Ep 194: How To Increase Your Blogs RPM & Survive The 3rd Party Cookie Update with Paul Bannister

Not getting enough RPM from your blog? It’s time to spice up your content creation and learn your way of partnering with ad networks so you can increase your site’s RPM.

In this insightful episode, I’m honoured to speak with Paul Bannister who is the Chief Strategy Officer at Ad Thrive. In his role, he leads the programmatic sales and video monetization teams that create compelling media experiences that connect the world’s largest brands with the company’s nearly 4,000 independent publishers.

He serves on the board of the IAB Tech Lab and is actively involved in the W3C and Prebid communities that are driving the future of advertising.

We have discussed valuable topics such as how to become an attractive publisher to advertise on and be a publisher that bigger media buyers and Ad networks WANT to partner with? What that entails, the steps you can take with your content, with your brand, and with your audience? How to increase your RPM once you have partnered with an ad network?

We also dived into third-party cookies (what are they, what do they mean for bloggers, and how do they work)? What happens when those third-party cookies were removed and ended? What does that mean for us website owners and how do we make money? 

Lastly, Paul spilled the beans on the solutions and alternatives for us and ad networks so we don’t go out of business. 

If you want to increase your blog’s RPM, explore the ways in this episode now!


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Episode Highlights

03:37 Is CafeMedia & AdThrive the same?

07:07 Paul’s journey in selling a website in the ‘90s 

09:31 How do bloggers attract Ad networks to partner with them?

11:35 How to get more engagement out of the content that you create?

18:55 What do top sites have in common?

22:19 How does AdThrive increase a site’s RPM?

29:03 Third-Party Cookies: What is it? How does it work? What happens when these are removed?

44:47 Where can you find Paul?

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

➥ To attract advertisers, you should focus on building engaged audiences and having really good quality traffic.

➥ To create more engagement in your content, you should create trusted content that answers people’s questions.

➥ What top site have in common is “resonance”.  It’s about making the user feel like their needs were really met.


About The Guest

Paul Bannister is the Chief Strategy Officer at Ad Thrive. In his role, he leads the programmatic sales and video monetization teams that create compelling media experiences that connect the world’s largest brands with the company’s nearly 4,000 independent publishers.

Before joining AdThrive, he founded Online Gaming Review, one of the first websites dedicated to computer games, authored two books on computer games, and held roles at USWeb/CKS, Ameritrade, and CMP Media.

He serves on the board of the IAB Tech Lab and is actively involved in the W3C and Prebid communities that are driving the future of advertising.


Connect with Paul Bannister


Jaryd Krause (0:00)

Do you know how to improve your content on your website to increase your RPMs and earn more money? And do you have a plan for when the cookie update rolls out third party cookies no longer exist on how and where you're actually going to get your ad revenue from? Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause, host of the buying online businesses podcast and today I'm speaking with Paul Bannister, who is the Chief Strategy Officer at AdThrive. In his role, he leads the programmatic sales and video monetization teams that create compelling media experiences that connect the world's largest brands, with the company's nearly 4000 Independent Publishers.

Now before joining AdThrive, which is also CafeMedia, he founded an online gaming review site which we talk about any sold, which is one of the first websites that was dedicated to computer games. He's also authored two books on computer games and has held roles at US web also avatar, amortized and CMP.Media. Now he serves on the board of the IAB tech lab and is actively involved in W three C and prebid communities that are driving the future of advertising, and why he knows so much about third party cookies and where we're heading with that, which we talked about in the episode I'm going to mention very shortly. But we talked about throughout the episode, the first thing we talk about is how to become an attractive publisher How To have an attractive blog to advertise on and be a publisher that bigger media buyers and ad networks actually want to work with want to partner with, which is important.

Ad You're a partner with these ad networks, and you're a partner with these media buyers, and how do you become an attractive blonde? Well, we also talk about what entails in the steps that you can take to take your content from just regular content to having amazing content that is trustworthy, serves people and allows you to build your brand. So you have a really highly engaged audience, which is what ad networks and media buyers actually want. We'll talk about how to increase your RPM once you have partnered with an ad network. Then we move on to third party cookies. What are third party cookies? How do they evolve? How have they been used over the last 30 years? And what do they mean for bloggers why they've been so critical for us in how we make money from our websites for those last 30 years? And what are some of the solutions to the landscape of owning a blog and trying to earn ad revenue when the third party cookie update rolls out and a third party cookie no longer exists.

So this is such a juicy podcast episode, you guys are absolutely going to love it. Also note that this podcast is not the only way that I can help you for free. If you're looking at buying a site, make sure you get my doodles framework. It's on buyingonlinebusinesses.com/free resources. And there's some other awesome case studies and resources that you can get on that page too. So check that out. Do you want to build or grow your content website niche website builders have helped hundreds of people that take their content websites from a few $100 per month to over 10s of 1000s of dollars per month with crafted content creation buying age domains and link building strategies.

These strategies have helped people increase their Traffic Authority, monthly earnings and their website valuation to head a nichewebsite.builders/BOB forward slash to get 10% of any link building or 10% more from their content creation services. That nichewebsite.builders/BOB/. I'll put a link in the description too.

