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I've tried putting ads almost everywhere. I've experimented for over a year now. My site gets multiple clicks about everyday, my forums gets one click about every 3 days.
If you're successful with forum ads, care to share your secrets? I'm sure a lot of us would benefit from it :).
On the other hand, the ads on a guitar site are probably pretty good.
Good in that they are pretty much on target about guitars, but they could be broader. It would help if I could suggest to Google how the market could naturally be extended past the obvious.
And, I get a lot of the "FREE GUITAR" ads. I used to block them, but not any more. I make more when I empty my filters.
adsence getting lost among the toys on the forum is correct
Why would you want to tell someone 'Guest posting is not allowed in this forum' when you could be exposing them to your ads instead?
The other problem is Smart Pricing
Figuring out a way to only show ads on focused threads is very important. It might be a manual thing you do as a moderator (i.e. check a box for 'show ads in this thread'), or you might do a keyword density analysis against a list of worthwhile keywords for your topic.
My site is about indie music with the odd synths, sampler questions included. So far all goes smooth and people actually never compmained (except a few die hard anti advert guys).
Community sites generate much higher pageviews per visit than most static content sites, and typically have a much higher percent of returning traffic. These will depress your CTR numbers, but that doesn't mean the site can't be profitable.
The other challenge you face is how much advertising you want to throw at your members. Sure, you can put big, ugly ad blocks in the middle of the thread, but do you really want to? Members will accept the fact that the community operator needs to cover costs and won't object to seeing ads on the page, but if the ads impact the user experience they may be too much.
If your community Adsense revenue isn't meeting your expectations, I'd worry less about boosting the CTR and more about building the community. More members, more posting activity, more referrals, more guests... these are the indicators of a successful community, and your ad revenue will rise along with them.
Perfect. I really like the way you posted last. I have a very successful and fast-growing forum with 2,500 members and I do pretty well actually. My CTR is not very high because of the number of impressions is very high, but it does do better than ANY part of my sites. I think that is BS that forums have low CTR. I think it depends on how you do things compared to who your visitors are.
The idea is that logged in users are repeat visitors, so don't dilute the impressions pool by showing them ads on every page load.
So the ad is shown conditionally. If you are not logged in, you get an ad 100% of the time. If you are, you get one every N pageloads. Adjust N to suit your needs based on running with these ads in a separate channel.
You'll have to manipulate your templates and understand the exact variable your forum uses to test the "logged in-ness" of a user, so there's not a cut-and-paste formula for this.
Applying this techniques has boosted my forum CTR to a level I'd consider far above a typically cited forum figure. I believe (but can't substantiate) that it's improving my smart pricing parameters by avoiding a lot of wasted impressions (viewed by forum regulars).
- strip your forum down to the strict necessary
- alternate colours in your adsense spots
- use the adsense code to define what content should be scanned
- and create traffic (a stripped down forum does not cost much in traffic, I get my hosting costs back in a few hours)
- more members will create a moral viral effect creating again more members and readers.
I have a forum that for some time has recieved about half as many impressions daily as the main site, which isnt bad. But I've noticed adsense never does well on any forum I use, no matter what I try.
How about thinking outside the box - get some companies to pay for some banner or other advertising on your forum. You'll make more even if you charge a monthly fee for the banner.
I know a user who has a very succesful forum by utilizing third party ads on his site instead of PPC advertising.
You'll have to look around for those companies to advertise on your site, though. dont sign up for one of those affiliate programs off some site; look around in your industry for prominent websites that you can see could use some traffic.
Is there a flaw in keyword targeting on the AdSense side? For instance, is AdSense using search query keywords to show ads forumwide, resulting in irrelevant ads?
I generally find this is the case on my forums, the ads are often completely irrelivant. I get ads for other forum software, hosting companies, and general generic web ads, rarely are they specific to the content of my forum pages.