Possible to calculate Customer Lifetime Value in regards to display ads?

Sutra

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I want to build an email list and scale it. Which means I need to find a way to make the lifetime value of a subscriber greater than the cost to acquire the subscriber. But how do you do that with display ads?

For some context:
  1. To start off, the main monetization strategy (level 1) will be to send readers back to our website to read articles to make display ad money (Mediavine), and sprinkling in relevant affiliate offers (we're a publisher so selling products, physical or info, seems like it would detract from our main purpose of selling eyeballs to advertisers).
  2. Once the subscriber base is large enough (level 2) we'll add programatic ads (i.e. LiveIntent), sell user data, and possibly sell leads.
  3. As it grows further (level 3) we'll build out a sales team, or buy the talent, and sell newsletter ad inventory direct and offer sponsored newsletters.
In level 1, display ads on our site will be a big part of the monetization. If I can calculate the CLV in regards to display ads (+ affiliate offers) I could figure out how to scale and get to levels 2 and 3 quickly. But here's the issue:

How do I know how much display ad revenue is generated per user who visited the site via newsletter?

In G Analytics I can see who came from the newsletter and how many pages per session, but I can't see exactly how many Mediavine ads they viewed. Thus, I can't tell exactly how much money they generated. Do I just need to eyeball it? E.g. Get the G Analytics data then look at the page RPM for the specific urls within Mediavine, to get a general idea? Or is the some other way that I'm not understanding yet? hah.
 

stackcash

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Got a lot of questions here. So many questions.

  1. In regards to the questions posed in this thread title: Who is the customer in your LTV calculation? The people on the list?
  2. In regards to the questions posed in this thread title: Are you simply trying to find a way to determine the revenue generated from each list member when compared against total display ad revenue?
  3. Is this list tied to the site, or independent from it?
  4. Will subscribers have to pay a subscription fee regularly? Or, is it free to join the list?
  5. How are you getting people to opt-in to the list in the first place?

I think this needs to be worked out a little more, because your Level 1 is tied to a content business, whereas your Level 2 and 3 have "the list" as the business itself.

I understand why you're seeing it this way - but, if the goal is a revenue-generating list that isn't tied to a specific site - there's easier ways to do this.

Mainly...you can set up a FB ads funnel to easily (and inexpensively) promote opt-in's to the list.

As far as monetization, I really don't understand the reluctance to use affiliate. Just because your site is a content business does not mean anything you send to the list has to be tied to the content on the site. Again, I'm not sure why this list needs to be tied to the site when you're viewing the list as a standalone revenue generator. As long as your affiliate offers are relevant to the interests of the people on the list, your list will remain healthy.

Getting into programmatic media buying and selling via a sales team seems like a ton of unnecessary work to me. Just sell sponsored ad slots like any other newsletter. Create a rate card with your email data / prices, and blast that out to your demographic via an outreach campaign. If you have good people on your list, you'll sell out of that inventory quickly.

And, finally, yes - the end game would be selling user data / leads here. That's a wholeeee other world that you'll need to educate yourself about. Shipping real-time exclusive leads will make you very, very rich. You just need to build that infrastructure first.

BUT....I know I just injected a whole bunch of my own opinions that may not resonate with you.

To answer your specific question...you probably won't be able to suss out the data you want from GAnalytics... especially if you haven't set up goals / conversions. You need a marketing attribution platform like WickedReports. But, even then, I wouldn't know how to separate your list traffic from any other traffic when it comes to breaking down display ad revenue.
 

Sutra

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  1. In regards to the questions posed in this thread title: Who is the customer in your LTV calculation? The people on the list?
  2. In regards to the questions posed in this thread title: Are you simply trying to find a way to determine the revenue generated from each list member when compared against total display ad revenue?
  3. Is this list tied to the site, or independent from it?
  4. Will subscribers have to pay a subscription fee regularly? Or, is it free to join the list?
  5. How are you getting people to opt-in to the list in the first place?
@stackcash Lots of questions are good, hah.
  1. The people on the list
  2. No, I want to get the ad revenue generated specifically from the people on the list who visit the site (but you mentioned later in your message you don't think this is possibly)
  3. Tied to it
  4. No subscription fee. It is free to join.
  5. What I was thinking to do was to run ads to get newsletter subs. If I could figure out the LTV from the customers who get put on the list then I could get to a point where it it's profitable to run ads, thus I could scale the list quickly. My initial thought was to do this (if it's possible) and after the optin ads are profitable then I would add optins on the site as well - figured that if I added site optins to start with it would muddle the LTV stats from the subs who opt in via ads. As I write I'm wondering I could actually tag/track users who optin via the website vs via an ad - if so, then I could calculate them separately and could start using both type of optins at the same time.
As far as monetization, I really don't understand the reluctance to use affiliate. Just because your site is a content business does not mean anything you send to the list has to be tied to the content on the site. Again, I'm not sure why this list needs to be tied to the site when you're viewing the list as a standalone revenue generator. As long as your affiliate offers are relevant to the interests of the people on the list, your list will remain healthy.
As I researched this more it does, in fact, look like affiliate offers will play a much bigger part of the monetization than I previously thought.

Getting into programmatic media buying and selling via a sales team seems like a ton of unnecessary work to me. Just sell sponsored ad slots like any other newsletter. Create a rate card with your email data / prices, and blast that out to your demographic via an outreach campaign. If you have good people on your list, you'll sell out of that inventory quickly.
I may have worded things strange, hah. But what I meant was that we would use programmatic ads just by inserting a code (using LiveIntent which is like AdThrive for email), we won't be selling programmatic ad inventory. We will be selling sponsorships and ad inventory directly to the advertisers, i.e. outreach campaigns (as you mentioned), calling them up directly, etc.