Paul Hello and welcome to the buying online businesses podcast.

Paul Bannister (3:40)

Jared, great to be here.

Jaryd Krause (3:41)

A lot of people listening will know what AdThrive is not so many people will know what CafeMedia is. And I was confused as well as like hang on, what's your from CafeMedia but also at this AdThrive? Is there a difference between CafeMedia or AdThrive? At all?

Paul Bannister (3:59)

And what's Yeah, it’s a great question comes up a lot. Arthrobacter media are the same company, thriving CafeMedia merged five years ago. So it's been a while now. And at the time. And it's still true, we sort of realized that AdThrive has a very strong brand with publishers and we didn't want to mess around with that. And CafeMedia has a very strong brand with advertisers.

And we didn't want to mess around with that. So while I think at some point, we might want to definitely going to want to like figure out a way to like come under the same name. They are the same company, it's just a matter of generally a little bit who we were talking to. So what if I go to an advertiser meeting at work and media, I go to a publisher meeting were authorized. But otherwise, other than that, there’s no difference.

Jaryd Krause (4:33)

Cool. So it's about basically way to keep the same brand for each of your clients.

Paul Bannister (4:41)

Exactly. And it's just about, you know, we want publishers to know, we make them the most money. And out there I've had has, I think stood well for that sort of, you know, basic message. And we want advertisers to know we bring them the best quality sites and the best, you know, kinds of ads and the best performance of their ad campaigns and those sort of things and those messages are important. And the names are well associated with those messages. So it's keeping that consistency important.

Jaryd Krause (5:06)

Now, I asked you a question before we hit the record button about buying and selling sites. And you did mention that you built a site back in the 90s. And you sold it. I'm so curious, like you said this a long time ago. And I'm like, where? Where did you? How did you sell it? Where did you sell it?

Paul Bannister (5:21)

I've been on the web since like, the very early days like before, like before, like Netscape existed, and like the very, very old web browsers, like even with text web browsers. And so I started a video game website back in 95. We will we were one of the first websites on the internet to run ads. So it was like that, like that ancient of a history and time. So affiliate business model, it's none of these business models.

Jaryd Krause (5:43)

Years ago, but it Yeah.

Paul Bannister (5:45)

You’re dating me, but something like that. So long time ago. And so we started running ads, we started attracting an audience. It was kind of it was Google didn't exist. It was other earlier search engines that were kind of hard to optimize for. We built an audience and you know, became one of the bigger video game websites on the web. And at that point, if you're interesting piece of history, magazines, and newspapers and TV stations, and things like traditional media, weren't on the web, and wanted to get there. So some were building websites, and others were buying websites.

So we happen to be in the right place at the right time and net, the publisher of a print magazine, who needed a website, we said and you know, we had a conversation said, hey, let's be the website for your magazines. And then they're being really interesting thing. But there were no the model of how today people buy and sell websites and the systems and the tools and platforms that exist for that sort of thing. Like didn't exist. It was all just conversations and finding people.

Jaryd Krause (6:44)

Finding people word of mouth, knowing people networking, which is great. I'm all about the networking. I think it's great to be connected by the internet these days. But the networking is I mean, you can network, but that's not exactly the same.

Paul Bannister (6:58)


Jaryd Krause (7:00)

Yeah. Cool. Well, congratulations on settling that that's really cool. Sure, you learn a lot from that experience. What was that process? Like back then? Was it like, alright, we want to look at the site, we want to look at many people to come to the site. Yeah, what was a part of their due diligence really was a site making money.

Paul Bannister (7:16)

the site was making money on a very, like I was doing it with a couple of I was, I found it, a couple of people were helping me I was paying them like an hourly rate, or even a per article, right to write things. We were making some money, but it was in my parent’s basement, and to some level, like, like, I didn't want to, I maybe had greater aspirations. But it was so Rolly, that like, I didn't even know when I was like, wow, I can be a part of a bigger company and do this, like, this sounds great. Like, yeah, selling, that's a relative term, it was more like, and they gave me a job and took my website off my hands on costs and stuff anymore.

So it was more that kind of thing. But it was just, it was still very interesting. And, you know, there wasn't really much due diligence to be done. Because the reason they found me is they knew from their editors and their team, and they were like, this website's really good. And people go there. And this is a really active site. Like we should check this out. So like, they had an internal webinar, and they needed to make a choice. And you know, the risk was low, because they were mainly like, should we employ this guy or not? And, you know, that worked out. Okay.

Jaryd Krause (8:10)

And so I guess that sounded like from where you were at in your life. And that was a kind of the start of your career, like actual career?

Paul Bannister (8:16)

Exactly. 100%. Yeah. And it was the beginning of me being really interested in like, kind of like, where content and advertising meet. Because we were doing, we were creating lots of content. We were writing articles, we were getting stuff out into the world. And audiences were showing up. And we were also making money from ads. And it was long before programmatic ads was long before answer was we had to build an ad server because it didn't exist. And it was you had to build everything yourself. It was a great way to get started. And really what introduced me to the whole idea of how all this stuff works.

