Ad Reports (BETA) Released!

ad-reportHow much is an ad report worth? Well, pretty much what you paid to run the ad. Reporting lets the advertiser know first and foremost that the ad ran at all. Additionally, the report can show the advertiser useful statistics on how the ad performed each day both in terms of impressions and clicks. AdPlugg has just released the BETA version of a new reporting feature that makes it easy to send ad reports to your advertisers as PDFs (Portable Document Format).

AdPlugg has always tracked impressions and clicks for every ad that it serves. This along with a smattering of other data including the who, what, where, and when of the impression or click event is recorded. We’ve also long had a charting feature where you can graphically view the performance of your ads over time. Now we’ve added a new PDF ad reporting feature that allows you to create a PDF ad report for each of your ads. The report shows a listing of each day that the ad ran along with the number of impressions and clicks that the ad received that day. The image above shows a sample and should give you an idea of what the ad reports look like.

The new ad reports are generated as PDF files which makes them ideal for emailing to your advertisers. This is a good practice that helps you to retain your advertisers and keep them advertising with you. While they can see how much traffic is coming from your site via tools such as Google Analytics, they can’t see how many impressions their ads are getting unless you provide them with reports.

Right now sending the reports to the advertisers is a manual process but we plan to have them send automatically (at the publisher’s option) in an upcoming release.

If you would like to gain access to the new ad reports feature, please contact us.

How Much Money do Bloggers Make?

how-much-money-do-bloggers-makeHow much money do bloggers make? At AdPlugg, we work with a lot of bloggers – helping them to achieve monetary success with their blogs. Earlier this year we wrote about How to Make Money Blogging. In this post, we stated:

Did you know that it’s not uncommon for advertisers to pay $300 per month for an inch tall ad on the side of a blog. Get ten of those and you are making $36,000 a year to blog.

But how much money do bloggers make as a whole? How much on average do bloggers make? In this post we are going to work to provide some answers. As of today, AdPlugg has features for serving and managing ads, but does not yet have billing features. Once we do, we plan to offer anonymous statistics regarding average revenue etc. But for now, we’ll just report on what we know from experience and what we were able to find through research.

In 2010 Technorati published a study reporting that 36% of bloggers reported some sort of income from their blogs, most often in the form of ad revenue from display ads. A similar study from Technorati, published in 2009 reported the mean annual income from advertisements at $42,548. Does this mean that you can start a blog and instantly make $42,548 per year? Not really. Here are the major contributing factors to how much money your blog can make:

  • Subject – A blog about luxury cars may have a better earning potential than a blog about ant farms.
  • Audience Size – How many readers you have is directly related to how much you can earn. Advertisers won’t pay much for ads that only get in front of a couple of readers.
  • Influence – Becoming an influencer drives up the price of your ads. Advertisers will pay more to be on a blog that is a trusted source of information for their market.

Additional insight can be gleaned from the fact that $42.8 Billion was generated in online ad revenues last year (see U.S. Online Ad Revenues Hit $42.8B, Surpass Broadcast TV) and close to 20% of the web runs on WordPress.

Most bloggers start out blogging on the side and eventually switch to blogging as their full time profession. How much you can earn is up to your blog (see bullets above) but a well run blog can probably expect to bring in anywhere from $10k per year to upwards of $100k per year. If your blog becomes a runaway success (think mashable.com, gizmodo.com, huffingtonpost.com, etc) it can earn millions in ad revenues. Stay tuned for more as we work on surveys and reports to get the how much money do bloggers make? question answered more scientifically.

How to Get Advertisers for Your Blog – 4 Steps

How To Get Advertisers

Overview

Back in April we posted How to Make Money Blogging – In Six Easy Steps. That post walks you through everything that you need to know to get started making money blogging, with Step 6 being a brief introduction on how to get advertisers for your blog. In this post we are going to elaborate on that topic ( as promised ;) ).

As we mentioned in the How to Make Money Blogging post, it’s not uncommon to make $300 per month per ad for a small spot on your blog. And with 10 of those, you could be making $36,000 per year to blog! In order to get advertisers for your blog, your blog needs to have great content and a decent amount of traffic. We touched on this in Step 5 of the How to Make Money Blogging post and will expand upon it in a future post. For now, let’s assume that you have a quality blog that gets a decent amount of traffic.

As with most things, it is very uncommon to have someone just approach you and hands over cash. Every business needs to sell their products or services. Just as your advertisers need to promote their products or services in order to grow sales, you need to promote and sell your advertising services in order to increase your blog’s revenue. Setting up a blog about cars and waiting for Ford to email shows great optimism but is realistically not a very strong plan. You need to go out and get advertisers to be successful. Especially when you are just starting out. How you do this is similar to selling most products or services.

