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This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >     
MakeupAlley.com - AdSense Case Study Website Teardown!
Finding Out What Accounts for 50% Earnings Increase
martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 10:48 pm on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Latest post [adsense.blogspot.ie] at Official AdSense Blog announces newest case study, MakeUpAlley.com [makeupalley.com]Case Study PDF here. [services.google.com]

The results are pretty dramatic, although a before and after screenshot would be helpful to see the previous ad placements. Archive.org has a record but it's not apparent where the ads were placed from their snapshot. Archive.org snapshot here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20110426015647/http://makeupalley.com/ [web.archive.org]

A side by side review shows that the new MUA site only has two navigation choices in the nav bar, compared with eight choices last year. Site visitors are now funneled to the Product Reviews section (an obvious money page section) and the forums. Fonts and layout look identical.

Gone is the link to the Links section and the link to Favorites is also removed. Somewhat redundant so no surprise. Also gone are links to MY MUA, Swap, Mail, and Diary. What they did to the navbar was create a tighter focus on driving site visitors to the money pages and to their community (content creation & site stickiness).

Clicking through to the Product Reviews section and doing a side by side review reveals a web page layout that is essentially the same. The site is supposed to be highly successful.

What do you think? Big change? Meh? Any lessons here?


Goals
• Improve user experience
• Increase user engagement

Approach
• Revamped landing page with simplified design
• Grouped, highlighted affiliate links,related content
• Made product ratings, reviews stand out
• Reorganized AdSense ad units
• Used Google Analytics to conduct A/B test

Results
• 171% increase in on-site interactions
• 21% more clicks on affiliate links
• 50% lift in AdSense revenue

 

Lame_Wolf

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 12:22 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Invalid Privacy Policy.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 12:39 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'll have to look at it when I have time to create an account - I'm still flabbergasted that you can't see most of the site without registering.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 12:45 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

It probably helps that they are begging for ad attention. I visited the site and was greeted with the following message:

It seems you are blocking ads for this site.

Please be aware that MakeupAlley relies on advertising as an income. To support MakeupAlley you don't have to disable your ad blocker completely but only for this site.

hannamyluv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 1:16 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, I will go back to what I said about RealCarTips.com. They made changes that work to appeal to their most profitable segment of the audiance.

A person who wants to buy wants to know "Am I looking at the right product?", "Is this product well rated/good?" And "Oh look, a place to buy it..."

Before, the page was set to appeal to everyone - be they lookie loos or actual shoppers - and when you aim to please everyone, you don't really please anyone. The new page is geared almost exclusivly to a shopper who is already into the sales process and just needs confirmation to buy.

Lesson: pick your best (read most profitable) audience and please them the best. Ad income will increase because they will buy.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 1:55 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

The new page is geared almost exclusivly to a shopper who is already into the sales process and just needs confirmation to buy.

IBAs and geo-targeting rather defeat that on the site though..I visited 10 different pages and each time got adsense for Ski resorts or ski equipement ( in French from French advertisers <= who really push their stuff at end of season..I have not been looking at ski resorts or related sites )..saw only one adsense ad for cosmetics ( top banner spot..each time for the same budget French cosmetic site ) ..actually their links to ebay were the most "in your face" things I noticed..

Colour scheme is very well suited to the subject ..and the ads delivered ( image ads blend well with it ) ..simple to navigate ( as far as one can do so before hitting the "register wall" )..clear..good choice of sizes via the "switcher" in the footer..

Obviously aiming for the under 40 audience..( font size is a little small for over 40s ..yes I see the font size switcher ..but I'd put it at the top too )..easy to see why it would be "sticky" for its target audience..

The community aspect of it works well, I can imagine ( and from thread lengths there it appears to be the case ) that the visitors comments, reviews and dialogues sell it for many..

Only see a button to pinterest..no facebook "like" ..and definitely no G+ ..button choices make sense for their market ..

