Selling private ads

hurricane_sh

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Jun 25, 2009
Messages
99
I only use Adsense on my forums so far, unfortunately adsense has been paying less and less, it has come to the point that it's not worth it any more. If I start accepting private ads, I believe it will generate more income than adsense easily. But the starting process won't be pleasant.

If I publish everything (traffic, price, etc) on the forum for potential advertisers to see, it would be easier to recruit advertisers, but I don't want the members to know everything.

How did you start using private ads? And how did it go in the long run?

Thanks in advance for sharing any experience or lessons!
 

Joeychgo

TAZ Administrator
Joined
Feb 28, 2004
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6,799
Here is what I do....
  • I have an annual price for advertisers, and I bill them annually. Big reason is it cuts down on administrative tasks like sending invoices, chasing late paying advertisers, etc. I also dont want advertisers coming and going every other month. Again, takes time to chase them, upload their banner, etc.
  • I have a custom page setup where the specific information for a potential advertiser is. This page is not linked on the site, but I send the direct link to potential advertisers.
  • I got started by doing 2 main things.
    • I looked at competing forums and contacted companies advertising with them already.
    • I looked for other companies that might be good advertisers and contacted the companies to offer advertising.
    • In both cases, you can contact the company phone number and ask for the email of whoever handles marketing for the company.
  • I keep the ads priced a little high because I prefer less advertisers. Why have 20 advertisers at $100 a year when you can have 5 advertisers at $400?
  • I handle and track all advertisers in my email program. Each advertiser gets their own folder where I save all emails sent
 

hurricane_sh

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Jun 25, 2009
Messages
99
Thank you so much, Joeychgo! Your reply is very helpful, the most helpful reply I got on this forum.
 

hurricane_sh

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Jun 25, 2009
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Joeychgo, I have a few more questions, I would appreciate it very much if you share more of your insight.

1. Didn't your advertisers want to test the water before they committed to a 12-month deal? If so, what do you do?

2. Do you display private ads to registered members?

3. If you display large banners above the fold, do you rotate them? I for one would find it very boring to see the same banner for months.
 

overcast

Adherent
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Mar 17, 2019
Messages
343
I think Joeychgo,s approach is better when it comes to charging for banner ads on forum or blog.
 

woody

eternal noobie
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
189
My direct accounts are nearly all monthly or quarterly subscriptions. I've yet to have a single one that sub'd for less than 6 months, and only a couple in 15+ years that did less than a year.

Yes, banners should rotate evenly. Set a max number for the rotation, and set them up that way from the start. ie: Ad1 is a paid direct account, Ad2 is the another. Ad3/4/5 is your own "advertise here" banner, Ad6/7/8/9/10 might be a Commission Junction affiliate banners. When new accounts come o, remove the lowest performing affiliate banner.

I show ads to all users. More adslots are shown to unregistered/visitors and less to registered.

You should be contacting companies that are already promoting their products on your site and get them to support the site (advertise) where their customers are.
 

Joeychgo

TAZ Administrator
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Feb 28, 2004
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6,799
1. Didn't your advertisers want to test the water before they committed to a 12-month deal? If so, what do you do?
Nothing. My terms are for an annual ad.

2. Do you display private ads to registered members?
Yes

3. If you display large banners above the fold, do you rotate them? I for one would find it very boring to see the same banner for months.
I dont. I have the ads in the sidebar. They don't rotate. I also give the advertiser their own forum where they can announce product specials, talk with members about their products, etc.

Thank you so much, Joeychgo! Your reply is very helpful, the most helpful reply I got on this forum.
Thank you. Also pay attention to woody - He also has considerable experience and knowledge in this area.
 

Ingenious

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May 4, 2011
Messages
677
I think Joeychgo has pretty much nailed it on the head.

I also bill annually and in advance because believe me, chasing non-payers is a monumental waste of your time. Payment before advert is placed too.

It's impossible to set a rate because each niche is so different, but owning your own site means you can increase or decrease rates accordingly to find a sweet spot.

I never publish rates publicly I only advise potential advertisers privately on the current rate. Though I suggest keeping your rates the same for everyone with the same type of advert, as people do talk to each other.

All my adverts are picked randomly on each page load, so much easier as no tracking required and it evens out in the long term.

One thing that's different for my community though to what Joey said... I prefer 20 advertisers at $100 than 5 at $400 because it means more diversity with adverts and services seen by members and also you're more resilient to a few dropping out. You can also price at a level that's hard to refuse, if you go for larger numbers at a lower ad cost.

Also unlike Woody I don't have differing ad exposure depending on whether you're registered or not, it's the same for everyone. This is because personally I dislike the "register to see less adverts" model as off-putting to new visitors and it undermines the value to advertisers - but a lot of experienced forum owners swear by this approach so it's down to you to see what feels best.

Consider other services in addition to a banner which let's face it many people will adblock - the ability to post adverts in your forum for example, or forum accounts for advertisers which are highlighted as supporting the site, or specific sections for them to post offers in, highlighting them on a separate member list, in the online list and so on to help make them stand out. I include the URL of an advertiser with their forum post but exclude it for everyone else to encourage advertisers to post content.
 

hurricane_sh

Participant
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
99
Wow, many thanks for all your input, I'm so glad that I started this thread, lots of valuable information from experts.

AdSense has been ridiculously low in the past couple weeks, it's no longer a good option for forums.
 

woody

eternal noobie
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
189
AdSense (and EVERY ad network) see's a seasonal drop at the 1st of the year as every advertiser reorganizes their ad budgets. Nothing new there.

Your 2nd worst period will be the first two weeks of July....the next two worst are the first couple weeks of April and October....see a trend here?
 

overcast

Adherent
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Mar 17, 2019
Messages
343
AdSense has been ridiculously low in the past couple weeks, it's no longer a good option for forums.
That is because end of christmas and new year holidays. It last till 2nd week of Feb then slowly it picks up. And after march end it gets normal.
 
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