Today is DPAC 4. I am liveblogging using the hash tag #dpac4.
I've set up CoverItLive to pick up any tweets with that hashtag.
Note: My horoscope for today reads Today, while working in a team environment, you'll need to work a little bit harder to come up with new ideas. It seems that groupthink has taken over, and no one is able to think innovatively
I'll try to be extra snarky today.
Today, I received the latest eMarketer Daily which had an article, Ad Pricing Down Across the Board. It made me think of a blog post that the Blogster wrote last week, Adgitize: One Step Forward / Two Steps Back. The Blogster was talking about the recent sharp increase in the cost of ads at Adgitize and pondered whether or not to continue advertising there. He presented several different scenarios about what the change could mean for advertising revenue and traffic.
While the world of large corporate advertising that eMarketer tracks seems galaxies apart from the petty in fights of small blog advertising, I believe that systems like Adgitize, EntreCard and CMF Forums provide an interesting test bed to explore the innovations in advertising.
In terms of Adgitize, Corneyman weighed in with his own hypothesized scenarios. I haven’t really thought that closely about the scenarios other than to say that I expect that I will probably continue to make money off of Adgitize advertisements.
So, I thought I would take a look at the traffic numbers on my site. Comparing the first two weeks of September with the first two weeks of October, I found that my traffic from EntreCard advertisements was down 16%. That is pretty close to the 15% paid advertisements and wasn’t too surprising. However, my traffic from Adgitize was down 8% and my traffic from BlogExplosion was down 12%.
What was even more surprising was that people visiting my site from the category browser on EntreCard was up 43%. Perhaps people are browsing more now that advertising is less effective on EntreCard. Traffic from people returning drops from their Inbox stayed about the same. It seems like EntreCard is moving from being an advertising platform to be more of a traffic exchange. While traffic exchanges might be useful for small blogs, they are generally frowned upon as bringing much lower quality traffic and inflating traffic numbers.
Another thing to note is that Ken Brown from Adgitize stopped by and added his comments on the blog post. All of the comments were friendly and Ken’s comments provided a stark contrast the discussions around EntreCard’s strategies.
His analysis concurred with Corneyman’s as well as with my own thinking about the price increase. However, I’m not sure that price inelasticity is completely figured in and that the original post danced around this idea without explicitly naming it. Will the price increase drive away so many people that the total revenues decrease? We will have to wait and see. Yet, anyway you look at it, if you are a regular blogger advertising on Adgitize continues to be a way of getting traffic and earning money at the same time, and at least for me, with active advertising on both Adgitize and EntreCard, I’m getting 60% more traffic from Adgitize than I do from EntreCard.
On December 1st and 2nd, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold Public Workshops and Roundtables: From Town Crier to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?. I am thinking of attending and wearing my shirt which says, “I get my news on Twitter”. This shirt always seems to give old newspaper editors palpitations and the recent news coming out of Puerto Rico, which I got primarily via Twitter reinforces my views.
The workshops and conferences are going to ask questions like “How is the Internet changing advertising expenditures? What further changes are forecast?” It is popular to blame at least part of the decline in advertising revenue for newspapers on sites like Craigslist. Craigslist is siphoning off the classified advertisements. But what about the business advertisers? I didn’t have any clear information on this, but a discussion I was part of last night changed some of my thinking.
I attended a “Tweet Crawl”. This is an event where people who communicate with one another via Twitter get together to talk face to face. In the old days, these sorts of meetings were dominated by geeks like myself talking APIs and interfaces. Last night, the meeting seemed dominated by business people and marketing executives. It took place at Lisa Davenport’s Home Gallery. Ms. Davenport supplied the food and drinks for the attendees and by agreeing to be the host of the event had over fifty influentials pack her space. It is too early to tell how much sales and buzz this will generate for her, but it is fair to guess that it will generate a lot more bang for the buck than the spreads she had been buying in local papers.
