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Forums - has anyone ever had any luck?
Adsense on forums
btas2




msg:3270229
 8:51 pm on Mar 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think I've tried it all. I've tried different ad unit types, sizes and color schemes. I've blended ads with the rest of the text, I've made them stand out, I've put them above posts, below posts, in the middle of posts, and still a CTR of <0.5%

The ads are well targetted, so it's not the subject matter. It seems like it's just that forum users don't click on ads. I suppose if it's the same users all the time then that makes sense, but I also get a fair amount of "passing traffic" and even they don't click.

I know this is pretty much par for the course with forums, I'm just wondering if anyone, anywhere has ever gotten a decent CTR (>1%) out of a forum?

I'm tempted to throw Yahoo ads on there to see if the users might be more interested in debt refinancing and horse breeding than the subject of the forum (Yahoo's targeting is pretty poor!). The CTR couldn't be much worse.

 

celgins




msg:3270233
 9:02 pm on Mar 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I used to get 2.5% - 3% CTR on my forums, but removed the ads because they didn't convert well.

Though most forums don't do well, I think the forum type/topic helps determine if the CTR will be above 3%, or non-existent.

jema




msg:3270259
 10:15 pm on Mar 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think I'd kill for .5% click through on forums. I don't get anything like as high as that.

hyperkik




msg:3270374
 1:38 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

By my definition, I've had "luck". I get few clicks from registered users, but I get a decent overall eCPM. Granted, what's decent to me may be completely indecent to somebody else....

mainspot




msg:3270433
 4:20 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe typically visitor to the forum can find answers to what they're looking for.
So the ads are not interesting to them.

I have quite a new forum which I leave it as it, I rarely solve the questions raised in there.
As the result, there are so many questions still open and no respons from other members.

Surprisingly, the CTR is quite handsome, more then 1.5% everyday. And the eCPM is also very good (more than $3 on Feb summary).

My best guess is since visitors can't find any answer from the posting, they start to look around from the related ads around that page.

Just my best guess...

gendude




msg:3270477
 7:18 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> I know this is pretty much par for the course with forums, I'm just wondering if anyone, anywhere has ever gotten a decent CTR (>1%) out of a forum?

Keep in mind a lot of forum readers will exit the forum via a link somebody posted.

mainspot




msg:3270503
 8:10 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Keep in mind a lot of forum readers will exit the forum via a link somebody posted.

Good point.

This is the answer for why this forum don't allow link in post.. :)

shortbus1662




msg:3270521
 8:52 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

2.5% ctr on my forums.

mainspot




msg:3270530
 9:17 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

2.5% ctr on my forums.

May I know what is your average eCPM?

jetteroheller




msg:3270534
 9:32 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think there is only one method to deal with a forum:

Write from the forum content seperat pages.
Only the facts without all the discussion.

mainspot




msg:3270556
 10:51 am on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Write from the forum content seperat pages.
Only the facts without all the discussion.

Sorry for asking, but I'm not quite understand about your suggestion.

jetteroheller




msg:3270590
 12:44 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sorry for asking, but I'm not quite understand about your suggestion.

Imagine a forum about a car of a certain type.

There is a 150 posting long discussion about a typical technical problem of this car and how to solve it.

Now write about all this about 5 pages, the symptoms, the spare parts and how to do the repair.

mainspot




msg:3270609
 1:37 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

@ jetteroheller

I see...
So, it's kind of neatly summarize pages.

Thanks for the tips... :)

alephh




msg:3270610
 1:41 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I visit a certain unnamed forum several hundred times per year (semi-daily), and I browse, let's say thousand pages per year (in that forum), and I see the same ad about, what, 100 times per year.

Do you expect me (user) to click 20 times that one and the same ad?

Any forum to work, it takes a certain percentage of regular readers - and they will see the same ads over and over again without clicking it more than once (and that one click is the best case scenario here), and killing CTR in the process.

Also people who use forums, on average know more about Internet, and they don't go around clicking ads that much.

And those who just surf by, are passively reading or seeking a certain piece of info - not very great mental state of mind for clicking.

jema




msg:3270752
 5:14 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

If I could get .5% click through, I'd be on here sneering at the poverty stricken UPS club members! Instead of being a long way short of membership.

testing0




msg:3270952
 10:05 pm on Mar 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

there is nothing you can do about it.

main reason is visitors get ads blinded.

joelgreen




msg:3271443
 1:26 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have 1% CTR, but this info is useless. One could earn $100, and another could earn $1 with that CTR. I'm trying to say you may have better eCPM than somebody having 10% CTR (but lower payout per click).

And increasing CTR would not mean increase in earnings. I've seen a lot of posts on WW where posters had increased CTR but earnings were the same or even lower.

piatkow




msg:3271455
 1:38 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Running a community based site (not a forum) with a lot of regular visitors I have seen CTR gradually decline. Changes to ad layouts affects brings small recoveries but ad blindness seems to have set in.

I have experimented in the last fortnight on some pages by signing up for an affiliate scheme and replacing adsense. The different ads really perked up the CTR, unfortunately they have to convert to sales before they pay!

