Heading to New York in the morning for various meetings and to sync up with the mothership office. Should be a good time and it’s always good to be around the New York coworkers to get more energy and news. Blogging will be light.
Category Archives: Right Media
Interesting news on the ad optimization front as Fox Interactive acquired ad optimization company Strategic Data Corp. I admittedly don’t know much about Strategic Data Corp. but I aim to find out more. From all the articles it appears that they plan on building in their optimization technologies to help monetize Fox’s massive amount of advertising across their network of sites including MySpace.
One thing I should note though, in the Techcrunch article Marshall Kirkpatrick writes:
Just to clarify, Yahoo! didn’t “take control” of Right Media, they purchased a non-controlling minority stake of 20%. It’s important to note the difference as Yahoo! behaves as a client of the exchange and has no control or special rights in the buying and selling of advertising on the Right Media Exchange.
I always enjoy posts from bloggers where they mention the top tools or resources they use to master whatever it is they are an expert in. Along those lines, I thought it’d be a good dea to pass along the list of the top ad tools I use and know of to help web publishers and bloggers make more money.
The basic assumption for these tools to be useful to you is that you run a blog or website that uses advertising to make money whether that advertising is sold directly by you, through an ad network, or you use a contextual solution like Google Adsense or YPN. Some of them are very direct in how they help make more money, and some of them are helpful tools that provide information to help you make more money from your advertising. For the most part they are free tools with a couple of exceptions.
Self-described as a visualization tool to improve, test, and track your site, CrazyEgg is best used for publishers to generate “heatmaps” of where people are clicking on their site. This data can be used to make better decisions on where to place ads to get more clicks and response from users. CrazyEgg allows you to set up tests so you can effectively test the difference between two different ad sizes in the same spot, two different color palettes, or totally changing an ad’s location.
It’s easy to setup, it just requires signing up for an account and placing some code in your page footer. You then create a test and start tracking clicks. The free version allows you to track up to 5,000 visits and track 4 different pages at once. There are paid plans if you want to do more in-depth tests.
If you’re working with ad networks, you should be working with RMX Direct. RMX Direct is a free ad network manager that helps you sell your inventory easily and for maximum revenue. It allows you to work with networks directly that are part of the Right Media Exchange, as well as auction your own ad networks like Google Adsense, YPN, Valueclick, Tribal Fusion, or anyone else.
Auctioning your inventory is the best way to maximize your revenue, and RMX Direct has other cool features that make managing ad networks a much better process. Check out a previous post about using it manage contextual ad networks.
If you run a blog or a website with RSS, you need to be running your RSS feed(s) through Feedburner. There are numerous benefits alone in the streamlining, analyzing, and optimizing of RSS feeds by using Feedburner, but if you have enough subscribers it’s an ad revenue stream as well. If I wasn’t consolidating and tracking my RSS subscribers through my Feedburner feed, I probably would have never bothered advertising within my feed. Feedburner makes it extremely easy to advertise in your feed once you hit 500 subscribers, so I’m now just making additional revenue without additional work. Bravo.
If you’re using Google Adsense, you should be using AdsBlackList. It’s a site that compiles user submissions of sites that are “Made For Adsense” sites and low cost per click advertisers. When you sign up for an account, it has you enter your site and some keywords about it. It then returns a list of “Made for Adsense” and low cost per click advertisers you can then ban from showing ads on your site. Besides probably helping increase the quality of ads, you’re also hurting the distribution of a lot of junk in Google’s system. I have not run specific tests on if the overall revenue per click goes up after banning their suggested lists, but other publishers have reported good results.
Yes, it has performance issues. Yes, there is a lag time before you get your data. Yes, it’s Google. However, Google Analytics is still the most complete free web analytics tool out there. For this article, the benefit of Google Analytics as it relates to ad revenue is that you need to analyze your traffic and find out what type of content is interesting to them, what keywords are they using to find you, what referring sites are there, and what geography your users from.
Armed with that data you can now make decisions. Can you identify an underserved area of your site that users are interested in? Interested users means more page views which equals more money! Do you have a lot of visitors from a foreign country? Perhaps it’d be good to sign up with an ad network based in that country and geotarget it to those users with a tool like RMX Direct? You can’t make smart decisions without data, and Google Analytics provides it for free.