Step 1: Prospecting – How to Find Advertisers for Your Blog

How to get advertisers for your blog
Finding advertisers for your blog is the first step. In a traditional sales funnel/cycle this step is called “prospecting”. Here are some ways to find prospects:

  1. Find blogs similar to yours and see which companies are advertising on those blogs.
  2. Think about what products or services your readers might be interested in based on what your blog is about.
  3. Think of the products or services that you’ve blogged about in the past.
  4. Think about keywords that you target for your blog. Search for those keywords using Google and see who is advertising for them.
  5. Use Google Webmaster Tools to see what terms your blog is ranking for, then search for those terms in Google to see who is advertising on those keywords.

Note: If you are in the top 10 for a keyword that has a lot of advertisers on Google you can often use this as a major selling point to close the prospect. More on closing below.

It’s a good idea to stay organized. Store the prospects that you have discovered in a spreadsheet or better yet, use a CRM system such as SugarCRM.

Step 2: Contacting – Reaching Out to Your Prospects

These prospects are considered “cold”. This is a sales term meaning that they have not been contacted before. At this stage, your goal is to find the contact info of the person who makes decisions regarding advertising (“the decision maker”). This can often be done by reaching out to the company by phone or email.

Step 3: Presenting – Make Your Pitch

Once you have found the contact info of the decision maker, you need to present them with a proposal and typically an advertising rate card. With a quick Google search you can find examples of both.

Step 4: Closing – Seal the Deal

If the decision maker is interested (“hot”), you need to close the deal. This could involve having them sign a contract or just having them send you their ad and a payment through PayPal. Plan to follow up regularly to get the deal closed. Their are lots of good closing techniques but a particularly good one is to offer them a discount and let them know that it is only good until a fixed date (Friday for instance).

Conclusion

You now know how to get advertisers for your blog. This process can be fun and exciting. Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t succeed; there are tons of great advertisers out there. Keep in mind that Colonel Sanders was rejected 1009 times before finding a taker for his chicken recipe. Just keep adding prospects and working through the steps.

Have questions or comments? Please add them to the comment section below.

How to Increase Revenue Through Ad Targeting

how-to-increase-revenue_money-target
In this post I am going to show you how you can increase revenue through ad targeting. Ad targeting is the concept of showing ads based on certain sets of criteria. That criteria could be based on the user viewing the ad such as their location or browser or the criteria could be based on site variables such as the page or location on a page. In this post I’m going to be talking about the latter. Specifically, how to increase revenue to your blog by employing page targeting, zone targeting and placement targeting.

Using the AdPlugg Ad Manager you can set your ads to target different ad zones. Ad Zones are regions or locations on your page such as the “top bar” or “right side bar”. By breaking your site up into zones, you create different opportunities for advertisers. For instance if you previously only had ads across the top of your site, you could add a right sidebar ad zone and a footer ad zone thereby increasing your “ad inventory”. Having and selling more ad spots will of course increase your revenue.

Page targeting allows you to choose which page (or pages) on your site your ads display. While zones and zone targeting allowed us to increase our ad inventory, page targeting allows us to break our existing ad inventory up.

Placements are how you can really take advantage of a parsed and organized ad inventory. First you break your layout up using zones. Then create placements for different combinations of pages and zones. For example, you could break your site up into the following placements:

  • A premium placement at the top of the right sidebar
  • A placement for the topbar on the home page
  • A placement for the topbar on secondary pages

All of these placements can target different advertisers with different advertising budgets. This will allow you to sell more ads by having ad space available for a wider variety of budgets. It will also allow you to maximize the ad revenue that each spot on your site can generate.

In this post I’ve explained how to increase revenue through ad targeting. Basically we’ve increased the number of customers that you can sell to and maximized the selling price for each spot on your site. Sign up for AdPlugg today and start increasing your revenue by putting these strategies to work. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to the comment section below.

U.S. Online Ad Revenues Hit $42.8B, Surpass Broadcast TV

Online AD$In a new report released by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), revenues of online advertising blew past revenues of broadcast TV for calendar year 2013. According to the report, in 2013, online ad revenues reached $42.8 billion while ad revenues from broadcast TV came in at $40.1 billion.