In one conversation, Ms. Davenport commented about the lack of effectiveness she had seen from print advertising. Kara Parlin commented about similar experiences she’s seen with her husband’s company, Sonny Parlin Photography print advertising campaigns. Ms. Davenport related a story of the one time that the newspaper had driven traffic to her store. She took questions from readers for a series on interior design and gave recommendations in return. Her phone rang off the hook, but the newspaper pulled the series claiming that it was giving her unfair advantage over other interior designers. It seemed like the one opportunity that the newspaper had to make advertizing effective they abandoned.
The discussion drifted to how Ms. Davenport might be able to use social marketing in collaboration with a realtor that was attending the gathering to boost sales for both parties. Standing in the background, Suzi Craig of Fathom who helped organize the event smilingly nodded her head in agreement with the discussion and made herself available to anyone else that wanted to know more about social marketing.
As I headed home, I thought about the shirt I had been wearing. If the shirt “I get my news on Twitter” causes palpitations for old newspaper editors, a new shirt may send them into cardiac arrest: “I get my brand views on Twitter”.
Yet newspapers don’t need to be left out of the equation. A good newspaper is always part of a local social community and if they started incorporating social marketing into the advertising packages they sell, they could increase revenues and provide a greater service to local businesses. Will local papers find a way of doing this? Perhaps we can talk about this in Washington.
(Originally published at DigiDayDaily.)
There is an old saying that time is God’s way of making sure that everything doesn’t happen at once. However, as the spouse of a person who has worked as a scheduler for politicians, I can tell you that it doesn’t always work that well, especially as we approach an election. It is with this in mind that I write my latest update of upcoming events. This time, I’ll probably just sort them chronologically, especially since there are so many conflicts
Wednesday is International Walk To School Day. I received a media advisory that Mayor DeStefano, Superintendent Mayo and others will kick off this day at the Yale Bowl with students from Edgewood school who will then walk to Edgewood school. I am trying to organize a walk with my daughter to her school, perhaps with some of her classmates.
At 7 in the evening, there will be a Meet the [potential] Gubernatorial Candidates Evening sponsored by the Shoreline League of Democratic Women. It will take place at the Old Saybrook Democratic Headquarters on 105 Elm Street. Secretary of State Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Malloy, State Senator Lebeau and former speaker of the house Amann are expected to attend. It is not sure if Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, who has just set up an exploratory committee will also attend.
Also at 7 in the evening there will be a Mayoral Debate in New Britain at Tercyak Lecture Hall in the high school. I would love to go up and show my support for Tim O’Brian, but I doubt I will make it.
In addition, the New Haven Democracy for America group will be meeting at Wall Street Pizza at 90 Wall Street in New Haven. Jen Just will talk about what is going on with Organizing for America here in Connecticut and State Sen. Ed Meyer will talk about the State Budget process.
Also starting on Wedneday is The Association of Internet Researchers 10th annual meeting in Milwaukee and Digital Media West.
On October 9th, there will be a fundraiser for United Church on the Green, in New Haven. It will take place from 6 to 8:30 in the Church Parish house. The host committee is a list of some of the most influential political and religious figures in the state.
Monday, the latest changes to EntreCard are scheduled to take affect and various people are saying their goodbyes. I think I’ll weather this latest storm out as well and stick around. However, I have thought more seriously about leaving and offer up recommendations for people leaving as well as for those of us being left behind.
EntreCard is different things to different people, so depending on your own reasons for using and/or leaving EntreCard, different parts of the recommendation may mean more or less to you.
Promoting your blog
One of the most important reasons I use EntreCard is to promote my blog. There are people that have visited my blog in the past through EntreCard that will no long be coming to my blog because they are leaving EntreCard. Many of them have moved over to CMF Ads and I’ve placed ads on their site through CMF Ads. Some of them are also on Adgitize, so I show up on their blogs from time to time as well. A few of them that filled out my survey include Turnip of Power, Top Ten Blog Tips, A Postcard a Day, Healthy Lifestyle Blogzine, Mom's Cafe Home Cooking, Internet Marketing with Steven Wilson, libdrone, That Grrl, and sixmats.com.
So far, I’ve found Adgitize ads to drive more traffic to my site than EntreCard or CMF Ads.
