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Posts Tagged ‘clickthrough rates’

Want To See Which Ads Perform Best? YC-Backed MixRank Is A Spy Tool For AdSense

June 30th, 2011 06:26 admin View Comments

Online advertising is growing, and much of that growth is happening in display advertising. While search ads still make up 46 percent of the total over display’s 38 percent, display grew twice as fast as search in 2010. Many online businesses rely on advertising as a supplemental revenue stream in support of their business model — if not the sole source — especially from AdSense. As such, companies and startups spend a lot of time testing out different ad iterations, looks, and copy in an effort to find the most clickable ad content and the most lucrative campaigns. And, interestingly, relatively tiny tweaks to wording and content in ads can have a fairly dramatic effect on clickthrough rates, increasing them as much as tenfold.

A lot of businesses end up losing valuable time and money trying out different wordings and approaches, which is why MixRank, a startup out of the latest class of Y Combinator companies, is today launching a competitive intelligence service that clues businesses into how successful the AdSense display and contextual advertising of other companies (read: their competitors) has been. If, for example, your business is advertising a similar product to another company in the space, MixRank allows users to skip past the some 80 percent of ads that lose money, and view the methods of attack that are working for their competitors. Users can also view the sites that are directing the most traffic to their competitors.

To make this possible, MixRank has effectively created a search engine for AdSense that crawls pages running Google ads, and since Google sorts these ads by effectiveness, MixRank indexes this data and estimates ad performance. After crawling these pages, MixRank takes into account Google’s sorting of the ads by effectiveness, then uses this data to serve essential performance analytics.

As you can get a sense from the image above, MixRank’s service yields a ton of interesting data for advertisers. Using MixRank’s dashboard, users can see that, of the different wordings WooMe is testing for their Google ads, the top phrasing has been far more successful than the other pilots. As advertisers employ different calls to action in their advertising, these businesses can now get a better sense of whether using immediacy, scarcity, or time limits, etc will be more effective in selling their products. Users can quickly test these different calls and easily see what’s working.

As one can see in this example of Gillette advertising, the most successful ads don’t target sites that have the same theme as the product they’re hawking, but instead using common cases, problems, and questions to address their potential customers. The top Gillette ad for deodorant is “Interview with confidence”, for example.

Mixrank Founder Ilya Lichtenstein, whose background is in affiliate marketing, told me that many of the seemingly pervasive daily deals sites out there all essentially play “follow the leader” when it comes to advertising (as they seem to do with business models and more). Many of the smaller sites can’t compete with the leaders like Groupon and LivingSocial, because they don’t have the resources to build a large team of salespeople, researchers, and copywriters, so they find the easiest ways to mimic the leaders.

So, because it’s true that, in any highly competitive market with thin margins, there are usually only a few ads or traffic sources that resonate with customers and get big CTRs, MixRank levels the playing field. It allows smaller businesses access to the same copy, content, testing and comparative analysis that the big boys utilize; smaller operations can see where their competitors are buying ad real estate and view what type of ad copy is working best.

At this point, MixRank indexes 93,000 sites using Google AdSense, but that number continues to grow every day. One might, of course, assume that a caveat to MixRank’s business might be intrinsic to scaling and adoption, but even as more and more businesses sign up to use the service, it seems that ads will only become more efficient at a faster rate, as each team learns from another’s experiments. And, in the end, that could be better for consumers, too.

MixRank is completely free at this point, as it tests the market to see what kind of adoption it will see, but Lichtenstein told me he has plans to eventually implement a subscription model (an affordable monthly one) to monetize. And big picture plans include building a model of the whole display market, which may eventually include machine learning to work towards building a prediction engine that can tell users which particular version of a campaign might be the most successful.

It’s a deceptively simple concept, but a very interesting one, so check it out, and let us know what you think.

Source: Want To See Which Ads Perform Best? YC-Backed MixRank Is A Spy Tool For AdSense

Google Now Lets Website Owners Measure The Power Of +1 (And Any Other Social Widget)

June 29th, 2011 06:22 admin View Comments


Back in March, Google officially started rolling out the +1 Button in its search results, allowing users to vote up the pages they found most useful. Two months later, on June 1, it launched a widget that lets website owners integrate the button into their pages, just like they do with Facebook’s ‘Like’ and Twitter’s ‘Tweet’ buttons.

But, err, it wasn’t really clear what the point was. People kept clicking the button, but the effect — better search results for our friends — isn’t really tangible. And it isn’t really clear to site owners how much of an impact the button’s having, either.

Today, that changes: Google has just announced that +1 data will be displayed in Google’s Webmaster tools, allowing site owners to see exactly how much of an effect +1 is having. You’ll now be able to see how many +1 a page has in total, and what impact that has on Clickthrough Rates.

