Review Information Last Updated on: September 9th, 2016
LiveIntent is one of the oldest and largest providers of email monetization solutions. They are essentially the Google AdSense of email, boasting a huge network of advertisers and publishers, which leads to high fill rates. They offer easy integration with the most popular email service providers, including SilverPop and MailChimp. While it is hard to achieve high eCPMs with email monetization, LiveIntent is probably the best option for doing so, provided you meet their minimum 3 million monthly impressions requirement.
LiveIntent Tech Implementation Rating: 4 out of 5.
LiveIntent Publisher Reporting & Admin Control Panel Rating: 4 out of 5.
LiveIntent Payment Rating: 4 out of 5.
LiveIntent Account Help Rating: 4 out of 5.
LiveIntent is one of the first and largest email ad networks. Instead of focusing on the traditional on-site ads (such as 728×90 leaderboards and 300×250 rectangles), LiveIntent offers technology that allows publishers to inject display ads into their emails.
LiveIntent will send you a free sample of their email banner ad integration if you enter some basic information on their website.
The technology behind LiveIntent is relatively easy to implement and manage. LiveIntent uses static HTML tags to serve ads in email, so the integration into your email platform and templates should be pretty standard. Once tags are set up and integrated into your email templates, there should be minimal maintenance required and fill rates can be expected to approach 100%.
You likely won’t need to change your email service provider (ESP) in order to utilize LiveIntent. The company has an alliance of ESPs with whom it works to enable relatively smooth implementation and troubleshooting. This alliance includes many of the big names, such as Silverpop and MailChimp.
LiveIntent can be used in two ways: to serve email ad campaigns sold directly to third parties or to backfill any unsold inventory via an ad network. The ability to serve email campaigns is a nice feature for anyone currently doing this manually–it’s basically like having DFP (or a similar platform) for your email ad ops efforts.
Most users interested in LiveIntent, however, are likely in search of advertisers via the network.
In some respects, LiveIntent is a great ad network. You can expect to see very high fill rates from high quality advertisers. You’ll also have some degree of control over you ad placements and be able to dictate what types of ads appear there.
On the downside, though LiveIntent can offer very high fill rates, the pool of advertisers isn’t nearly as deep as some networks out there (such as Google). And the ads shown won’t always be closely related to your content (if you’re a niche publisher covering a specific subject matter). Rather, you’re likely to see some pretty generic ad campaigns for major brands.
Because the ads are hosted within emails, LiveIntent won’t have the same ability to conduct contextual analysis and serve up the ads that are most relevant to your content and have the highest probability of success. We expect this targeting and optimization ability to improve over time; this is still a relatively new technology and component of the online advertising industry.
For the reasons listed above, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Google acquire LiveIntent in the future as a way to expand into in-email display ads. LiveIntent offers publishers an opportunity to monetize a medium on which most are currently not focusing any attention. So the revenue generated will be cost-free and incremental–two words that any publisher should absolutely love.
However, your expectations should be realistic if you’re planning to use the LiveIntent network to fill your inventory. Click rates on banner ads within emails are pretty low, as are the CPCs (this isn’t a knock on LiveIntent; all ad networks feature relatively low CPCs for most niches). So if you’re expecting a huge eCPM from including banner ads in emails, you might be disappointed.
Revenue from email banner ads will, in most cases, be only a very small fraction of display ad revenue from on-site banner ads. In their case study highlighting the huge opportunity, LiveIntent holds up a 0.28% CTR. Assuming advertisers are paying no more than $1 per click through network buys, the economics of this perhaps come into focus a bit. eCPMs for opened email are likely in the low single digits (i.e., $2 to $4), meaning that every 1,000 emails sent will likely yield you less than a buck in incremental revenue.
If you have a significant reach and subscriber engagement (i.e., a lot of email addresses and high open rates), that incremental revenue can be significant. But for smaller publishers, it will likely be a pretty modest revenue stream. Of course, the details of each site’s experience can vary quite a bit.
If you’re looking for additional revenue streams, LiveIntent is a great way to monetize emails sent to your subscribers. The set-up is relatively straightforward; it’s possible to be up and running with only a few hours of implementation and research. And once you’re up, you’ll have very little maintenance and can expect a fill rate at or near 100% for your ads. But the revenue opportunity per email subscriber is relatively small, so you shouldn’t expect to receive a massive bump in top line revenue as soon as you go live.
Basically, LiveIntent is the best option out there for monetizing emails via display advertising. But don’t expect it to be a major new revenue stream; instead, it will be an incremental addition to your on-site efforts.