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Something different: opt-in to ads (and aff too!)

Not appropriate for third party networks as currently designed

     
8:21 pm on Jun 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from CA 

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Decided to share something somewhat different.
For amusement purposes only?

The GDPR went into effect just over a year ago, 25-May-2018. I spent over a year and a half prior hypothesising, running past law-type-person, and testing various opt-in options that would both satisfy requirements and be as user friendly as possible.
Note: I know how much I detest(ed) most of those cookie acceptance overlays that were/are not actually fit for purpose!

During this major privacy overhaul of my sites I devised a hurdle all on my own: to make viewing ads or visiting affiliate merchants truly opt-in. Yup, I made a mountain range out of two mole hills. Subsequent to going live with my GDPR opt-in solution in March last year I tested various ad/af opt-in designs for ~8-months going live 6-months ago. Here's what I am doing and it's effect to date:

Ads are now all (I discontinued AdSense earlier this year) full page plus native ads blocked from search results and only accessible via in content links (direct URL access is redirected to relevant content page). Such ad links have an 'ad' icon to distinguish from other links. As well, clicking such links shows the ad landing page lightly greyed out with modal advising that the page is both interesting/valuable/recommended content and an advertisement with the option to continue or go back. Approximately 80% opt to continue to the ad page.

Affiliate presell pages have always been full page plus blocked from search results and only accessible via in content links (direct URL access is redirected to relevant content page). As these pages are my own content (albeit SE blocked) the opt-in is not between the content and aff presell content, rather between the aff presell pages and the affiliate merchant. Again, on clicking such links the merchant's landing page shows lightly greyed out with modal advising that the page is both interesting/valuable content and that an affiliate relationship exists with the option to continue or go back. Approximately 60% opt to continue to the merchant page.
Note: in some situations, i.e. visitor has filled out a form that will pre-fill a form on merchant landing page, visitor is considered already opted in.

Besides bending over backwards to make the visitor aware of what is happening and offering control (altruistic falderal) why deliberately discourage 20% and 40% of potential revenue traffic?

* when ads are opt-in aka the visitor expressly decides to go and read:
---an impression is worth more.
---the CTR of available interactions goes up and thus is individually (and possibly cumulatively) worth more.
---with such explicit statistically verifiable results one can bill more for the same but improved service.

* when affiliate presell pages are well designed they separate and funnel visitors such that one is referring better converting traffic so each referral is worth more.
Note: in effect prior to opt-in.
* when affiliate referrals are opt-in aka the visitor expressly decides to go the percentage of ready to buy aka conversion rate of referrals increases so is worth more.
---consistently the results show that actual conversion rate changed such showing that most/all of who were 'turned back' wouldn't have converted anyway. They just didn't on the presell page rather than the merchant landing page.
---with such explicit statistically verifiable results one can possibly negotiate an improved agreement.

* native ads can not be blocked as they are not separately identifiable, they are simply also (marketing) content. By overtly making the identification for the visitor
---one gets to slant the choice.
---one provides another reason for visitors to return and/or recommend site.
---one gets consistency (in conjunction with GDPR and ePrivacy requirements) across all aspects of the site visitor interface.

Disclaimer: do NOT attempt on your own without testing for confirmation. No two sites, business models, or results are the same.
Disclaimer: Does NOT apply to AdSense and other third party ad network or similar small block direct ad sale or affiliate link/display revenue based sites. A hard separation, i.e. separate pages, between content and ad/af is required. Same between SEs and ad.
10:59 pm on June 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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As Mr. Spock might say: "Fascinating."

I like the way you address molehills. :)
11:58 pm on June 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 19, 2002
posts:3479
votes: 76


thanks so much! this post is like old school WebmasterWorld!