Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Other Ways to Make Money Through WidgetBucks

Like Christmas week, here in the US, Thanksgiving week seems to be all about spending money.

Whether it’s the countless dollars spent on Thursday’s feast or the highly anticipated shopping deals Friday morning, the retail sector loves Thanksgiving!

Well here at WidgetBucks, I’ll be honest in that we love it as well because this time of year is outstanding for taking advantage of shopping widgets and optimizing them for maximum earnings. You owe it to yourself to take advantage of the shift in shopping mentality and to improve your earnings this holiday season.

With that in mind let’s go over the best tips for providing some extra cash in your wallet using our shopping widgets.

1. Not all product categories are created equal. Too many publishers I see pick the categories they feel are the higher RPC (revenue per click) or the perfect product match to their users without ever rotating in other product sets. A perfect example is a recent test we did on a large social network geared towards Hispanics. The default product set chosen was "Laptops," however in doing additional testing, 3 other categories performed higher (Digital Camera Accessories, Celebrity Kitchen Wares and Strollers). While I won’t try to determine the reason those performed better, the point is that sometimes the best-performing product set isn’t the most obvious. And in case you’re wondering what the increase was, it was between 5-35% higher eCPM.

2. Placement matters. I see a LOT of sites each day that are understandably a broad range of quality and content. And of course in viewing a few of them, I really think that more ads do not mean more money. A lot depends on how you’re gaining your traffic, but if you’re after repeat traffic, having a page plastered with ads, pop-ups, and interstitial advertising may not be the best strategy. Consider what experience your users are looking for on your site and if the level of ads shown is driving away traffic or an accepted part of your service. Gaming and video/news sites are great examples where most people have no problem with the level of advertising because they really want the content.

Also with that in mind, think about the placement of your ads and the goal of each ad. You want to marry the type of advertising with where it’s going to be most effective. CPC ads by their very form of payout are all about getting that user to click. So why would you bury a CPC widget where the user is not likely to see it? If you are running multiple ads on your site, then it is very easy to spend a couple of days playing with swapping around networks in different places to determine who does best where. Maybe the WidgetBucks hybrid widget does best on the Right rail instead of a Leaderboard because as it switches to shopping products, that’s where the users' eyes are more drawn and possibly see a product that interests them.

3. Geo-targeting is your friend. Understanding where your users are coming from is a big “Aha!” moment in helping to maximize your revenue. I’ll assume everyone is using some kind of analytics solution like Google Analytics (if you’re not…do yourself a favor and get started.) Knowing where your traffic is coming from can help you optimize your advertising to those users. Of course WidgetBucks does a bunch of leg work to geo-target and show appropriate advertising, however the honest truth is we don’t cover every country and our CPMs may not be optimized for the country from where your traffic comes. There are a number of ways that you can do your own geo-targeting that are not too complicated and you can look for advertisers that might service countries that we don’t cover. For a current list of countries we serve please click here.

And lastly to re-emphasize all of the above, the best way during the holiday season is to Test, Test, Test. This time of year, many people are on vacations so historically big internal development projects for sites go quiet, but advertising testing is relatively easy and non-impactful to your users, only providing opportunities for more revenue.

Next post I’ll spend a little more time talking about how you can effectively test and make sure you’re getting the lift you’re seeking and understanding the data.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Gary Kamikawa
VP, Interactive Marketing


mogenius said...

thanks, these are some useful tips, wud be interesting if you ran a general test seeing what type of ad zone like banner, leaderboard, etc. was most effective for generating revenue...

mash said...

tnx for the tips... more powers for WB... :D

Ronald David Lejeune said...

Thanks for the info. I'm just starting out in the blog world and have a few going but not many clicks on my ads and hopefully some of these tactics will work.Thanks again,Ronald