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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Pros and Cons of Putting Banners on Forums
webmastertexas




msg:1562652
 7:36 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

My forum is one of my site's biggest bandwidth hogs, so I was thinking of putting banners on there just to earn back some of the bandwidth it's draining. Nothing big, no pop-ups, maybe an Adsense or a Fastclick 468 banner. What are the pros and cons of this? I know people don't click on banners in forums, but I'm thinking that the impressions alone (with Fastclick banners) would make it worth it. Good idea? Bad?

 

Rosalind




msg:1562653
 11:32 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think the crucial questions are how many and how relevant. Overdoing it with banners will make the forum slow to load and turn members away. But if you have just one banner that's directly related to the subject matter, it's pretty much expected.

webmastertexas




msg:1562654
 12:47 am on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

With Fastclick it would be random banners.

Anat




msg:1562655
 6:41 am on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Forums can definitely be resource hoggers... We have ads on our forums now - leaderboards/banners by several networks in 3 tiers + pop-ups. I hate pop-ups as much as the next person, but they do pay well.

What we did is we have optional paid subscription. Paying members can opt to switch ads on or off. That way, if people really hate the ads, they can take them off there by paying $5 a month. Surprisingly, many of the paying members keep the ads. They say that they'd like to help us a bit more. Also, some of our ads are targeted and they want to see those :D

BTW - I think Fastclick doesn't allow ads on forums. I would suggest checking with them first.

webmastertexas




msg:1562656
 7:47 am on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

BTW - I think Fastclick doesn't allow ads on forums. I would suggest checking with them first.

I've seen Fastclick's ads on a lot of forums.

rogerd




msg:1562657
 2:44 pm on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

As an alternative to CPM banners or Adsense, consider a sponsor approach in which an advertiser could sponsor the whole forum or individual topics. This is less intrusive than cheesy, off-topic banners, and it gets you away from having to talk about low click rates.

Anat




msg:1562658
 5:36 pm on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can put them on forums but it is against the TOS :)

webmastertexas




msg:1562659
 9:41 pm on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can put them on forums but it is against the TOS :)

But if it's against the TOS and I see some major sites doing it, is it REALLY against the TOS? :)

Jenstar




msg:1562660
 6:16 am on Nov 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

AdSense is allowed on forums - just watch for discussions about the AdSense which can sometimes be against the terms (depending on what specifically the discussion is about). CTR tends to be low on forums, often in the .5% to 1% CTR.

Having a monthly banner sponsor is another idea I have used.

benevolent001




msg:1562661
 2:30 pm on Nov 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

But what i think is that,placing Google Adsense ads which are relevant to the discussion going on in the forum would be much more relevant and earning then placing random ads

webmastertexas




msg:1562662
 9:04 pm on Nov 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

The assumption I was going under is that, since CTR is abysmal when put on forums, that I would rely more on impressions (CPM) to earn revenue instead of click-throughs. That's why I was considering Fastclick. For the CPM, because the forum is really hogging a lot of bandwidth.

rogerd




msg:1562663
 1:25 am on Nov 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

CPM ads are fine, but be sure the TOS allows them to be put on forums. I wouldn't assume that CPM ads are a panacea for a forum's low CTR. CPM advertisers count clicks, too. If they see a low CTR that results in a low ROI, they'll pull the plug on your ads very quickly.

aghill




msg:1562664
 3:05 pm on Nov 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've had a good experience running adsense on my forums over the last few months. Not going to get rich, but it more than pays for the cost of the site. WHat I really like about adsense vs others is that not only are the ads generally relevant to the discussion (and not flashing "Click here because you're the winning 1000th visitor" etc), but I've adjusted the color scheme so that they fit in to the forums without being obtrusive. I've recently begun experimenting with different color schemes, that are still similar to the look of the forums but stand out. Also, I remind people that the ads offset the cost of running the site (a subtle "Please click the ads")

gethan




msg:1562665
 3:36 pm on Nov 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Also, I remind people that the ads offset the cost of running the site (a subtle "Please click the ads")

Be very careful here - this is against the Adsense TOS's. I'd do a quick reread just to make sure what you're doing is within them - https://www.google.com/adsense/policies (incentives to click...)

HTH

aghill




msg:1562666
 10:35 pm on Nov 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a good point Gethan. I just reviewed the TOS, and I think I'm in the clear... but will revise my practices to be safe.

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