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Unique alternatives to ads

suggestions?

     
6:44 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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With Adsense dropping further and further and further, I'm hoping to discuss any new and innovative alternatives to ads in general.

I've tried getting people to donate, with no success at all. The credit card processing fees cost as much as people donated.

I tried setting up "Gold member" features for paying members (at a rate of $10 /year), but only had one person sign on.

I've tried commission-based affiliate program banners, but they only brought in a few dollars a month. I think the problem there is that my demographic is based on location rather than a theme (eg, targeting a specific city instead of fans of a certain product), so there's no way to really target the right banner to the user.

I sell local ads at a flat monthly rate, and while they do help, they're a lot of work and I honestly don't have enough time to manage the site and do ad sales. I've been trying to hire a salesman for about 3 years with no luck... I feel like the concept of commission-based sales is dead :-( And that kills me, I could realistically hire 40 salesmen today! But can't find a single person willing to do the work.

I set up a sticky banner at the bottom of the page that makes about 50% of the regular Adsense banners, and there's a possibility that if I remove the Adsense banners then it will go up in value. If I do that then I have a 320px column on desktop that I could use for pretty much anything. My initial thought was to just include lead-ins to other sections of the site to increase pages per session, but I would really like to hear any other ideas that you guys have successfully used.
11:24 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What about Chitika? I wanted to try it but they pay only by paypal, and I don't like that. (I am too old may be)
2:18 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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A successful ad click pays a fraction of what an affiliate link might pay.
A successful affiliate sale pays a fraction of what the person selling a product earns.

Sell a product.
5:05 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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^^^ this..
7:54 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My first business was actually e-commerce, and that was more than a full time job in itself! I would consider selling something on the site now, but since I sell ads it would have to be something totally unique that's not competing with local businesses. Or that's not already being sold by Walmart or dollar stores.

Have you had any luck selling promo-type items, like T-shirts and coffee mugs? That wouldn't compete locally, but I'd have to sell a butt-load to make enough money to offset ads... assume a $5 net profit per sale, I'd have to sell 1000 items /month! I don't think that's practical.


What about Chitika?

@justpassing, they're still just ads, right? With Adsense getting lower and lower, I'm concerned that banner ads in general just aren't going to fly for me any more. More and more people switching from desktop to mobile, more and more ad blockers, more and more ad blindness... it feels like a losing battle. It's time for someone to come up with a new idea...

But still, I just now signed up with them, and will give them an A/B test for a few days against Adsense. Why not? :-) I'll keep you posted on the results, probably in a new thread so that this one stays on topic.
8:00 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It really depends on the site. But I have seen a lot of people do well with direct sponsorship rather than an ad network.

"This article/video/recipe/page/website brought to you by: Example Corp [link to site]"

Go look at what ads do the best on your site. Contact them directly and ask if they would be willing to sponsor content officially rather than tacitly. Be ready to show them how well their ads do on your site already and ask if they would like to advertise directly in some way.
9:53 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Why are you ad-earnings dropping? I see this posts here like this is normal and expected, but broader data doesn't suggest this should be the case. Rates are pretty strong at the moment. Publishers I work with are generally seeing better performance now than compared with a year ago or two years ago (there are exceptions, but I know why in each case").

"sell a product"

Great if it suits your site, but it isn't the best model for all. Let's also not pretend that e-commerce conversions are going to match a 98% fill rate
3:11 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Go look at what ads do the best on your site. Contact them directly and ask if they would be willing to sponsor content officially


I can't link to a specific Google page about this, but I think direct contact with advertisers with the intent of poaching them from Adwords/Adsense is against their terms.
3:23 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Few advertisers will do it anyway. Even if they are placement targeting you, it's unlikely that they'll get the same price, ability to target precisely, control and reporting as they will by buying programmatically. You'll also have a significant administrative overhead vs selling programmatically and the rate would need to reflect that. This can work well with programmatic deals in Ad Exchange (because they buyer can retain all of those advantages), but is harder without that.
7:30 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Why are you ad-earnings dropping? I see this posts here like this is normal and expected, but broader data doesn't suggest this should be the case. Rates are pretty strong at the moment. Publishers I work with are generally seeing better performance now than compared with a year ago or two years ago (there are exceptions, but I know why in each case").

I wish I had an answer for the "why"! If you look under the October 2018 AdSense Earnings & Observations thread, though, it seems to be a common problem. My Page RPM has dropped further and further, really starting in 2017.

Last year was almost half of 2016, and this year is almost half of 2017! That's a huuuuuuge drop in a relatively short period. I've seriously been making payroll using personal credit cards for the last few months.

From August to now, my Page RPM has dropped 43%.

Traffic is the same, mobile percentage is the same (roughly 48.5%), coverage has actually slightly improved... the only real difference is Page RPM.


What about Chitika?

I gave them a test run yesterday, I'm about to post a new thread on the results.
3:19 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can't link to a specific Google page about this, but I think direct contact with advertisers with the intent of poaching them from Adwords/Adsense is against their terms.


Well if one is leaves the service, one isn't bound by those terms anymore.

The idea of direct sponsorship is much like the idea of selling products, it only works in specific use cases. When it works, I have seen it be very effective, and in fact selling of products and direct sponsorship can even be intertwined.