The 2013 online ad revenues were 17% higher than the landmark 2012 revenues of $36.6 billion. The $40.1 billion figure was just for “broadcast” TV mind you. Online ad revenues had already surpassed the revenues of cable TV. TV as a whole, however, still outweighs online advertising by a considerable amount. In 2013, broadcast and cable TV’s combined revenue came in at $66 billion. Still the report marks a considerable milestone as online ad revenues surpassed a major traditional advertising channel.

The online revenue making opportunities for advertisers and content providers continue to grow. AdPlugg and other services are making it ever easier to earn money online. The AdPlugg service allows content providers to easily manage, track and serve ads to their site’s readers. This gives the content providers the ability to earn revenue and gives advertisers a way to target the content provider’s reader-base.

Many blogs have a very specific reader base. For instance a blog about green weddings in New York may be the best advertising outlet for a vegan caterer based in New York. AdPlugg makes it possible for both the blogger and the caterer to form a mutually beneficial and profitable relationship. In addition, these types of advertising relationships allow the blogger to keep their ads relevant to their readers’ interests, maintain their site’s high quality appearance with non-spammy ads, and often provide their readers with help finding vendors that they are genuinely interested in.

While advertising relationships such as these are small compared to the billions earned each year by Google, they offer very lucrative opportunities to small businesses. In a recent post, How to Make Money Blogging, I talked about how easy it is to turn a blog into a considerable or even primary source of income. As more and more people spend more and more time online, these opportunities look set for continued growth.

What do you think about this post? Will online ad revenues surpass all of TV? What about the slow merging that seems to be happening between TV and the web? What about mobile? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

How to Make Money Blogging – In Six Easy Steps

How To Make Money Blogging

Introduction

Did you know that it’s not uncommon for advertisers to pay $300 per month for an inch tall ad on the side of a blog. Get ten of those and you are making $36,000 a year to blog.

Are you ready to start making money blogging? Maybe you’re just kind of thinking about it and want to know what it takes. Well it’s actually pretty simple. In this blog post, we are going to teach you how to make money blogging in six easy steps.

Step 1: Pick a Topic and a Domain Name

The first thing that you want to do is to pick a topic for your blog. Your blog can be about anything that you want. You should pick a topic that you are knowledgeable about but you definitely don’t need to be an expert. In fact, leaving some room for other people to offer their expertise is a great way to spark discussion and get more people to comment. After some thought, let’s say that you decide that you want to start a blog about pugs.

Next you need to pick a domain name. To make things easy we are going to get our domain and our hosting account (step 2) from the same provider, HostGator. To find a domain name, just go to hostgator.com and click on Domains. Use the search to find an available domain name. After searching for a bit, you find pug-hugs.com and decide that it’s the one! Don’t get it just yet though, we are going to do that in the next step.

Step 2: Register your Domain Name and Get a Hosting Account

In this step we are going to get a hosting account and register the domain name that we picked in Step 1. We are going to do this with hostgator.com

  1. From hostgator.com, click on Web Hosting.
  2. Since this is going to be a new site, you can choose their entry level Hatchling plan.
  3. After selecting the plan, you will be taken to their order wizard. Enter the domain name that you picked in Step 1 into the “Enter Your Domain Name Here” field.
  4. Pick whichever other options that you want, enter your billing info and click Create Account.

And with that, pug-hugs.com is born! You should shortly receive an email from Hostgator with the details of your new website!

Step 3: Set Up WordPress

HostGator makes it incredibly simple to install WordPress. Here are the steps:

  1. HostGator will have sent you an email with a link to your control panel. Click the link to go to your control panel.
  2. Log in and then go to QuickInstall (it’s under Software/Services).
  3. From QuickInstall, click WordPress (it’s under Blog Software).
  4. Enter your email, a title for your blog (in this case “Pug Hugs”) and your first and last name. These settings will be used to automatically configure your blog.
  5. Press the Install Now button and WordPress will be automatically installed and configured.
  6. When the installer finishes, click the provided link to go to your new WordPress site.
  7. Add wp-admin to the end of the url (example: www.pug-hugs.com/wp-admin) to go to and log into the WordPress administrator panel (your password will have been emailed to the email address that you provided to QuickInstall).
  8. (Optional) From the WordPress administrator panel, choose a theme for your site.

Step 4: Install AdPlugg

Next we are going to install the AdPlugg WordPress Ad Plugin. The AdPlugg WordPress Ad Plugin is one of the easiest ways to put ads on your site.