Jaryd Krause (8:47)

You're in the business of and this is what like you've had been for a long, long time now mostly, like your whole career is and that's what AdThrive is, as well is getting publishers, not to publishers, media companies, and people who want to advertise for and media buyers in front of an audience and the correct audience. Right. So matching them up, which is, what AdThrive does.

But we also talked before we hit the hit the record buttons about most bloggers are like how do I just make as much money as possible for me, and that's one that's only like, half of the pie one piece of the puzzle, right? It’s not just about the blogger, it's not just about us as a content site owner, there's somebody else that you're in a part basically in a partnership with which is an advertiser. So what are some of the what are some of the things bloggers should be aware of or should be doing to be able to set themselves up to have and be a really awesome partner? I guess, for these for these?

Paul Bannister (9:42)

Very good question. And I think it's exactly what I think a lot of people should be thinking about. I think ultimately, bloggers, publishers, creators of any sort are interested in making money from what they do and what they own. And yeah, that's absolutely that makes sense on the other side of the kind of value exchange is the advertiser who wants to reach, engage, you know, audiences who wants to run ad campaigns that deliver performance, you know simplistically, from their perspective, they want to spend $1 and make $2. And so they want to make sure that where they're spending their money is effectively driving their own ROI and their own performance.

And so I think if you, if you have that mindset, as a publisher, I think it makes it easier to think about what the outcomes are going to be, because I think it helps sharpen your thinking about like, where you should focus on it is about building engaged audiences and having, you know, really good quality traffic. And it's about like engagement or that audience, I think, if you have if it's, if people are disengaged, but they're like, that's okay. It can be okay. But if people come and they really, and they're coming back, and they're spending time and like, that's really how when that user likes your site, that's when an advertiser is not going to like your site the most to.

Jaryd Krause (10:51)

So it's not that it's not about volume, because I'm sure volume is still a thing, but also before volume would come the level of engagement in that niche industry that your audience is in or you are in. So would that would that be correct? Like, I mean, you obviously want to not just be like, hey, you've got like five people coming to your site a day? Abundance, super quality people with money that want to buy the product, we might be advertising on the site, like that's not really that's a hard, harder, one to scale, right? So you want volume.

But more importantly, it would be the combination of audience can engage audience first and then volume as well of that. So what are some of the things people should be thinking about and doing or even within and writing their content to get more engagement? And is it engagement within that email list? And sending people back to the site? Or is it engagement through comments? And how do we generate more? What they call that the buzzword is user generated content? How do we create more of that engagement with our content as a content silo?

Paul Bannister (12:01)

It's a great question. And I think you can look at like the really big media companies as kind of a good parallel, like how to how does like PC magazine or something like big, like tech magazines, and they've got a really big website, or scene out or somebody that's like this digital way. Like what and you know, that's a specific content protocol. But the same rules apply in a lot of different cases. And for them, it's like, create trusted content that people when they get there, they're like, Oh, like this answers my question. This means my need that has to be believable. You want content that is comprehensive, like you want people to not only be like, oh, my question was answered, but actually, it answers for questions. I didn't even know I needed to get to yet.

It could be you know, and I think you know, that's for the informational side of the world, I think you can you want to engage and entertain people, I think you want people to feel like, oh, wow, like, there's personality here. This is not just dry. Content. This is something where like, I like this person I associate with this person, I think for sites where the, you know, you know, if your persona is part of the site, that, you know, you got to use your judgment, but that can be a benefit. Because the people who think like you will be like, oh, wow, like, this is a person I can I can feel connected with. They're believable to me.

Jaryd Krause (13:13)

Oh, yeah, that's cool. That's, that's juicy. So talking about trust, and this is a big thing. A lot of people and understand where everybody's at, they come to make money online space, and they either want to start a site or buy a site and they don't really think about the trust thing. They're not they don't really know to think about the long game because they're like, Hey, I've got my circumstances here, I'm in this I've got to get, you know, I got to do what Jared zone, get out of survival phase and earn some kinds of coin, right? Get out of my job, which I totally get the part of that is not thinking about the long, longer picture of a long playing the long game of like, hey, my content should be people should know who the content is written by, or at least have some level of trust and put some level of authority in that content that is like, wow, that answers might let you set answer my question and resonates with me.

And it's not just the answers my question answers it in a way that's like, yes, like, I'm so empowered, now I can go away and do this task that needs to be done or do these things in my life that needs to be done. And this is probably why I you know, AdThrive don't have accept people on their platform or to use AdThrive. If they've just got content, written by like a lot of content written by people that are not really giving the best answer that English may not may not be the best.

And it's written by you know, some somebody in a undeveloped country, non-English speaking first as a native language, and they got a lot a lot of that content. But that's, I guess that's where the engagement lacks, right? Why pay and why? I'm thinking about how I get to because a lot of people listening here will be like, cool, I've got a site but I want it the goal is to get to AdThrive. But there’s, so many rungs on the ladder that they're not, they're not thinking about so that's just what I'd say. That's just one of Right, what would some of the other rungs be for them to get themselves set up a highly engaged audience?

