Ad Network Fill Factor: What It is, How to Calculate & How to Improve? If that’s your question, you’ve landed at the right place.

Throughout this piece, I’ll simplify ad network fill rate and by the end of this piece you’ll learn how to fill more of those ad-spaces.

The best part? Almost no investment is needed on your part! A few tweaks and changes and you should be fine.

Let’s get started then? 

What is the ad network fill factor?

To understand ad network fill factor, you’ll first need to understand what ad network fill rate is. 

Ad network fill rate is simply the number of filled (displayed) ads on a website that your ad network fills for you as compared to the total number of requested ads. 100% fill-rate is what everyone wishes for. This of course is idealistic and isn’t generally achieved very often.

The Ad network fill “factor” then are the factors that determine your fill rate. It’s not magic, is it? Some reasons must exist which dictate how many spots get filled or left out for your website. 

Basically, any factor influencing your fill rate is an ad network fill factor. 

Which factors influence ad network fill rate?

Allow me a few minutes to explain which factors exactly influence the fill rate advertising

Audience relevance and ad supply

When any advertiser creates their ad, they set specific age-groups, devices, country and other metrics for their ad. The ads are displayed when these metrics match with your viewers. 

If your website doesn’t have the right viewer base, ads wouldn’t be displayed. Or at least fewer ads will be displayed, only those matching your viewer-base. 

Similarly, the kind of ads an ad network has directly impacts the fill-rate as well. Regardless of your audience-base, it’s actually the ad-supply that defines if there are or aren’t relevant ads for your viewers. 

Placement and size 

Advertisers will of course be picky about their ad placement, as well as size. Everyone wants their ads to be the most visible. The ad’s placement as well as size directly impact the visibility, don’t they? 

Hence, how big, and where you’re placing the ads is actually directly impacting your fill rate as well.

Ad format 

Just like the placement or the size, the format of the ad matters too, doesn’t it? Again, advertisers want the most converting formats. Note that there’s no universally conversion-optimised format. 

You could be using display ads, native ads or anything else. The conversion depends on the ad and the audience type you’ve got. 

How to calculate ad fill rate? 

Ad fill rate is just a “percent” equation if you think about it. It’s how many ads filled vs. requested. 

So, the simple formula for this is-

Total no. of ads displayed / total no. of ads requested X 100.

Even without a formula, I’m guessing you can easily calculate the fill rate if I tell you I have spots for 10 ads but only 5 got filled, can’t you? 

How to improve your fill rate? 

Trust me, I’m not a negative person. We’ve been discussing the problems so far but I’ve got solutions for you as well.

So, here are some ways you can increase your fill rate.

Pick the right ad network 

Your ad networks are primarily responsible for the ads displayed on your website. As discussed earlier, only those ads can be displayed on your website that fit the advertiser’s demand for niche/age/country and other metrics.

Hence, it’s important you pick the right ad network. E.g. going with a network that primarily serves 18+ ads wouldn’t work if your website doesn’t have adult traffic, or vice-versa. 

When picking the ad network, pay attention to the following:

  • Pick networks whose ad inventory matches with your audience. (E.g. sport ads will need a sports website, crypto ads will need Crypto enthusiasts etc.)
  • Choose the right revenue model: Depending on your ad formats and website, decide if you want a CPC /CPM or CPA revenue model. 
  • Traffic type: Some ad networks convert well with just about any audience, while others are better with purchase-intent traffic. Identify your visitors and then go with the network that suits you best. 
  • Header bidding technology: Try to opt for networks that utilise header bidding. It’s a feature that almost guarantees ad fill, or an increase at the least. 

Use ad exchanges 

Ad networks are good, ad exchanges are better, let me explain. So, ad networks are more like retailers. They have an ad-inventory, you can display those ads for a fixed price. 

Ad exchanges are like a real-time auction. Your ad-space can be listed on an exchange and advertisers bid on your ad-space. The highest bidder wins and you get the ad. 

This guarantees not just more money, but also a higher fill-rate, especially if you’ve got a diverse range of audience. This guarantees you’ll get an ad from at least one party even if your audience doesn’t match 99 others. 

Use multiple ad networks 

If you aren’t going for ad exchanges, or even if you are, you can always add more ad networks to your site. 

This does exactly what you think it does, increases your exposure and hence potential to get more ads filled.

Do note that some ad networks have an exclusivity clause. Meaning, they do not allow you to use other ad networks simultaneously. Be sure to confirm your permissions before opting for multiplier networks.

Be flexible with ad size and format 

The mindset behind this is simple. If you’re strict about your ad-size, you’ll only get advertisers who are okay with those exact sizes.

By offering a flexible ad-size, you can get more exposure and attention as many more people may want to be seen on your website. 

Conclusion- Ad Network Fill Factor: What It is, How to Calculate & Improve.

By now, I hope you’ve got a decent idea around an ad network’s fill factors, haven’t you? I hope the tips to increase the fill factor work for you. 

Do note that there’s more you can do to increase the fill factor. However, they may require more technical expertise or investments. Hence, I’ll recommend starting with the tips shared here and with time & experience more solutions will come to you. 


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