All posts tagged Advertising

How To Get Dirt Cheap Clicks On The Second Biggest Social Network In The World

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Yeah yeah, I know Facebook is the new hotness, and I know you think you need to be a pro Facebook advertiser to make some real money from social networking sites. You don’t. There’s a huge opportunity right now to do well if you:

  • Are an affiliate
  • Own a product
  • Have a website/service or just SOMETHING to advertise

I’m talking about one of the opportunities people will talk about in a few years and say things like:

“what the hell was I doing?”

“I wish it was still that easy.”

“I can’t believe you could get clicks that cheap.”

and so on.

With Facebook continuing to not only dominate the social networking space but the INTERNET in general, other popular social networks are starting to BLEED. This presents a HUGE opportunity in paid advertising.

MySpace Ads or “My Ads” has undergone some monumental changes in the last few months. I was spending a lot of my advertising budget on My Ads last year when I was heavy into affiliate marketing and had some amazing results. There are A LOT of things I like about My Ads; I honestly am a bigger fan of the My Ads advertising platform than Facebook’s. My Ads offers more targeting options and advanced features like pixel placement, conversion tracking, and remarketing.  Another reason I’ve always been a huge My Ads fan is that all of their ads are banner based. Banners have always had much higher CTR’s and conversion rates for me than plain text ads in almost every niche/scenario.

Anyway, back to this big opportunity over at My Ads…

Since they are slowing way down in traffic/signups and losing users every day they’ve lowered the costs behind their advertising to encourage more use. You can get suggested bids as low as 1 cent per click on your ads now which is very rare for the rising cost of paid advertising. The more targeting options you try the more likely you are to find a combination that will offer dirt cheap clicks.

I found that by targeting Males 23-45 that are interested in “PC Computer Games” my suggested cost per click is $0.04 – $0.09.

 How To Get Dirt Cheap Clicks On The Second Biggest Social Network In The World

Just to contrast how big of a deal this is – last year the cheapest clicks I had EVER gotten were around 40 cents per click on My Ads. This is one of those amazing opportunities people moan and complain about missing out on all the time like direct linking on AdWords. You might be thinking that the traffic must suck now because people are leaving but that’s not the case at all. There are still over 71 MILLION active users on MySpace for you to market and sell to. I played with different targeting options for awhile and found quite a few different demographics that offer very inexpensive clicks.

Please take advantage of this opportunity – things like this are rare these days in the internet marketing space. I’d love to hear what kind of suggested bids you’re getting and results from your campaigns!

Twitter’s New Advertising Platform: Promoted Tweets

Twitter Logo

If you follow Twitter or online advertising at all you probably know by now that Twitter has officially revealed it’s source of monetization: “promoted tweets.” People have been debating for the last few years how Twitter is ever going to make money, promoted tweets was one of the common ideas.

If you’re unfamiliar with the all new promoted tweets here’s a quick recap:

  • Promoted tweets are essentially ads placed at the top of search results for given keywords or keyphrases
  • There is only a small handful of advertisers being let in at the moment
  • Promoted tweets must receive a certain ratio of clicks/replies and positive feedback to stay up making quality important
  • Promoted tweets are based on a cost-per-thousand pricing model

I’ve had a few days to digest all of the information Twitter has released about it and have started to compile some thoughts on it.

I’m a little upset the platform isn’t self-serve and open everyone, I was really looking forward to mastering Twitter’s advertising platform as soon as it came out. On the other hand, I can fully understand why Twitter is making smaller steps and approaching it this way for a few reasons:

  • Most ad platforms begin this way to both work out bugs and test the waters so the experience isn’t ruined.
  • This is all new to Twitter, they need to keep a close eye on it for awhile. Striking a balance that doesn’t alienate the spoiled ad-free user base is going to be tricky.
  • Big budget advertisers are going to be willing to drop A LOT more cash on this. Most of them have no idea what they’re doing and know they need to “get on this Twitter thing” which will result in them paying ridicously high cpm rates. (can’t say I blame them for taking advantage)

A lot of Twitter users are outraged because they don’t understand how much it takes to run a website like Twitter. They’re used to Twitter being ad free and want it to stay that way – how dare you Twitter? That brings up what I feel will be the main challenge for Twitter; keeping the promoted tweets aligned with the users best interest. If the promoted tweets further the Twitter experience instead of harm it then Twitter will have NO problem killing it with this. TechCrunch posted a sample promoted tweet that made me see how powerful this can really be. Here’s the promoted tweet:

starbucks promoted tweet Twitters New Advertising Platform: Promoted Tweets

I think Twitter can really make this work. This promoted tweet gave me an idea of the possibilities here for these type of ads to give the user MORE value as opposed to taking it away by an onslaught of useless promoted tweets. As you can see, Starbucks is offering a free cup of brewed coffee if you bring in a reuseable tumbler. If I was searching for Starbucks on Twitter and saw this I’d be pretty damn happy as opposed to seeing a random advertisement that isn’t applicable to anything within my interests.

All in all, I must say that I’m glad Twitter decided to do something. They have missed out on literally millions of dollars in revenue taking so long. I hope that this ad platform will eventually become self-serve and open to everyone because I’d really like to try running some promoted tweets and getting a feel of what the Twitter crowd can do for marketers.