Paul Bannister (15:05)

I think, you know, one of the, it's not the only indicator, but an extremely strong indicator. And it's so connected to all the things we're saying is like having good traffic from search. Because Google, in particular, has done such a good job at this point of understanding user intent, and then finding the content that matches to that. So I think that while it's almost the same thing as what we're saying, like, if you're doing well, its search, you're probably doing well at engaging the user. And you're probably doing well at creating quality content answering questions, because if you're not doing those things, Google's going to deprioritize you pretty fast.

And so I think like, that's a good while, it's, sort of one of the same, it's a really good indicator of that. I think that's important. I do think also another thing, and again, like it's funny how much these things are all connected right now, I think social does matter can matter also, not that, like, I think, again, if you have an engaged audience, on your site, you're engaging in the comments, I think, I think that's valuable. I think if you have, you know, whatever is right, for your site, whether it's Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, or Tiktok, or whatever platform is best for you, I mean, BP and all of them, but like, find your audience, they aren't engaged with them. And that that makes them want to come back and build more of that trust. And again, it's a good signal to Google. So it's it, I feel like it's a lot of these things are very connected with those fundamental points of like, really good quality content that resonates with users and answers their questions or entertains them in some way.

And I think those are the things and it's like, how do you how do you find those people through search? Or social or your email? Or other places do that? How do you engage those people through social through your email through comments? And how do you just make them feel like you're somebody you in the content that's on your site? Or something that's trustworthy, unbelievable, and they want to come back to it is, it is so much about putting yourself in the users shoes? Like, is this really good for your users? And if the answer is yes, that's a great indicator right there. But if the answer is like, I don't feel like our content of this type is that good, or, you know, this is like, it's an investment to get to that level of like, really kind of, you know, building that level of authority and believability with an audience.

Jaryd Krause (16:15)

When people come to the space, they get bogged down in the SEO of it, and the metrics of it and all that sort of stuff and forget that the foundation, the baseline is in serving through your content. And when you serve through your content, then you're going to have people coming back to the site where you know, and this might be a metric that ad thrive uses. I'm not sure as well, like where you see how many people are coming directly to the site or returning to the site and time on page and all these sorts of things.

Where it's like, those are things like the foundation is the content, and then those things will come don't focus on those things. And how do I get that all leads back to the all those like roads lead back to the baseline of the content? So and that's also the answer for getting the bigger media buyers on your site too, right? Because of the engaged audience.

Paul Bannister (18:01)

Exactly. And so thinking about it from an advertiser perspective, it's like we work with 4000 site fans. So advertisers are typically looking at all 4000 and picking and choosing which ones they like. But people look and people think about things. And if they know I do a lot of things with advertisers, then they're like, Oh, my God, like you work with so and so website, and well, again, like, that's great. I love it. And like, advertisers are real people, too. And they're either going to know sites, or they're going to look at Site sometimes and be like, Oh, this is really good.

Are they going to be like, like, that's not so great? Like, that's not what I want. So I think, again, if you're answering the question for how to you make your users and make your audience feel really good, you're also getting the world doing the same for advertisers, which is how you get the most access to the best buyers and everything else.

Jaryd Krause (18:43)

So it sounds like some of those advertisers like oh, wow, you, you have so and so on your platform for advertisers to say that they know that website, which means that website has some level of a brand, I know that you're not like him. And you would have learned a lot through seeing a lot of different sites now. But what do you see a lot of these biggest sites have in common with their branding and how they may have established that so people can think about the long game as well like cool content.

And then on top of the content once you had the brand like well, the brand comes from, you know, trust and authority, but like what are some of those things that you see those common between those top sites or even just like a lot of the sites on the on the platform?

Paul Bannister (19:25)

Yeah, it's funny I do. I feel like I'm saying the same thing repeatedly. But I do think you come in, because I think it's so important. We even have like a number of small sites that within their super small kind of niche vertical like, they built a brand there and they're like believable there and they are trustworthy there. I was looking for a new dishwasher recently. And like one of our sites happens to have like really excellent reviews on like home appliances, and I was on there all the time. And like, you know, the sites. It's not huge. It's a medium sized site. But within that I'm like, oh the next time I'm buying Apply, it's like, I'm definitely going there.

I think you know, you can do it at almost any scale or size, where it does matter. It's about that resonance. It's about answering questions it's about, it's about making the user feel like their needs were really met. And then into your point like that gets back to like, how much drive traffic do you have and things because now like, I'll just type in the name of the site, because I remember it, because it's really good, the more and sometimes it can be a little hard to achieve like, and I get that like, for every site like that, there's probably 10 others that probably won't, won't get there.

But still, like when users are coming back to it from search or from other channels, if they if they really are kind of hitting those points and serving the audience, I feel like that that gets to how you build a brand is you build a repeatable, believable system that systems are on board, but like experience for your audience. So they're like, I know, when I need x, I go to this website. So I think again, it's all sort of like this, like virtuous cycle that's tied together of like, that starts with the user and like, making them feel really good about what they need and getting it from you.

Jaryd Krause (21:08)

So good Paul, thank you. I really liked the word that you said the experience, people want a repeatable experience, if it was enjoyable, and that I guess, a publisher, a blogger, can create that great experience for a user, like traffic our people, it's not just how much traction to have? Or do you? Like how many people are visiting your site per day, not just how much traffic have you got, like it takes the humaneness out of it. But when we realize that, you know, those are people that are coming to the site, and we make our content, the answer such an enjoyable experience. That's it. That's you've kicked the goal, then I believe, and that's what you're saying as well.