  1. From the WordPress administrator, click Plugins and then click the Add New button.
  2. Search for “AdPlugg” to find the AdPlugg WordPress Ad Plugin.
  3. Click the Install Now link to install the plugin.
  4. Go to www.adplugg.com and Sign Up for a free account
  5. From inside the AdPlugg ad manager, create an ad and upload an image. Hint: you can find an image for your first ad by going to images.google.com (search for “your ad here”).
  6. Back in your AdPlugg account, click Download and then Access Code and get your access code. You are going to use your access code to tie your AdPlugg account to your WordPress site.
  7. Back in the WordPress administrator, Go to Settings and then AdPlugg and enter or paste in your access code
  8. Still in the WordPress Administrator, go to Appearance and then Widgets and drag the AdPlugg widget into your sidebar.
  9. You should now see your ad on your WordPress site, woohoo!

Step 5: Start Blogging and Promoting

Now you need some content. Write about anything that you want. For our first post we are going to write a welcome message to our readers.

  1. From inside the WordPress admin, go to Posts and then Add New.
  2. Choose a title for your post, how about “Welcome to Pug Hugs!” and then type a welcome message to your readers.
  3. When you are done, click Preview to make sure that your post looks good.
  4. Once you have proofread your post and are happy with it, click Publish to publish your post to your site.
  5. Write new posts as often as you can to keep your site fresh with new content.

The quickest way to start getting traffic to your blog is to tell your friends and family about it. Send everyone in your email contacts the link and post a link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Step 6: Find Advertisers

Once you’ve got some good content and are getting some traffic, you are going to want to find some paying advertisers. Some good strategies for finding advertisers is to:

  1. Find similar blogs to yours and contact the companies that are advertising with them.
  2. Think about what your readers might be interested in buying and contact companies that make or sell those products. For our pug-hugs.com example, we might contact dog food manufacturers and pet supply stores. We’ll start with the small online pet supply stores that are likely looking for inexpensive advertising options.

Stay tuned…we plan to write more about how to find advertisers in a future article.

Conclusion

You’ve now learned how to make money blogging and in six steps you’ve built a small online business. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and get busy blogging!

A Next Generation Banner Rotator

Banner RotatorIn this blog post we are going to expand upon last weeks announcement of our new banner rotator feature.

The banner rotator concept is quite old in web years. Sites have been rotating banner ads for a long time, probably since the mid to early 90’s. AdPlugg’s new banner rotator takes a modern approach to an old concept and brings you a next generation banner rotator.

Similar to the banner rotators of the 90’s, AdPlugg’s banner rotator allows you to alternate the display of multiple ads in a single postion on your website, such as the header/leaderboard. But it adds a number of new and modern features to this old concept. The AdPlugg ad server can serve different rotating ads to different pages and zones through targeting. In addition, it can schedule your rotating ads so that new ads appear and disappear from the rotation based on their schedule.

The AdPlugg ad rotator can also rotate the relative positioning of multiple ads that are displayed at the same time. Our latest cookbook recipe (published yesterday) shows you how to create Tiered Ads. In the recipe, we teach you how to break your sidebar up into two tiers, “Premium” and “Standard”. The premium ads display at the top and rotate with other premium ads while the standard ads display at the bottom and rotate with other standard ads.

The advanced tracking and analytical functionality of AdPlugg allows you (and your advertisers) to see the impressions and clicks that each of your ads are getting. This allows you and your advertisers — who know that an ad is rotating in and out of a location — to see exactly how many times the ad was displayed.

Through the usage of new functionality offered by AdPlugg and the modern web, AdPlugg has truly created a next generation banner rotator.

Sign up for free and let us know what you think!

New Ad Rotator Feature Released!

Yesterday we released a new ad rotator feature! This feature allows you to rotate which of several ads is displayed or rotate the position in which the ads display relative to one another.
Banner Rotator
If your zone is configured to limit the number of ads displayed, it will function like a banner rotator. In this setup, which ad is displayed will rotate randomly on each refresh. This is very useful for zones such as the topbar/leaderboard where you can only display one ad at a time. With this functionality you could sell a fraction of the topbar location to multiple advertisers and potentially earn more per month than you could by selling 100% of it to a single advertiser. To learn more about how to set up this banner rotator configuration, check out this cookbook recipe Randomly Rotate Which Ad Displays.
Ad Rotator
If your zone can display two or more ads at a time, then it will rotate the position of each ad in relation to one another. For example, say you have three ads displayed down your right sidebar of your site, the ad rotator would rotate which ad was shown first, second and third from the top so that no one ad would always get the top spot. This functionality would allow you to charge the same rate for each of the three ads since they each get the same level of exposure. To learn more about how to rotate the positioning of your ads, see this cookbook recipe Rotate the Position of Two Ads.

