide if you will be given full approval or be disapproved. If you already have Adsense account, then, lucky you!
Deciding pay per click or pay per impression depends on your site, too. You cannot decide right away. PPC is preferred by most. However, if you get low click impression after trials, you might wanna consider PPM for a test. Then choose the one with highest revenue.
Aside from PPC and PPM, consider also affiliate strategy. What's good about this is that you can apply right away without undergoing difficult assessments. You earn from the affiliate company with the goods you lead to customers. One good example is the ClickBank. You can check www.johnchow.com for affiliate marketing. For advertisement, Google Adsense for PPC, BuySellAds for PPM, ClickBank for Affiliate. There are lots of these networks, just do a good research.
My only advice to you is to focus on your web project first. Create a good content that is compelling to advertisers and also web citizen. Money will come next.