Didn't read anything of what G said about it..just assessed it as a male visitor with design background and knowledge of the womens fashion* and accessories market would..

*I have some apparel sites..mainly womens stuff , my designs / brand..luxury / expensive..I do not run adsense on them..

hannamyluv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 2:31 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

IBAs and geo-targeting rather defeat that on the site though..

...just assessed it as a male visitor


Ahh, but see, this page of not for you. You mean nothing to it and so they don't cater to you (no offense, although if you are working a metrosexual thing... ;) ). This page is for tech savvy, young, female and on the verge of being ready to buy makeup. The IBAs would be for makeup. They would have already done their lookie loo reasearch, so their IBA would reflect that. I am not saying it works for every visitor. I am saying in only works for the ones who are ready to buy. And that is who you want anyway.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 3:04 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

<slight topic drift inside>
Agree with you on the IBAs ( and no I haven't got the legs for other than "metro french" ..nor the interests, I'm one of the small number of designers of womens wear who are only interested in women..:)..the aggressive geo-targeting by G is a shame though..it seems 90% of the time to over ride even IBAs..( for me the adsense on the BBC is always for "expat investment opportunities" and QROPS..

I suspect that even if I suggested to my wife to surf for an hour or so, and then visit makeupalley, that our IP showing on G's radar, would still result in adsense for French ski resorts and kit ( which will be hyped until after easter ) in most of the ad slots available on that site..

G being too simplistic..

Ads relevant to the site subject ( remember the "good old days" of site relevant ads, prior to IBAs and re-targeting ) ..would do better for G and MUA..particularly when one considers just what the annual spend is in France on cosmetics and fashion etc ( one of the highest per capita spends in these consumer sectors in the world ) ..and where L'Orιal and other major cosmetic groups and fashion companies are based..

The site works well though, despite G's sledgehammer approach to geography..congrats to MUA inc ( if it is anyone here, or if they read this at some point :) even the "registration nag" is probably an extremely efficient "hook" to keep the visitors coming back once they have given details ( we, here, are far more reticent about doing so than the average website's visitors, particularly in MUA's demographic )..well put together, and, as you said, tight and focused..
</slight topic drift inside>

creeking

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 4:47 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Results

• 21% more clicks on affiliate links
• 50% lift in AdSense revenue



anyone notice if there were affiliate links on pages with adsense?

Slashus



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 5:03 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

So these sites are supposed to be the "role models" for guidance. Right? Otherwise why feature them?

No arrows.

Guess they're one of the 5000 bottom of the barrel.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 11:50 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks hannamyluv, I think you zeroed in on one of the major reasons why the site improved its earnings. The official Google Case Study PDFs are short on details. It's really nice to dig down and find the real reasons some of these sites are doing better! :)

Lame_Wolf

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 1:01 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Please be aware that MakeupAlley relies on advertising as an income. To support MakeupAlley you don't have to disable your ad blocker completely but only for this site.
Surely, one could construed that it was bringing attention to the adverts, or even hinting to click on them.

With that, and the invalid privacy policy, I am surprised Google didn't thoroughly check out the site before telling the world about it.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 1:54 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Surely, one could construed that it was bringing attention to the adverts, or even hinting to click on them.

That's the impression it left on me too. Using the Firefox add-on RequestPolicy when I arrive on the site the page is totally non-functional until I allow a call to an external resource that presumably feeds their CSS. From that point the page renders properly but I still would have to allow another call to Adsense to see the ads (I didn't in spite of the puppy-eyed plea).

I can understand a warning message indicating that proper site functionality requires javascript to be enabled. However they are not concerned about that. Instead the immediate emphasis is on the ads.

I thought I've read in these forums before that it's a violation of Adsense TOS to beg for attention on your ads? But this is a google sanctioned case study so I guess not huh?

jpch



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 2:54 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wonder if they are a Premium Publisher and have been granted so sort of pass on the notice about ads? I would think the Privacy Policy would have to comply regardless of being a Premium Publisher or not.

