British Media Advertising: How Top Foreign Media Outlets Monetize Websites?


If you’re among those who follow the news from time to time, then you have a notion of how Russian media earn money from advertising. In this light, studying foreign colleagues’ experiences might be interesting. Hereby, CEO of the RTBSape Programmatic Platform Sergey Samonin examines the monetization of one of the top British news outlets and shares his expert commentary and tips.

The Times Website Analysis

So that we can see all the ads on this resource, we’ll opt for an English proxy server in case the website blocks content or ads for users from other countries. GDPR agreement is the first thing a visitor sees. 

In the West, it’s a pretty big deal, and, before the user enters the resource, they are officially warned about cookies and offered to accept an agreement.

A DoubleClick offer from Google is located at the top of the home page. 

This is an intelligible and effective solution because of its placement: the visitor spots a large ad block at once. Being an AdFox analog, Google DoubleClick is a flexible advertising management system. The majority of foreign media opt for Google DoubleClick. 

This block includes a subscription scroll that obscures the title entry. 

This is an interesting approach: the news outlet, like many others, offers a paid subscription so that users can read exclusive news that makes up a significant part of their monetization. 

Below, there are the news teasers, which look pretty common by Russian media standards. These are not ad blocks but most likely exclusive news available only by subscription. 

A horizontal DoubleClick ad block complements these teasers. This is a reasonable solution since the creative is interesting, clickable, and well visible. 

Note that all teasers are exclusively owned by the news outlet. They don’t use third-party paid recommendations blocks. 

Below, among the news blocks, there is a horizontal advertising block similar to the previous one. This solution allows you to show different creatives to visitors several times while they scroll the page.  

Teasers are spaced with typical ad blocks by a screen. 

In total, there are about five such blocks on the home page. The good thing about this solution is the fact that the blocks are all large and their dimensions are the same. Scrolling through the page, the user will expect to see the ad and will be more positive about it.

From these observations, one may get the impression that the website includes a single advertising format. However, there’s the sponsored block as well. It looks the same as the recommendations block with the website news but it includes ads. This is also related to a DoubleClick format. 

Having studied the home page, one may conclude that all the ads represent large and visible horizontal blocks of a similar type with one exception. It’s a sound decision, although it is strange that they don’t use video advertising anymore; once, Western media outlets posted video ads regularly. 

Now let’s check if the standard news template differs from the one on the home page. There’s a large horizontal block similar to others followed by another ad block:

 

Generally, the advertising profile of the resource is fairly simple. Nevertheless, given the average CPM on foreign websites, one can calculate that advertisers may pay about ten pounds for a regular ad banner. A major respected media outlet is most likely to have a media kit and even if it sells traffic to Google DoubleClick, it sells it at high rates. Website owners avoid video ads for a reason; probably, they are aware that bigger earnings won’t compensate for the risk of audience outflow given poor interaction with the website with too many video ads. 

Let’s study ads in the mobile website layout. The sole ad recommendations block in this case is placed below the news and does not interfere with user experience. 

There’s also a neat banner above the next news headline. 

There’re minimum ads in the mobile website layout.

Expert Commentary

The question is: why do editors avoid video advertising completely? It appears that at least one video format, for example, on news pages, won’t interfere with the user experience. Commonly, there’re many video ads on foreign websites because they provide high indicators and numerous views, so advertisers place them a lot. However, in this case, there’re banner ads on web pages but no videos.

There’s also an option to place additional ad blocks in the mobile layout since there is enough space for them. Given ads are spaced by every five or six news blocks on the website, it’ll provide significant additional monetization. 

There are no sidebars and there’s no space for vertical ad blocks on the website. The website owners decided not to distract visitors from reading and make the most of the space for news and news teasers. This approach is obvious, given that their main income comes from a paid news subscription. 


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