Monetizing your blog
Another aspect of advertising is monetizing your blog. I’ve used several different sites, including Google Adsense, Chitika, Amazon, and other large ad networks to serve ads. I don’t do a lot with this advertising and don’t give it prominent positions. Each of them provide a small amount of income from time to time, and every once in a while, provides a nice payoff. I did finally get around to linking my Google Analytics to my Google Adsense.
In terms of the bloggers advertising networks, Adgitize has consistently been the best performer. It usually only brings in a couple dollars after expenses, but essentially, I get paid by Adgitize for generating traffic to my site. A very stark contrast to EntreCard.
For Adgitize, I pay $14/month for my advertisement. As an advertisers, I earn about $4 worth of credits each month, so my real cost is more like $10. I earn another $4 by writing a post every day. It is good practice to write a post every day, so the added discipline helps. Then, I get about $4/day for visiting other sites through Adgitize. If these are EntreCard sites as well, which they usually are, it fits in with the EntreCard dropping. That leaves me with $2/month to cover through advertising revenue. My calculations are that most sites get up to about $8/month for advertisements on Adgitize.
Adgitize calculates the earnings based on the number of page views and the number of ad views. Traditionally, I had three Adgitize ads showing at a time. I like the idea of showing multiple Adgitize ads. People surfing my site through Adgitize have three exit points. Others add Adgitize at the bottom of their page, thus increasing the number of ad views, the number of exit points, and providing good above the fold and below the fold locations. I’ve now added three more ads at the bottom of my page.
My guess is that I make about $5/month on CMF Ads which I re-invest by advertising on other CMF sites. It doesn’t bring me a lot of traffic and I could perhaps optimize my advertising there as well as the rate that I charge for CMF Ads. Sometimes, you may get better total revenue by lowering your ad rates or adding more ads to view. On my survey, a lot of people said they used CMF Ads, which I do as well. However, I just don’t use it as extensively as other sites.
Another thing that EntreCard does is that it provides information about people who have recently dropped cards on you. This is a nice improvement over the recent reader sites like MyBlogLog and Blog Catalog. With those sites, someone might have read your site and not liked it. In theory, a person visiting with EntreCard would only drop cards on sites that they like. However, in practice, that does not seem to be the case.
In my survey, I found that many more respondents use BlogCatalog than use MyBlogLog. This fits data that I get from Google Analytics that I get four times the traffic from BlogCatalog as I do from MyBlogLog. Because of this, I’ve moved BlogCatalog up on my screen and MyBlogLog down. These sites don’t generate a lot of traffic and 40% of people leaving EntreCard do not use them. However, if I were leaving, I would use BlogCatalog or MyBlogLog the way I use the EntreCard inbox now.
The one thing that EntreCard has that I haven’t found a good replacement for in other sites is a working system of micropayments. The EntreCard micropayment model is broken in that there isn’t a good way to cash out credits. Personally, I think a micropayment system, tying into some of the big players in micropayments from the gaming space, like Offerpal would be great. If I could easily drop credits on friends that would be great. Anyone who wants to collaborate on a viable blogging micropayment system should drop me a note.
For many people, it seems like EntreCard was an informal traffic exchange. Drop a card on me, and I’ll drop one on you. The only traffic exchange that I pay any attention to is BlogExplosion. I sometimes use this to find new sites to visit and get surprisingly good traffic from them. Interestingly, nearly half of the EntreCard diaspora that filled out my survey does not use BlogExplosion.
Of course, the best way to increase readership is to write good content, and I enjoy visiting the blogs that have well written articles. With that, I’m giving a shout out today to Ask the Blogster for EntreCard: Great Concept, No Business Plan and Advertising Is Not Free—It’s Too Expensive & Other Paradox In Entrecard Town. Writing great content and linking to other articles that you like is always a great way to promote your own blog.
So, have I hit the way you promote your blog? Are there things I should have suggested and missed?
As I continue visiting various sites, I just came across EntreWas, which is an effort for people who connected via EntreCard to stay connected. It seems like a great idea.