My take away - very sloppy work on Google's part to feature a site with such obvious questions that aren't explained or answered by Google.

explorador

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 4:26 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nice thread.

I find it difficult to get by because I'm not part of that niche. I find it as a website I would never build, it goes against many things I believe in, in terms of web design. I really don't see (good) content it's just a few lines and then user generated content but it makes sense in that way. Weird.

But as the previous example the ads became really visible to me after the third click inside the site.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 4:34 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I actually think all that is beside the point. Their biggest plus is that they are capturing the user at almost the perfect time in the buying cycle. That's always going to be the best kind of site for AdSense, whether you're about makeup, cars, or trips to DisneyWorld.

I also admire that they've obviously built their own gated community. Probly don't care much about Google updates at all.

bluedog



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 5:11 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Great. Now makeup adds are following me around.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 6:06 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Their biggest plus is that they are capturing the user at almost the perfect time in the buying cycle.


Agreed. Lines up with the old saying that it's not about how much traffic but what kind of traffic. Focusing on quantity of traffic at the expense of actively cultivating traffic on the buy cycle can slow down monetization.

...the ads became really visible to me after the third click inside the site.


Is that a coincidence or is it possibly a way to cultivate higher paying clicks, return visits, and decrease bounce rates?

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 8:16 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Surely, one could construed that it was bringing attention to the adverts, or even hinting to click on them.


Funny, I was thinking the same thing and the way it's worded I think it's a violation of the AdSense policy that plainly states you can't entice people to click the ads.

However, only people with ad blockers are seeing this message and based on tests I ran in the past the odds of getting people to either enable javascript or disable the ad blocker are pretty small, they tend to just go away.

However, this site is a real estrogen magnet and if you're looking for that stuff and this site fit the niche you needed I can see people disabling ad blockers just for that site.

However, I would reword the message more to fit within the AdSense guidelines like my message that simply stated that the site required javasscript enabled and ad blockers disabled in order to view all of the content as some content was being delivered via ad networks and other feeds that were being disabled inadvertently as technical collateral damage. Basically, if you wanted the full experience, you needed to disable all blocking technology.

Then I shifted gears for a while and simply blocked the site altogether when ad blocking was enabled vs. putting up a big message on the site to see if that would cause higher engagement and it got about the same results as a message on the page.

But I never enticed anyone to click the ads whatsoever and find their wording over the top by pointing out they use those ads to earn revenue which could be a factor in some of the increase in AdSense via "tip" clicking assuming ad blocking is being disabled.

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 9:41 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

What I find weird: blocking those that block ads from accessing our sites.

Esp. when it's established you cannot make them stop blocking ads, then why bother: just let them have the content the cost to us in negligible to let them have it anyway. And there is a benefit in it for us in letting them have it: the potential referral they might make elsewhere to you if if only 1 in milion does it it's better than nothing...

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 10:01 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

ust let them have the content the cost to us in negligible to let them have it anyway.


I think you miss the point that often on this type of site that the ads themselves ARE the content. Give you a quick for instance in that a page about WHERE TO BUY CAMERAS with reviews and such can only direct you to the locations selling the cameras if you have ads enabled making the page completely useless without the ads which is why I blocked it entirely as an experiment.

Likewise, if you land on a page about Philedelphia Plumbers why in the heck would you block ads from local plumbers when it is actually the valuable content you seek!

FWIW, in most affiliate situations it's all ads, including the advertorial text being used from those advertisers, so why in the heck would you let them read the advertorial without actually being able to give the advertiser that created that content the ability to benefit from their content?

Not applicable to all sites, but applicable to many.

FYI, I got my kitchen remodeled on the cheap from a local vendor running a test ad in Facebook and had I blocked those ads I'd have never found the contractor I wanted and they did a fabulous job inexpensively and my neighbors come to look at our kitchen as an example and have even brought in other contractors to show them :)

Unlike any other form of print medium you can't block ads in newspapers, magazines, etc. unless some wacko cuts them out which I've witnessed thus depriving others of the experience.