So then it comes to the point that All right, we've got we know how to create a great experience through our answers and our content. We know how to continue to create a bunch of that content, and generate viewers and users and human beings coming to the site. Just traffic. And then and then we go call, we're an AdThrive. Let's get on AdThrive. What's the next step with the RPM? A lot of people like how do I get from like a $20 $30 RPM or more? I mean, 30 goes still good, still decent people might be at 15 $15 rpm. What is I mean, you've I just want to mention just so people know that, you know, through AdThrive. There's an I think it's made with Lula.

Lula who increased their RPM by 350 350%, three and a 51%. So you guys can definitely help people increase their rpms. What? Like, yeah, what timeframe? Was that just for people to get some context? Because people might think, okay, like that was done in like three days’ time or something like that. Maybe not realistic? What time frame was that? What are some of the things that people can do, just like in this case study where we can?

Paul Bannister (23:03)

Meet with Lao, which is a great story. They have a big YouTube channel, and their website was like a little secondary. I don't know him personally, is a one storey apartment.

Jaryd Krause (23:14)

Now, I was just going to say sorry to interject, no wonder they've got a great audience, because they've got the highly engaged in trust through YouTube, which builds great level of trust.

Paul Bannister (23:24)

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So if I remember correctly, their site was running AdSense before us because they hadn't thought about how to monetize their website. So when they moved to us, you know, a combination of way better layout and structure of pages, way more, you know, advanced types of ad units accessible, and then just all the things we do on the back end with our sales team. And with our ad code and other stuff, just optimize, you know, it's on our website, the full case study to your point, but I would imagine within a matter of a couple of weeks, they went, they grew by three and a 50%.

So I think that’s a great, and we get a lot of stories from people coming from networks like AdSense, where there's just a ton of room to grow. So I think those are, those are great stories, I think, for publishers who are already working with us or are already working with, like, you know, a higher tier ad network, there's still a lot of room for growth, you know, as a jumping off point, but definitely when you come to our platform where there's so many things that we can tweak and optimize and you know, some of those things we can do at a macro site wide level for a publisher, or we have a team that spends their time focused on that. But then also, there's a lot of things that as the publisher, you can think about to do I think one of those powerful tools we have is rpm by page. So you can start seeing what am I pages?

And what are my experiences that are driving the highest RPMs and search on unpack like what's happening now? Like what's driving that, like, are users spending more time and that's driving RPM, are they, you know, Scrolling further down the page, and that's striking what it is like, and what it is about, what is it about that content that's working dust, and then what we've had a lot of publishers do over time when we you know, we I believe it's in concert with those who want to lean in here, look at those best turning pages and figure out, what can we learn? And then how can we sort of apply those learnings elsewhere through the content either through more things we can do on the outside, or different kinds of content or different layouts or different approaches that that each publisher can do to really optimize?

And that's what because I think for most publishers that have a decent pool of content, I don't know the number. But I would imagine that like, if you're, if your site wide RPM is $25, you've got a bunch of 40s and 50s, and a bunch of 10s, of twelves. And, you know, the question clearly is, how do I get rid of more than 10s and twelves? And get more of the 40s? And 50s? Yeah, and that's a big focus of how you can really optimize your site.

Jaryd Krause (25:37)

It comes back to what I teach. And what people come to me for help with in one to one coaching is like, how do they work out what's working on the in their business, so they can do more of that and less of the other thing? And I guess, with this one from the outside looking in, it's more about those pieces of content that are getting the 40s and 50s RPM, breaking that down, like you said the layout, but we'll also be alright, the topic is like, you know, I've got a client that's in the dog space that is these types of dogs, this breed of dogs that is and they're actually moving to add Thrive agents in the conversations with it, is it that type of dog, that topic that's bringing in the traffic because people that own that type of dog, they're intense in the love that dog is.

And this is a perception could be more than saves the love for dog for other breed or the type of people that own those types of dogs. And they are willing to spend more money on this type of dog because of that, would they? Would that be a thing that you look at and lack? Or maybe it is the topic? And maybe it's the intent? Or maybe it's how much dollars or that that particular user coming to the site? Has they think?

Paul Bannister (26:53)

Yeah, I think all of that is exactly right. It's definitely on the list. There's also sometimes like strange correlations that are hard to show, sometimes, like, owners of that kind of dog could be more affluent than the average person. And therefore, buyers who are interested in people earning over $100,000 A year or some demographic group are more likely to target that sites. So there are sometimes things that are harder to do. There's also on the on the ad buyer side, there's more and more machine learning going into these buying systems.

Like it's rare for somebody to be like, I'm trying to reach owners of Pomeranians. And therefore I'm going to buy on these sites that have owners of Pomeranians content and whatever that happens all the time when that happens more and more automated these days. But more often than not it is you buy are seeking and lots of signals. And then testing campaigns, testing hundreds 1000s 10s of 1000s of ad campaigns against those and finding what Oh, wow.