And Google has another trick up its sleeves too — it’s going to also give you analytics on any other social widget you have installed, like Facebook’s Like Button.

Here’s how Google breaks down the new features for social widgets:

  • The Social Engagement report lets you see how site behavior changes for visits that include clicks on +1 buttons or other social actions. This allows you to determine, for example, whether people who +1 your pages during a visit are likely to spend more time on your site than people who don’t.
  • The Social Actions report lets you track the number of social actions (+1 clicks, Tweets, etc) taken on your site, all in one place.
  • The Social Pages report allows you to compare the pages on your site to see which are driving the highest the number of social actions.

The value of +1 for users as opposed to site owners will likely come not just from improved search results, but also from integration in Google+, the social network that it launched yesterday. That’s assuming, of course, that people keep using it once it launches to everyone (I’m liking it so far).

Source: Google Now Lets Website Owners Measure The Power Of +1 (And Any Other Social Widget)

For Eventbrite, Each Facebook Share Is Worth $2.52

October 14th, 2010 10:53 admin View Comments

How much is a shared link on Facebook worth? For online ticketing service Eventbrite, each time someone shares a link to a paid event with their Facebook friends it results in $2.52 worth of ticket sales. In contrast, a Twitter share is only worth $0.43, and a LinkedIn share is worth $0.90. Sharing an event through email is worth $2.34, almost as much as Facebook. On average, across all social channels, each share is worth an average of $1.78 for Eventbrite.

Events are inherently social, and if you know your friends are going to go to an event you are more likely to go as well. Facebook and email most closely match your real friends, so it makes sense that those shares are worth more in this context. But Facebook has an edge because it broadcasts to all your friends. On average, each shared link on Facebook results in 11 new visits to Eventbrite, compared to 7 visits per share across all channels.

As CEO Kevin Hartz told me a couple weeks ago when he raised $20 million, Facebook now sends more traffic to Eventbrite than any other source, including Google. It is no wonder that Eventbrite is making a big push into social discovery, adding more Facebook hooks into its service. The more it can get people to share events, the more tickets it sells.

The big question is whether this phenomenon is particular to Eventbrite, or whether all commerce sites can benefit from social sharing. Companies should start tracking revenue per social share and see where the money is coming from. My gut instinct is that Facebook will be more valuable for products which get a bigger boost when your real friends are using them, and Twitter will compare better for other more general types of products where people are just looking for a trusted recommendation based on topic knowledge. Twitter might also result in better clickthrough rates for pure media sharing (i.e., advertising versus commerce).

What’s your revenue per share? Send me an email or share in comments.

Source: For Eventbrite, Each Facebook Share Is Worth $2.52

Introspectr Searches Your Social Streams

October 12th, 2010 10:37 admin View Comments

We are inundated with so many social streams that it is easy to forget where exactly we read something. For instance, there was a story earlier today on Twitter showing better clickthrough rates than Facebook. I know I saw it somewhere, but was it Twitter, Facebook, or in an email? It’s easy enough to search the open Web, but how do you search all of your personal information streams at once?

Introspectr, a personal search engine still in private beta, is part of a new class of startups trying to tackle this problem. (The first 100 people to click on this link will get an invite). You give Introspectr access to your Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail accounts, and it indexes them for you, along with the content of any email attachments or the underlying pages of any links. Then you can just search for any term and up come all the Tweets, emails, and Facebook messages where that might appear.

Another startup in this class is Greplin, which is a Y Combinator startup we’ve covered before. I’ve tried both. Neither one gets it exactly right, but they both point in the right direction. For instance, Greplin does not index the pages that people you follow are linking to. So unless the keyword you are searching for is in their Tweet, you are out of luck. But if someone Tweets, “Check this out” with a link to an article about clickthrough rates, Introspectr should be able to catch that.

Introspectr, however, doesn’t seem to update its index in realtime. You have to do that manually if you are searching for recent Tweets, or emails. And it doesn’t yet search your Facebook News feed, only your inbox messages. Doing a few random searches of words in my Twitter stream, Introspectr is hit or miss (for some reason Greplin isn’t showing me any Twitter results even though it shows that my Twitter account is supposedly indexed). When it finds the right Tweets or emails, it’s great. But this is really a feature Twitter should have. As part of Twitter search, you should be able to search only your own stream. And Google or Bing should add a similar type of social search functionality to their larger search engines. It’s such an obvious feature. But until they do that (which could be years), startups like Introspectr and Greplin are paving the way.

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Source: Introspectr Searches Your Social Streams