For those of you who are still signing up users for email newsletters, Amigo operates much like an ad network except it’s a tool for email advertising. Sign up with Amigo and they’ll match ads and stick ads into your email newsletters earning you additional revenue. If you don’t have an email newsletter, maybe it’s time to start one?
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
I know this tool is meant for Adwords advertisers, but it can be a great way for publishers to find out what search phrases are paying a lot per click if they’re using Adsense or YPN. Click on the “Site-related Keywords” tab, and enter in the URL of a site in the topic you’d like to research. Check the “Include other pages on my site linked from this URL” box, then select “Cost and Ad Position Estimates”, and enter something large like $50.00. You’ll get a result that shows keywords along with an estimate of the CPC they require to get to the estimated ad position.
This is a rough way to find out what topics and terms are generating high revenue per click to focus your content. You can also get estimates of search volume and search volume trends if you’re curious as to how the keywords in the topic stack up there.
Yahoo/Overture Keyword Tool
The famous Yahoo/Overture tool returns keywords that contain the keyword you enter, along with the number of searches on Yahoo Search from the previous month. Many question the accuracy of this data as some strange terms sometimes have really high search counts, but regardless it can be a good estimate of search volume and provides a way to brainstorm additional topics to cover to get more traffic and ad revenue. It also provides a good counterbalance if you’re using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. If a keyword looks interesting to you in both tools, chances are it’s an interesting keyword in reality.
A newer and very cool data/ranking service is out called Quantcast. Quantcast “quantifies” publisher sites and provides an Alexa-like traffic estimate and ranking, but takes it a step further and provides demographic estimates of your audience such as age, gender, household income, ethnicity, and education.
It doesn’t stop there either, and shows interesting things like “Siteographics” which shows what entertainment the audience likes, what retail stores they shop at, and what magazines they check out. It also shows what keywords they used and what other sites are similar in audience. Here is the Quantcast data for YouTube.com.
Why is this cool? Well, once you start selling advertising on your site directly to advertisers, they are often interested in demographic data. The beauty of Quantcast is that they’ll get the data for you and you can point advertisers to this objective third party that has the data. If your site is big enough, they probably already have you listed. If not, you “Quantify” your site by placing a bit of code in the footer of your site template and it will start grabbing the data.
If you don’t trust Quantcast or want your own specific data, you can use SurveyMonkey to create surveys you can show to your audience via popup windows or direct link. It’s a free service, and is pretty easy to use to setup surveys and distribute them.
Just like the benefits of Quantcast, this is great data to provide to advertisers about your audience, and SurveyMonkey results make a great addition to your online media kit or page that pitches advertising on your site.
While not specifically a tool, I felt it necessary to point out some of the top discussion forums where there are web publishers talking about advertising and how to make more money. In no particular order here are ones that I’ve found value in on a consistent basis:
If you have additional tools to suggest, please list them below in the comments. If they make sense, I’ll add them to the list.
It’s always nice to see my employer get some coverage and praise. After a few years of working under the radar people are starting to notice Right Media and that we’re doing very interesting things. We were named as one of eight “Tech Companies To Watch in 2007″ by BusinessWeek. See our profile here, and the $225 million funding number they list is very wrong. The total of the two rounds of funding the company has received are $57 million total.
There are a lot of promising initiatives going on right now, and I’m in full agreement that 2007 could be a big year. Go team.
We’ve got our first case study video created for RMX Direct. The lucky case study is Steve Jenkins from CheatCodes.com. Steve was very gracious to allow us to interview him and provide some helpful insights into how he’s used RMX Direct to improve the amount of ad revenue he earns from his site.
It’s both exciting and a relief. However, it’s just the beginning as the job is far from done to continue to make it better as well as educating and supporting all the web publishers who are using it.
I’ll keep track of the blog posts and articles written about it during today’s launch here:
- Right Media Launches RMX Direct – DMNews
- RMX Direct Ad Exchange Launches – IMediaConnection
- Maximize Your Ad Inventory Earnings with RMX Direct – Web Publishing Blog
- RMX Direct Out of Beta – 360TechBlog
- RMX Direct Out of Beta – Digg
- RMX Direct launches, lets publishers optimize inventory – Yardley.ca
- RMX Direct Gets Best Ad Revenue For Small Publishers – AdRants
- RightMedia Launches RMX Direct for Publishers – Cost Per News
- Right Media Spurs Network Sparring Over Small Site Inventory – ClickZ
- RMX Direct to Make Publishers $$$ – MikeMcNeeley.com
- Right Media Launches RMX Direct – OffTheIsland
- It’s All About the Launch – The Green V
- RMX Direct Open To Public – Learning Horses
- RMX Direct Launches – WebMetricsGuru
- Official Press Release – Right Media
Read/Write Web has a nice post detailing Yahoo’s cheap acquisition strategy over the past couple of years. The implication is that although Yahoo was hammered by the media and investing community for not spending billions on YouTube and Facebook, they actually may have a good strategy in investing in cheap acquisitions that turn out to be big and very important down the road.