Now I'm off to get a $5 cheesesteak sandwich that I saw advertised in an ad yesterday because I don't block them and am about to enjoy the benefits of seeing them..

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 10:26 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

For all clarity: I'm not advocating blocking ads.


If the ads are the content, ...
That's wrong on so many levels. Anyway, nothing I ever want to make, run nor visit.
No matter what it pays.

Erku

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 10:43 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Very interesting. I am reading these comments and not have finished yet. But someone mentioned about relevant ads. while it's true that they are great, there is something you need to know.

Relevant ads usually = cheap ads
Behavioral and retargeted ads = more expensive clicks

on average.

We have had many relevant ads, but we had more clicks, cheaper clicks, less revenue and more traffic going out.

blend27

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 10:51 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Server Time: almost 9 minutes late.

What is the purpose of displaying current date/time if it is incorrect?

cwnet

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 11:25 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Alexa traffic rank is 2,528 (US)

Google Adsense to monetize this level of visitors?

Bull#*$! all around...with that kind of traffic (?) I would expect every cosmetic company of the world to compete for advertisement slots paying REAL money instead of Adsense pennies.

Bull#*$!

Andem

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 11:34 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Bull#*$! all around...with that kind of traffic (?) I would expect every cosmetic company of the world to compete for advertisement slots paying REAL money instead of Adsense pennies.


My BS alarm hasn't gone off, and I'm pretty sensitive to that kind of stuff.

AdSense ads are a whole lot easier to run than to have a separate set of employees to sell, manage and bill advertisers.

The site is pretty rudimentary, so I doubt any kind of advanced advertisement system has been implemented.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 11:39 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

They have plenty of affiliate ads too. I think their strategy is spot on (not all of us make "pennies" with our AdSense - and the cosmetic industry is pretty darn competitive)

hannamyluv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 11:41 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Alexa traffic rank is 2,528 (US)


A) Alexa does not mean anything. Nor does Compete, Quancast or any other of the "traffic reporting" sites. All they are good for is comparing one site to another in the same niche. Their reports are worthless beyond that. And, really, Alexa is the most worthless of the lot.

B) Ah, yeah, like top companies have a army of people who just search out good websites to work individual contracts with that they then have to manage after that? Because you know, they want to spend 100s of hours of manpower on that. And on the flip side, like a website like this wants to hire someone whose sole purpose is managing ads and seeking out new ads. You know, cold calling the top cosmetics companies in the world and hoping a secretary feels sorry for you that day. And, yep, I get that some companies would and do and are successful, but it does not make sense for all companies.

I would bet that site, even if it gets tons of traffic, is run by only a handful of inhouse people. I think that most people would be shocked at how many "top 5000" sites are run by no more than 1-10 people. Heck, if I remember correctly, Twitter is only run by about 300.

[edited by: hannamyluv at 11:49 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2013]

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:47 am (utc) on Mar 23, 2013]
[edit reason] Edited for clarity. [/edit]

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 11:52 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

From reading it's threads ..I'd say.. that to it's audience.. it exudes "cred"..and I agree with everything hannamyluv posted in msg:4557612..

cwnet

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4557249 posted 12:22 am on Mar 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

On the relationship between number of staff and credibility:

I believe their is none. A one man shop can be just as good as a 30.000 bee shop.

However, I believe if you are running a website covering a certain industry (any industry) than it does add a lot to your credibilty if you actually are supported by the major players of that industry.

Support may come in various styles: Links, Advertisement, Social Media Recommendations, Collaborations, offline support etc. - Many activities may not be available to Google algorithmes because things do happen outside the Google world.

Therefore, anything Google does is flawed because Google does not take into account what happens in the real world!

This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >
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