The big difference has been that I have chosen the exact ads that I want displayed.

voices




msg:3275057
 11:15 am on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I doubt it has anything to do with ad blindness. People going to a forum or community site are not usually shopping. Someone looking for a product or service is more likely to click an ad.

jema




msg:3275109
 12:11 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is partially ad blindness, but as you say the main point is that people are on the forum for the sake of the forum.

laertes




msg:3275417
 4:52 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Imagine a forum about a car of a certain type.

There is a 150 posting long discussion about a typical technical problem of this car and how to solve it.

Now write about all this about 5 pages, the symptoms, the spare parts and how to do the repair.

Why not just visit someone else's car forum and summarize their popular topics, get rid of the forum on your own domain, and save on bandwidth?

trillianjedi




msg:3275458
 5:15 pm on Mar 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Forums - has anyone ever had any luck?

Success? Yes. Luck? No, relying on luck won't get you anywhere with AdSense I'm afraid. If you just chuck AdSense onto a forum with no thought you'll never make anything.

The regulars, generally speaking, don't click. They are not your target audience for the ads. Understanding that is fundamental.

A good forum will contain content that's beyond simple "discussion" (what I would call the "article" posts). Getting search traffic to that content will make you money. Good money in a good niche.

Understand your transient visitors (logfiles, logfiles, logfiles).

It's that simple.

TJ

AdSenseAdvisor




msg:3275909
 12:47 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Interesting discussion. This comes up a lot.

AdSense's success on forums and other community sites depends on many things, as you all know, and some publishers will be much more or less successful than others with these kinds of sites. (I cringe a little when I hear people generalize about online communities, since that category covers such a huge range of things.)

I've heard a lot of people saying that forum users aren't interested in clicking ads. This can be true, sure, but it's not always! Some forums about automotive repair, for example, get a lot of well-targeted car parts ads that users are always eager to look at. A teen social site, on the other hand, is likely to have more visitors who are there purely for the conversation, with less focused topics, so the ads may be less immediately appealing to them.

I agree that ad blindness can definitely be a problem with any site where a user spends a lot of time. Rotating colors and layouts can help with this, as well as opting in to image and video ads.

I've seen many forums with simple bad ad planning - people just stick a banner at the top and can't figure out why visitors won't click on it. For those who do try to optimize, it can be tough to find the line between good placement and obtrusive advertising (check out [google.com...] for the team's tips).

Also, less experienced publishers may simply be underestimating how well their forums are performing. As I read through all of the threads here on WW, returning to certain ones repeatedly to see what's been added, I generate many, many more page impressions than I would when reading, say, a blog. This is going to make the forum's CTR and eCPM seem terrible compared to the blog's, even if I click on more forum ads than blog ads.

Anyway, you all have specific experiences and lessons of your own. This is just my two cents from the range of publishers I've observed. :)
-ASA

netchicken1




msg:3276005
 2:56 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think success or not in adsence on forums goes hand in hand with seo'ing of the forum.

I have been seo'ing mine for a while and found the adverts are beeter focused, and the ctr is getting better.

Forums are typically terrible for search engines to index and without hard seoing leave you vulnerable to many problems such as duplicate results.

get the forums tight first, and the clicks will follow, if for no other reason than because the search engines will index your site better.

TomO




msg:3276019
 3:12 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Netchicken,

Do you know of any good guides for tightening up a forum for the purposes of Google indexing. We currently just block the googlebot from accessing it, but I think it would be a good resource to have work for us.

TomO

MsHuggys




msg:3276022
 3:17 am on Mar 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I gave up on Adsense on my forum. I switched to cpm ads. It did much better. I had zero clicks after three months. It simply does not get worst than that.

kaizenlog




msg:3288986
 10:08 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

In forums, the best thing is to use CPA (Cost per action) or CPM ads.

atreides9999




msg:3289034
 10:48 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have had alot of luck. (considering they're forums)

I placed certain affiliate links on my forums and the perform amazingly. This is after they performed poorly on my main site. It is worth noting that these affilates slightly off-topic but in a related field. Their ads are very eye catching. The income I am generating from my forums now i great.

Adsense has been less sucessful on forums. But, I have improved by making them much more eye-catching. Blending in forums doesn't seem to help (for me at least). I try to distract peoples attention.

I would suggest also trying occasionally showing some other useful, eye-catching content, where the ads normally appear. Try to break the ad-blindness. Perhaps on the users 3rd pageview show a picture that relates to your site, then back to the ads. Just a thought.

I prefer using less ad units.

I suggesst that you remove all excess text and garbage, you dont need on your forums. For example stuff like "whos online now", "the current time is..", "Our users have posted...", "Members list", "search". Perhaps a good place to put your ads. This just distracts the users to a place that is not your ads. I also remove most useless icons, giving it a more texty feel.

Ohh, and replace your forum search with a google version.

Your forums are for your regular users, dont upset them. They probably already clicked the ads on your site they are interested in, so dont put ads right in their face. Better to keep them coming back again and again.

Finally, remember that the best thing about forums is that it keeps people coming back to your site. So make sure its easy for people to click back to your main site from your forums...

atreides9999




msg:3289037
 10:52 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is a great post by Netchicken here about optimising forums:

[webmasterworld.com...]

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