Just Heather

Live Blogging Session #4

Shawn Smith, Netstuffers & IndyMojo

Making Money Formula
Blog + Engaged Users = Money

Growth of Media: Advertising is contracting, but it is still in power
Internet advertising is out there and you can be a part of it!

How Online Advertising Works

Types of Advertising
Most Common: Banner ads

  • Mostly unobtrusive—no worse or better than ads in newspapers
  • Easy to install or maintain
  • Easy to track—you know exactly how many times someone has clicked on an ad
  • Can be built into the layout of your site so it isn’t bothering people
  • Dynamic or Static
  • Widely available
  • Regulated a bit by IAB
  • Con—can be turned off by a user’s browser

Other kinds of online ads:

  • Text links
  • Sponsored Sections
  • Interstitials—breaks into the page a user is heading towards and presents a full page ad
  • Peel Aways
  • Backgrounds—MySpace takeovers are a good example
  • Sponsored Articles—product reviews, etc. (Transparency is key; people should know it is paid content.)
  • Vertical Markets—allowing a company to sponsor a particular section of your website; created pages on your site that are run by a company as opposed to actual website content
  • Pop-Ups—everyone now knows pop-ups are evil

Ad Networks
Gorilla Nation, Quigo, AdBrite, Yahoo, Vibrant, Google, Value Click
You serve their ads—ad networks are middle men:
+Easy to Setup
+Automatic (Kinda)—when you setup a position on your website and they serve the ads to you.
+Lots of Choices
+Great Start

-If users don’t interact, you don’t earn
-take a lot of effort
-low value

As Terminology/Models
CPC – cost per click:
+Based on click through average, so sites with little traffic can still earn
+Most networks still use CPC model
-Earnings are spotty and depend heavily on placement and content
-Awful for discussion forums or comment boards
-Advertisers love them—feel like their getting something out of it
-Needs effort to earn a lot of money

CPM – cost per thousand impressions
+Good for sites with lots of traffic
+Low risk, little effort
+Good for brand awareness
-Little guarantee of success for advertisers (works best for companies that are interested in branding)
-hard to find networks that use it

CPA – cost per action
+very high payout for little response
+advertisers see the ROI for this as very high and are often open to negotiations
-viewed as annoying by some users
-lose banner space in the hopes that someone follows through

eCPM – average

How to Make Money
Do it yourself—you can do much better than ad networks (use them to fill space when you haven’t sold advertising)
To Attract National, you’ll need many uniques
To attract local, you have to have a local niche
To attract both, know your audience.

Key Selling Stats and Terms
Location of your viewers
Unique visitors
Pageviews per user (how many pages are your visitors seeing when they come?)
Time on Site
ROI—can you guarantee a good return on investment because your users are engaged?

Track your users for yourself
Ask information via optional profile questions when people register
Items of interest: age, job status, relationship status, education level, race, favorite brands, sex
Gives you marketability with potential advertisers
Opens the door to targeted ads

Additional Selling Points
User Loyalty
User level of engagement
Consistent Exposure
Tracking clicks and hits

If something isn’t performing well, be honest with your advertisers. Come up with ideas that may help.

Know Your Potential Client
National vs. Local—start with local ads until your traffic is high enough to dive into the national realm
Relevancy to your content
Timely or brand building—is it an event promotion or just brand awareness?
Big pockets or little pockets? Be aware of the budget for the clients you approach

Be prepared to hear “Prove It”—share stats, provide Google Analytic screen shots, offer a free trial

Due Diligence
You’ll have to put in the time and effort, but you’ll see a return.