The "Do I Stick in Adverts Now,...

... Who's Going to See them, Am I Going to Allow Opting Out, and Should I Just Remain Advert Free and promote the hell out of it" thread.

(It didn't fit as a title)

Have to admit that this has stirred up a big of (I'll be polite here) discussion my way over this plugin. I haven't passed it down to my clients yet but I did mention that it was something to think about. I gave a bit of advanced warning as the question of policies on who gets what needs to be decided.

Most of the installs that I host are planning on remaining forced - advert free and plan on promoting themselves as such. Mind you, all but the large setup are on shared hosting at $7.95 a month.

I do have a couple who plan on going the wp.com way and, let's be honest about this, hide them from the causal viewer.

One plans on adding them in but being very upfront about it and offering a $5-15 a year opt out upgrade. (Once I figure out how to do that with the premium.) He's also planning a non paying method for those bloggers who request opting out for specific reasons. (ie nonprofit, mature content, child bloggers, a-holes, etc)

My big setup seems to be happy with the 75/25 split on google adsense although she hasn't gotten back to me on this. (I think she's taking a few days off. Must be nice.)

The LJ method of trading adverts for extra features has also come up but I've got to admit that I don't see how this method would work.

One issue that came up right away is the question of backlash. Seems like 95% of the wp.com bloggers don't realize that adverts appear on their blog. We've had a number of heated discussions on the topic over in wp.com land when folks discover adverts without their knowledge. The idea that bloggers who aren't in the know are going to head to greener pastures only to wind up somewhere where it's worse.

I'm suggesting to my clients using the filter of inbound search engine folks only with a max of 3 pages containing adverts and being up front on the issue. That and allowing an optout upgrade as well as the nonpaying method as noted up above. (Actually had a client come up with that. I think it's a good idea actually.)

Opinions?

edit: Just had a thought with reading this. Having blogs marked as mature and therefore not displaying adverts may be a good idea.

    andrea_r

    Well, I think mostly people balk at ads because a) they weren't TOLD and b) there's a heck of a lot of them. Face it, google ads are ugly too.

    I'm thinking if you show them to non-regular users, be upfront (like you said) and give people a way to opt-out or even share revenue, then that's the way to go.

    One of the things I'm looking at is having an ad block and allowing people to opt-out of ads or opt-in to revenue sharing. Or leave 'em if they don't care. For my own in dev site (I know, it's been forEVer) the ads will be graphic and highly targeted to my niche, so it's more likely the viewers will be interested as well.

    Now to find ad partners and figure out how to do that.

    James Farmer

    As Andrew would be able to tell you I've been spending *quite* a lot of time on this both philosophically and technically (oh yes, much testing!) of late.

    And I'd love to be able to spraff on about CTRs etc. but that's against Adsense T&C, so I won't

    Here's how it works though (philosophy after):

    - User don't complain about ads apart from in 0.01% of cases... this is because regular visitors - even if they come from search - don't see ads. It rocks. For 3 million wp blogs that makes 3K complaints (sound about right... or more?).

    - What you are trying to do is to show ads to users who will click on them, they are invariably people looking for something via search - which is why adsense text ads are so good.

    - Well positioned and formatted adsense ads can get you very high CTR and, depending on your topic (credit card blogs anyone?) eCPM figures that would make most adsense publishers green with envy.

    - Context ads (Kontera-esque) also add some nice revenue (wouldn't get carried away about them).

    - If you're showing adsense, yiu can't do so on porn sites, so there's the explanation for the 'mature' tab

    - Does it work? Is it a sustainable model? Hell yes.

    And here's a minor bit of philosophy:

    - If you are being up front (not that you want to advertise it too much) and honest about it then that's important.

    - People need to be able to opt out of ads 'indirectly' - Supporters don't have ads *ever* on the blogs, but we don't actually make a big deal out of that.

    - Here's a bit of a sticky one... actually a lot of the time you're helping searchers out!!! I know, personally, that I often click on relevant adsense ads and frequently find what I'm after... it's very different to the play-it-a-million-times-in-your-face-tv-ad.

    And this one's specifically for you Andrea, selling advertising is hard. h-a-r-d. The companies I've worked for and work with employ teams of people to do that and they can only really do it well because they have established, niche, desirable sites. And they aren't 'blogs' in the traditional sense

    Although I'm happy to be proven wrong, like I have been about adsense, so my record 'aint exactly 100% so far

    I'm also not saying this is entirely cool though, there are definitely some pretty big grey areas, but I reckon they can be mitigated and fixed up when approached in the right way...

    ZappoMan

    James when you say that this is a sustainable model, would you be willing to share details about the eCPMs you're seeing?

    My last gig was at a very large ad network... and so I've seem a lot of ads run across a lot of long tail sites (that's what we like to call blogs and myspace profile pages and the rest of the bottom of the media barrel)... I also know what the eCPM of the limited adWords ads that I've run is...

    The data I've seen is that typical eCPMs are measured in pennies not dollars... and so I'm surprised you feel it is even worth the hassle on most blog platforms.

    Although I guess there's always the Office Space scam.... "take all the half pennies and just stick them in an account and we'll be millionaires eventually"

    James Farmer

    Tum te tum

    https://www.google.com/adsense/localized-terms

    " Confidentiality. You agree not to disclose..... click-through rates or other statistics relating to Property performance in the Program provided to You by Google"

    It's definitely not in cents though, a long way from that, and I think I can say speaking more generally that with testing and targeting you should definitely be able to achieve CTRs of over 3% (which, incidentally isn't saying that I'm getting over or under that).

    So if you can work that properly your eCPM will depend largely on the subject matter of the blogs.

    And I guess, in that case, myspace rates will be pretty low as the topics under discussion 'aint gonna be so great.

    And also, SE visitors are (I believe) far far more likely to click on an ad than a regular visitor.

    I guess the best thing you can do is suck it and see

    drmike

    In case you haven't seen the front page of USAToday this morning, there's an article about advertising on social networks.

    I find the quote about there being hundreds of thousands of social networks within a year compared to only 850 today most interesting.

    So...

    Considering that wpmu stands a good chance of being the platform for many of those sites...

    And we now have this plugin...

    Does that mean advertising on this social networks is James' and Andrew's fault?