If you look at people on this dog site, between the hours of three and five, who come from the Pacific Time Zone in the US who you know, are on the third page view, like they buy luxury SUVs like you wouldn't imagine. And like and then like all the ones you ask to be campaigns will run there and like, like, none of us know, humans can figure that out. The systems will figure that out. And we'll find like, this is a good place for me to advertise.

Jaryd Krause (28:15)

That's exciting to hear. Yeah, cuz I guess for us with so many other things going in and out, Brian, it's hard for us to conceptualize that when there's so many variants when we've got other things going on in our life.

Paul Bannister (28:26)

So that's important. It's like, like, there are some places where it's like really worthwhile to lean in and do more and understand more about your audience. And there's also some times where you have to be like, I don't know what the answer is to this question. And I'm never going to know. And that's how I got to move on to the next thing.

Jaryd Krause (28:39)

Let's not tamper with it and break it. So yeah, let’s not break what's working really? Well. Exactly. Alright, so we've covered so much around how to create a good partnership and be a better or a more attractive partner for media buyers, with our content, trust, serving, serving people, and then increasing RPMs once we get there, some people are freaking out about cookies, third party cookies. And I get this question a lot. You know, what happens when the third party cookie, you know, dies off and it's removed?

And you know, this is this has been delayed now till 2024, which is good and gives us time as publishers and us to work out what's what, you know, what's going on? What are we going to do? So I would just like to ask you this at the most like speak to somebody who is like a content site owner, and like, I want to put ads on my site, and they you know, they don't know what a third party cookie is.

And so what is a third party cookie? How does it work? And then what's going to happen when they removed? And how does that relate to publishing and ads?

Paul Bannister (29:48)

Yep. So cookies in general are technology in your browser that help websites understand who you are a little bit about who you are and keep track of you. So to go back to my very early days of the web before cookies, what a web, you could never log into a website. Because for each page was like independent, the web had no memory, like websites didn't know who you were. So the idea the engineers at that point in time was like, we need some technology that makes it so like, sites can remember who you are as a very simple level.

And the technology that came out of that is called cookies. There are two kinds of cookies that are very high level one is called first party cookies, which none of all these things that are going on the world really affect. But the first party cookie is like when you go to dogs.com. I have no idea what's that we're talking about. But let's just use that as an example. If you log in directly to that site, with code running on that site, like it's a WordPress plug in, or something like that, and it's like literally surfing that domain, that's a cookie that lives inside of that domain. So dogs.com itself is tracking you as a user. And that doesn't work anywhere else, if you go to cats.com. Like, it doesn't know anything about you.

Third party cookies are cookies that are run by companies that are not the owner of not the not the domain itself. So to use us as a pretty good example, if we worked with dogs.com, and cats.com. And android.com code is running on both sides, we can use third party cookies to say Oh, on dogs.com, this is Jared. And also whenever it's Jaryd, per se, but we know your cookie.

And we can see that same cookie, that same third party cookie appear on cats.com we’d be like, Oh, this is the same user. That's really interesting. They want a dog and a cat. But that's an interesting data point. So that's like, simply, conceptually what it is, technologies existed for 30. Close, you know, 94, I think it came out to for a long time now. And from the early days of it happening, people realize there were a lot of privacy issues around that. And more and more privacy is becoming a huge deal, generally in the world, but also because of regulations like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California and Colorado and Vermont and Brazil.

And like more and more, you know, states and countries are implementing different privacy rules, forcing people to start saying like, how do we improve user privacy. And third party cookies are one of like, have a lot of weaknesses when it comes to privacy. Because effectively any company that can run, they can run code on a website can track users all over the place. It's like sort of a scary, like situation. And so all of the browsers have made efforts to clean that up over time. At this point, the only browser left that doesn't turn them off by default is Chrome.

But Chrome is 50 to 60% of browsers out in the world. So it's a big, big, big deal. And I think so simplistic. And then, you know, the key point is that advertising systems have been built over the last 15 years on cookies as the core technology. And so it's like, oh, God.

Jaryd Krause (32:40)

I just Yeah, I just want to expand that. Double click on it, open it up, whatever you want to call it. But just so people get this that the way and correct me if I'm wrong, the way that media buyers, and you know, ad networks, like you guys work out what types of ads to serve to the users is by tracking the user's data. Right? So just people just want people to understand that. Because that’s, big.

Paul Bannister (33:12)

Exactly. And there are other things that technologies like context matters, like if you're on a page about dogs, like surfing dog gets or does make sense, actually. So that that certainly happens also. But yeah, that's exactly why I like cookies. And the tracking of users across sites is a big part of it. And this very simple example, is the type of advertising called retargeting where you go to Zappos, and you put some sneakers in your shopping cart, but you don't buy him.

And then two days later, you're on dogs.com, you see a Zappos ad with the exact thing that you wanted to buy. That's like the most traditional use of it. And there's a million more ways it's used. But that's like the basic case. And that, that uses that is, you know, tracking at its core, and it uses cookies to do that.