Additionally, it’s nice that Read/Write Web was positive about Yahoo’s investment in my employer Right Media for our ability to monetize display advertising now and what innovations we may bring in the future.
Our featured publisher interviews for RMX Direct always inspire me and excite me about web publishing, so I like to pass them along here on this blog as well:
Who doesn’t listen to music? Besides the ubiquitous MP3 players we see dangling from people, a substantial amount of individuals get their audio fix from online radio stations: many choices and styles of music, and just a click a way. Richard White is the CEO of one of them, BigRradio.com. He is our new Featured Publisher.
VP: How did you get interested in web publishing originally? What were those early days like for you?
Richard White: Web publishing started with me in 2001. My first site I built was The Edge FM. The most challenging thing back then was coming up with ways to make our site self-supporting. The only source of revenue back then for ‘Internet Radio’ was Banner Ads. Placement of the ads (in the fold) was crucial. One bad day could mean serious financial issues.
VP: Can you tell us about your internet radio-focused website? Having this focus, are there any particular issues exclusive to your site that you had to overcome to make the advertising model work?
Richard White: When we created Big R Radio in 2003 there were huge obstacles to overcome. Numerous issues arise when you have several internet radio stations streaming from one site; millions of people hitting your site all at one time, data bases frying, servers dying, and bandwidth usage out of control. Placing our banner ads properly and adjusting and readjusting until we figured out what works the best for us was and is well worth time spent. (Even though I complain about it ).
Banner advertising is the consistent revenue maker for Big R Radio and our other sites. It’s dependable and they pay well. With other forms of advertising coming into the internet radio world as of last year, audio ads and banner ads are very complimentary with each other. And technology allows us to synchronize the two at the same time.
VP: Why did you start using RMX Direct as your ad network management system of choice?
Richard White: I was referred to RMX from a business partner of mine 6 months ago; we were looking for a more efficient way to manage all the different banner ad companies we were working with. Managing multiple sites, with multiple advertisers is quite the task.
VP: What statistical changes have you seen since you started using it? For example, have your eCPM and revenue increased?
Richard White: Since we started with RMX we have seen a consistent eCPM and of course our revenue has increased. The best thing about RMX is working with the many different advertising companies all in one site. It’s great. The other thing I think is great is the support from RMX. I haven’t used the forums much–that being said, I have browsed the forums and notice RMX replies quickly with professional answers. This is impressive and useful. Of course seeing all the banner ad companies compete for my impressions is something I have wanted to see for a long time!
VP: Do you have any final thoughts, tips or tricks that you think others using the exchange might find useful?
Richard White: I would suggest working with your RMX representative to fully utilize and learn the RMX system. It can be overwhelming at first, and you need to get it dialed in before seeing any dramatic results.
VP: Thanks for being part of RMX Direct, Richard!
Since we’re about transparency and being open with advertising, why not do the same with internal company memos? Our CEO Michael Walrath sent a “year end wrap-up/looking ahead email for employees” that we ended up putting on the Right Media blog.
Michael makes a comparison to how the search advertising market of today was projected way too lower a few years back due to projections not foreseeing the improvements made by Google and Yahoo in monetization of that search inventory. He says the same situation could be occurring with the glut of display ad inventory that’s being created with user generated content, and that projections today might not be including the improvements in monetization that companies like Right Media are working on.
Definitely worth a read.
His description of how the application works is pretty accurate, although I would add that it not only allows publishers to get ads from the networks that are part of our exchange, but it also allows you to auction and manage networks like YPN, Adsense, Valueclick, Feedburner, and others.
I also agree with Matt that Feedburner is doing very interesting things, and their commitment to publishers is outstanding.
RMX Direct is still early in its life, and we’re hoping to continually talk to people like Matt to explore the possibilities on ways publishers can interact with and benefit from the Right Media Exchange.
If you are a web publisher with an interest in advertising, I’d love to talk to you.