The ad rotator was designed to be very flexible and can easily be worked into your existing configuration. It can also be used in much more complex configurations than the examples that I described above. We will be adding more recipes to the cookbook in the coming days showing you some more complex ad roator setups. Stay tuned and start rotating!

Blog Advertising Equals Increased Revenues

blog_advertisingBlog advertising is the general term used for the act of advertising on a web log or “blog”.

The Blogosphere

Most blogs are based around a topic. There are blogs about cooking, fishing, golfing, parenting, weddings, technology and just about any other topic that you can imagine. Many blogs get even more specific, for instance there are blogs about french cooking, bass fishing, golfing in Florida, etc. The blogoshpere is the term given collectively to all of the blogs in existence. The blogoshere has grown so large that it is now one of the largest sources of information on the web.

The popularity of blog reading in general can be attributed to:

  • Their commenting section and topical nature give them the ability to engage with readers
  • They are almost always free to read
  • They often have the information first, before it is available on other sites or mediums
  • They publish rapidly so they always have new content

Blog Readership

Blogs are regularly read by readers interested in the topic of the blog. Often readers will read the blog daily. Blogs are also often visited by readers who were referred to the blog by a search engine while searching for a specific topic.

Blog Advertising for the Blogger

For the blogger, blog advertising means monetizing their blog by placing ads on it. The ads are often placed across the top and in the sidebar. For the blogger, the main key-points for blog advertising tend to be:

  • Revenue earning to keep the blog running and provide a source of income for the blogger
  • Showing the blog advertising in a way that keeps the blog looking nice and uncluttered
  • Showing ads that are relevant to the content so that click rates are good and so that readers see ads from companies that they are or might be actually interested in.

Blog Advertising for the Advertiser

For the advertiser, blog advertising is a way to target a very specific target audience. Does your site sell souffle dishes? Get in front of people interested in french cooking by advertising on a french cooking blog. Are you trying to fill tee times at your golf resort in Orlando? Advertise on the blog about golfing in Florida! For the advertiser, the typical key-points tend to be:

  • Find advertising placements that are inexpensive so that they can have a high ROI (return on investment)
  • Target ads to individuals most likely to be interested in your product or services
  • Drive traffic to your product or service
  • Convert the traffic into sales

Blog Advertising Equals Increased Revenues

Blog advertising is great for both the blogger and advertiser. Bloggers want to show relevant ads on their blog and earn money for the blog. Advertisers want to drive targeted prospects to their site who will buy their product or service. When blog advertising is done correctly, both the blogger and the advertiser are able to dramatically increase revenues. The blogger increase revenues by selling ad space on their blog and the advertiser increases revenues by selling their product or service to the blog’s readers.

What is an Ad Server

What is an ad server
5HSTCCJYRSAW – In it’s most general sense the question “What is an Ad Server?” can be answered as: an ad server is a computer system for serving ads.

What is an Ad Server: An Example

Say you have a webpage at example.com, the content for the web page is typically served by the web server residing at example.com. In addition to the content, the webpage may have ads on it. While in some cases the ads are also served by the web server at example.com. Often they are served by a separate ad server. See the infographic to the right.

What is an Ad Server: Types of Ad Servers

An ad server could be installed on the same server as the webpage at example.com or it could be hosted on a different server like ads.example.com. Or it could be hosted by a cloud ad server system like AdPlugg at www.adplugg.com.

How Ad Servers Work

When a user loads a web page the server sends the page’s content. If the page is configured to use ads served by an ad server, the user’s request gets the ads from the ad server in addition to the content. The ads are requested from the url of the ad server and are often loaded using JavaScript.

Why Use an Ad Server?

Using an ad server provides numerous benefits over trying to serve ads yourself. Common Ad Server features include:

  • Serve ads based on a schedule
  • Serve ads based on the user’s browser, geographic location, etc.
  • Serve ads on certain pages but not others
  • Display ads in a certain order
  • Rotate ads

Hosted/Cloud Ad Servers vs. Installed Ad Servers

Installed ad servers can be standalone, add-ons to existing web servers, or addons to CMS (Content Management System) systems. Hosted/Cloud Ad Servers typically reside on servers controlled by an advertising system such as AdPlugg. While setting up your own ad server can give you additional control over your setup, using a hosted cloud based ad server such as AdPlugg can be much easier to setup and is designed to automatically scale based on your traffic.

Hopefully, i’ve answered the question: “what is an ad server?”. If you still have questions, please post them in the comments section below. With how easy it is to set up AdPlugg, it may be quickest to just try it out and learn what using an ad server can do for you. Click this link to get the AdPlugg WordPress Ad Plugin.