Jaryd Krause (33:52)

Cool. Okay, so just the easiest way to for people to conceptualize it is that third party cookies allows almost anybody to any book smart person that knows how to code to track data to be able to read and re advertise or advertise to them. It would, yeah, so now, there's the removal of cookies. And it's been delayed to 2024. What does that mean for people that, say, on your platform, and maybe other ad networks, where they're like, you know, this ad network uses cookies to be able to get us the best RPM because they're serving the correct users with the right ad bomb, that's how we get a higher RPM. You know, what, do we do?

Paul Bannister (34:41)

So, you know, I can only speak for us, per se, all I can speak, maybe for the ecosystem, some level.

What we do know is that lots of companies and Industry, Trade groups and things are building technologies to replace cookies that's happening, and we're very actively engaged in all of that and I can talk more about the details in a minute if you want. So All humans building different technologies. I think also, it will be true that whereas today, nearly everything relies on a single technology, which is cookies, I think in the future, you know, the phrase that a big advertiser we work with said to me that I like a lot of this, she called it like a patchwork quilt, it's going to be a batch of different solutions that have to be built that fill it fill the gap for cookies.

So it's not like, Oh, we're getting rid of cookies and replacing it with cupcakes.Yeah, that's not what's going to be it's going to be we're getting, we're getting rid of cookies and replace them with these 12 things, all together, sort of do the same things, but do it in a way more privacy. So yeah, within that, I think for specific publishers, you want to work with a good ad network or good ad partners that is on top of that, because it is not an it is there's no question that is the single largest change to the entire digital ad industry, ever. And so it's like, while I think that we can come out of this all fine.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who will not come out of this fine, because it's complicated and not, you know, not trivial to get from, from our point A of cookies to point B of this future that we don't fully understand yet.

Jaryd Krause (36:06)

Yes, it's like, we need to recreate what has been working and what everybody's been relying on. For the last 30 years, most people that are making money online has been relying on for the last 30 years, which is no small feat, and it needs to be done within a short period of time. Luckily, in 2020, to 2023, so 2024, we've got a lot of smart people in the space on ad technology. And I was going to say before, when I accidentally cut you off, was that people come to me and like Jared, what's what happens when these third party cookies, you know, roll out that there's they're being removed?

What happens to us as publishers? And my answer was, look, it's going to be like, my, I look at it at a high level, it's going to be crazy to think that all of the ad networks are going to go out of business because they haven't solved it. Like that's, all of you guys’ number one priority, right is like, you want don't want to go out of business. So you need to solve this problem for advertisers. And for you know, publishers so we can freak out about it, but also have some confidence in knowing that you guys are spending all a lot of r&d and research in working out how you can solve this otherwise, you know, you guys go out of business like and then when you guys go out of business, how does you know?

How do you because you guys are the middleman, which is such an important thing, not just for publishers, so hey, we can make money and life's good was our science, but also advertising me like look like we want to put our products in front of people like without you guys going to be really, really struggling, if you guys don't work out an answer how to make money online, other than just come to my site, and hopefully you find it through Google.

Paul Bannister (37:51)

Exactly. Yeah, I know, there is certainly risk there. I think the thing that scares people, but probably something I've seen is that to use an easy example, once when Safari got rid of third party cookies, which was in 2018, CPMs and rpms. For Safari users went down by like 60%. Well, massive decline. And that has not recovered to this day. And so when you think about that, you're like, well, that's scary. I don't want what happened, what happens if that happens, everything and now so what happened there is interesting, and it's different than what's going to happen in future. What happened there is most of the budgets got reallocated to Chrome.

And we have a ton of data from 2018 that shows where when Firefox made the change, and other changes to where you can see the CPMs in Safari dropping, and you can see the CPMs and chrome rising, like literally in lockstep with each other because the money just got reallocated. But the question becomes then when Chrome gets rid of them, where does the money go? And so the question is, are we learned in? Are we all learned in enough to make sure that the money gets reallocated to the web in general to make sure all the great websites with great content get the funding and formats that they deserve?

For to advertise and say, forget this, I'm just going to go by and Facebook on Instagram on TikTok on Google search on platforms that are not affected by this change? Is that where the money is going to go to? And that's like, sort of a scary thing that none of us no one knows the answer to?

Jaryd Krause (39:09)

Well, when my answer has been, and still is, has been in the past, and still is now is that, you know, they have Google ads, or they have AdSense, AdSense so and Google's going to remove So like you said, Chrome's. Eventually, they 50% of the users online using Chrome. If they're going to remove third party cookies, how is AdSense going to be a thing, which is one of Google's primary sources of revenue. I dare say Google's not going to just be like, we're going to roll out no cookies for Chrome, and we're just going to just die off a big portion of our business.

I mean, it could happen, but I dare say I dare say that's why the delay has been pushed out to 2024. So they can go, let's work out how we can solve this tracking problem in a more private way for AdSense. So there's going to be solutions that you guys other ad networks can pull from Google I'm sure. For sure. Yep. It's a scary thing to think about. But how could one like the big one of the biggest companies in the world just change something without having a solution? And when it's a big part of that pie.