Adsense Blindness and 3 Monetization Alternatives

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It shocks me that people still use Adsense as a main form of monetization on their websites. The odds of Adsense creating more revenue than alternative strategies are about as high as the odds of looking cool wearing a fanny pack. Why is that you ask? Two simple words: Adsense blindness. Google acquired the Adsense brand in 2003  and since then the amount of aesthetic change in advertisements look and feel is little to none. Internet users have been given the last 7 years to train their eye to what Adsense advertisements looks like and completely become blind to them.

I ran Adsense on a network of websites I own from 2007- 2009 and the change in the clicks:impressions ratio over the course of that time was consistently worse. I didn’t change anything on the websites or the number of sites I used it on and after switching to alternative methods of monetization my earnings/visitor amount tripled.

My click through rate from January 2007 – January 2008 was 1.23% and from January 2008 – January 2009 it dropped to 0.64%.

So what can you do to make more money on your site? Here’s a few ideas:

1.) CPA Advertisements

Instead of using Adsense advertisements try running some cost per action banners in place of them that are relevant to the content of your site. The problem with Adsense banner/text advertisements is that you have little control over what exactly shows up. By using your own banner advertisements for CPA offers you will most likely make more and choose which to display so you can split test them and find what works best.

2.) In text CPA offers

You can also generate revenue by putting CPA offers in your websites content. This has become increasingly popular in the last year or so because it’s much less obtrusive and makes your site look cleaner overall. One example of how you can do this is by reviewing your hosting on your website. You can do this by putting your affiliate URL into the review post so you get paid for the sign ups if your users like what you write. This also gives the visitors extra value because you’re making money by telling them about a great service you like which benefits both parties if your reviews are honest.

3.) Turn Your Site Into a Membership Site

If your website provides valuable content that you think people might be willing to pay for you can turn it into a membership site. With the technology available today turning a standard website into a membership site couldn’t be easier. Amember Pro is a very common tool used for turning standard websites into membership sites extremely easily.

These are just a few of literally endless possibilities for making more money with your websites. What ideas do you have for monetization outside of the traditional, old, and outdated advertisements used on many sites today?

The Future of Advertising and Social Media/Networking

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The amount of opportunity for businesses (big and small) and marketers alike has never been greater. Social media and social networking are ushering in a new era of advertising that is allowing for a business of any size to pay only for performance with highly trackable analytical data. Not only is the “pay for performance” model an amazing one but new tools and technology are being introduced rapidly to keep increasing profits while minimizing overhead such as geotargetting.

To put this into perspective lets use an example of a dentist office that is hurting in the current economy and wants to start advertising. A Yellow Pages advertisement is one of the “traditional” sources I hear a lot of businesses turning to when they’re looking to extend their reach. This is a huge mistake in general for a few reasons.

1.) Yellow Page advertisements are insanely expensive from a price per viewer perspective.

2.) It is very difficult (if not impossible) to track the efficiency and ROI of the advertisement.

3.) When a prospective client/patient looks up your business in the yellow pages it shows ALL of your competition around you, potentially eliminating you on the spot.

Now, lets talk about advertising on Facebook. With this type of advertising you can pay based on two different aspects: views or clicks. Either route you choose to go will almost ALWAYS be much more cost effective than a Yellow Pages advertisement. I highly recommend starting off with CPC (Cost Per Click) until your ad has a good CTR (Click Through Rate) because you’ll need to do some testing and tweaking to get it as low as possible.

Still not convinced? Let me give you an example scenario to really show you the huge gap in price and effectiveness.

An advertisement in Yellow Pages can vary quite a bit depending on size and city – some costing upwards of $90,000 for a full page. I’m going to use an average approximation of $4,000 for a 1/4 page size advertisement in a city of 20,000 people and 12,000 Yellow Pages subscribers . For $4,000, you get one advertisement on the same page as 3 of your direct competitors.

In a perfect world, every single subscriber will see your advertisement and respond to it. In the real world, you’ll be lucky if half even acknowledges your advertisement. Lets assume you get lucky and half of the subscribers see your advertisement, the cost is then $0.66 per view. Here is the first problem, your advertisement being viewed is the very tip of the sales funnel. In my experience, a 10% viewer -> action rate is excellent so we’ll go with that. That means that out of the 6,000 people that see your advertisement, 600 will call or take  interest. The rate of action -> new patient is even lower.  We’ll say that out of the 600 people that took action, 40 became new patients. That makes the overall cost per lead $100.

The scenario above is what you would most likely experience AT BEST.

Now let’s talk about advertising on Facebook. When you advertise on Facebook you have the option of ONLY paying when someone takes that action step. Even if your advertisement displays to 20,000 people and nobody clicks it you won’t be charged a penny. This already creates a more ideal scenario and will put them deeper into your sales funnel from first contact. There are many other great reasons why Facebook is a better solution for advertising including:

1.) Cost efficiency and extremely low overhead. You only pay for that action step instead of viewers and you don’t have to commit $4,000 up front, you can set a budget as low as $20/day.

2.) The odds of other competition displaying along your advertisement is low.

3.) You can control your demographic. Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to choose a wide variety of factors to show your advertisement to including (but not limited to): Age, Sex, Location, Marital Status, and Interests.

4.) You can track which advertisements are working and which are not decreasing the cost/lead dramatically.

For this type of campaign, my CPC generally hovers around $0.30. Let’s use the same conversion rate for action (clicks) -> new patient of 6%. This means for every 100 people that take interest and click your advertisement it will cost you $30 and you will have an average cost/lead of $5.

Sorry to be long winded, but this is extremely crucial to the future of cost effective advertising. I’ll release some case studies and concrete data/numbers eventually on here instead of using hypothetical ones so keep on the look out!