Paul Bannister (40:16)

Right, exactly. I think that's probably the most confidence boosting thing, although, you know, does Google, you know, to talk about the solute solutions, there's a batch of different ones. Yeah, one of them is something that Google is building called privacy sandbox, which is, which is a batch of within that there's a batch of different technologies that are that are coming out of that, you know, those were very active working with Google, on that set of technologies.

If you go to their site, privacy sandbox.com, you can see the companies working with them. And we're the only ad network working with them. It’s a bunch of it's a bunch of big other companies. And so like, that's good to be there. But like, does that only solve for ad sets and like the Google part of the world, but not for all the other parts of advertising that exists, which is quite large at this point. So you know, some of those people are thinking about how they work with within that privacy sandbox set of technologies, others are working on their own technologies and hoping those works.

And there's all these different components. So and that's what we become so actively engaged in it, because I agree with you, I think Google will fix Google's problems. But Will Google fix everybody's problems? And that's why I don't think anybody should, you know, rest on our laurels here.

Jaryd Krause (41:26) Yeah, because and this is, what I see is, could be a thing. It's like, sometimes when there's a crisis, and I'm just thinking about wealth building, sometimes when was the crisis, the rich people get richer, and the least affluent people become less affluent.

And this could happen in the ecosystem of like, where people have as a publisher has a small site where they can use and different ad networks to creep their way up to higher RPMs, the more users they have on their site, whereas those users when this when the cookies are removed, those users might have to default down to the you know, just using Google AdSense. And then there's might be a big separation between people using Google AdSense. And people being able to have a site that is at the level that can be accepted by ad networks, such as yourself.

And the only reason you can accept those sciences because you need to pay the bills to be able to access the technology to be able to track people in a private way. So there might be a big separation. And maybe that's could be an advantage to Google because more people are pushed down to AdSense.

Paul Bannister (42:40)

So the other interesting, like, if like one like megatrend in the world right now is privacy, which is driving all these things we're talking about another huge mega trend happening right now is regulation. And Google and others are freaking out about like the government trying to break them apart or being screwed for this or other problems. And they know that there's a lot of eyes on them, and they can't do things that appear anti-competitive. So they're also being extremely if they build something, you know, to something that is not confidential.

Within so the privacy sandbox I was talking about actually has government oversight from the UK Government, it’s part of UK government called the Competition and Markets Authority is sort of like the regulator in charge of watching Google there. And we talked to them pretty regularly at this point, because we're main testers in that process, and try to give them feedback on whatever on that, because they're watching to really make sure like, if Google does something that gives them more and more advantages and hurts their competition, which we're not we don't, we don't really compete with Google, I would say, because in a funny world, like when a user moves from AdSense to us, Google actually makes more money, because we work in Google so much on the back end, too. So like, we don't really compete with them.

But they compete with plenty of other companies. And if they do things that advantage themselves and disadvantage others, those government regulators are going to step in and start saying like, this is a real problem. So they have very large problems that none of us have that they have to deal with and think about. So which is why I'm optimistic that what you're presenting like probably wouldn't happen because there's just there's too many eyes watching.

Jaryd Krause (44:16)

And so for people listening that hate the government, sometimes the government's quite good. I actually, like I just spent I spent a portion of time almost just over a month in Bali note, like almost no regulations coming back home to Australia is like a lot of regulations, but life is a lot easier and less stressful. It can be beneficial. Yeah. Cool. Paul, this has been super enlightening. Thank you so much for coming on. It's been great to chat. Where can we send people to find out more about you and what you're doing?

Paul Bannister (44:49)

So on android.com or blog, we try to keep people updated and a lot of things that are going on, we should just put out a whole batch of new blog posts around a lot of the new like kind of unique things that we’re Doing, which just means that I'm doing things that like a lot of our teams are doing in terms of like, you know, what our sales team is doing to bring on, you know, custom advertisers that are only working on our platform.

What are we have a business development team that works with like major ad tech companies, we're building a lot of exclusive partnerships there with companies that are only working with us what our engineering team is building and some of the things they're doing, as well as, like, I spent a lot of time on, like, a bunch of everything's been on, like industry standards.

So we, myself and a few other people work in like, you know, with the industry trade groups, like as we're as they're building new standards, we're first to adopt them. We're first of all the mounts are, we're kind of ahead of the curve on those things. So a lot of those things. On our blog, I feel like there's a bunch of good new posts that have gone up pretty recently.

Jaryd Krause (45:41)

Guys, check out AdThrive and check out what Paul's doing. I'll put links to some of your socials in the show notes, or what's CafeMedia, but I'll put AdThrive in there as well. Guys, thank you so much for listening. Paul, thanks so much for coming on.

Paul Bannister (45:55)

Thanks, John. It was great. Appreciate it.

Jaryd Krause (45:56)

For those who are listening, please do yourself a favor. If you own a blog, save this podcast episode and read listen to it in a month's time and pick up on the hidden gems that you may have missed out on just like when you read a book for the first time and you pick it up a year later. There's some things you may have missed out. They can hugely benefit you in growing your blog.

Also, if you know somebody that has a blog, please do them a massive favor. It's also as a massive favor because we get to help more people and serve more people Paul and myself and all of us at Bob here. It helps us serve and also helps you to serve your friends as well. So please share this podcast episode with people that have.

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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives. 

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