View Full Version : Creating "new" revenue through lateral thinking...

12-04-2001, 03:28 AM
If banners, buttons and popups just aren't paying their way these days, try a little lateral thinking...

The front door to these forums is an excellent example, with the advertising box that drops into view from the top of the page.

Closer to home, I have begun to implement a boxed text ad on my site (see for example http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_auto.htm ) with affiliate campaigns targeted to the theme of each page. It's early days, but the results have been VERY interesting!

The ads are getting from 2% to 32% (that's NOT a typo!) clickthrough rates and are on course to generate close to $800 in December. And that's only for the text boxes I have set up so far - there are plenty of pages still to go.


A) Because it's text, the boxes add virtually nothing to the load time of the page. Even with the table-inside-a-table layout, it's perhaps an extra 1-1.5KB at most.
B) The ads are relevant, so people are happy to view them and click on them
C) They have turned a marginal proposition (a site that costs $600 a month to host and was generating $400-500 a month in ad revenue) into a nice little money-spinner since it's all ADDITIONAL revenue for no ongoing effort.
D) The click-throughs rates are so high (4x-64x what I was achieving with the best banners and buttons) that in the next iteration I will most likely scrap banners altogether and add one or two more strategically placed text boxes per page - this will drop load times by 30-50%!
E) Apart from the time spent hunting for appropriate affiliate programs, the actual boxes only took a few minutes to implement. And once the first one was up, a little cut-n-paste magic was all that was required to put them everywhere :)

I was a doubter when it came to text advertising. I'd tried putting affiliate links in various places before, without a great deal of impact. But with the boxes, I've hit on what appears to be a winning tradeoff between making things stand out and making people want to see ads...

In conclusion: never turn your back on trying totally new ways to squeeze money out of your site - you might be VERY pleasantly surprised at the results.

12-04-2001, 05:56 AM
The only reason that stops me from thinking out of the box is what the users will percieve of the new ad format - will it bug them is the main question. For example this ad script from Dynamic Drive (http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicindex11/dhtmlad.htm) (currently down) is an excellent example but since my site is almost entirely forum based (almost like GV) I'm afraid implementing it will have a negative effect on users. (I havent' seen the ads yet on GV so can't say how much they bother me)

12-04-2001, 06:13 AM

Edwin, until LAH posted that link, I had no idea what you were talking about in your post.

Your ad didn't show for me and nor did Steve's new ad.

So you really get a great CTR with that? I must admit I wasn't tempted to click on the one I saw in LAH's link, but as I haven't seen yours, I can't really comment on the popularity yours is achieving.

But if it works, go for it!!! :)

12-04-2001, 06:21 AM
Hi Jan,

Edwin is talking about the text box ad in the middle column of tha page with a column on the side which says "Ad"(in vertical). It's towards the top before the real content starts.

12-04-2001, 06:21 AM
Actually learning from GV I started to make Text banners and text + graphic bannets where the Clickble area is in a standard href link.

While standard banners and small sky skrapers from CJ (All very targeted) are getting CTR of about 0.1% the text boxes are getting over 2% CTR. ;) and with a nice convertion ratio.

The best CTR (5%) I get from text links embaded into articles and tutorials I make. I think that this is the true meaning of being an affeliate. Activly promoating a product (and the client Don't really need to know that I am getting 20%)

I am curently "playing" with a new Idea to drive sells from the site.
Basicly making a shop where all products are actualy being sold by affeliats links, only this will be more of a Affeliates Index. Kinda like pricewatch but using my links and being much more targeted at my sites trafic.
Time and Perl/CGI are actually what is stoping me at the moment. :angel:

12-04-2001, 06:45 AM
Originally posted by LastActionHero
Hi Jan,

Edwin is talking about the text box ad in the middle column of tha page with a column on the side which says "Ad"(in vertical). It's towards the top before the real content starts.

:o Ohhhhhhh........sheesh I searched the darned page for something that stood out initially so I figured it was something that didn't show in Aus.

I guess I am getting ad blind :cool:

Imagine all those clicks we are missing because of all the 'blind' surfers out there :eek:

12-04-2001, 07:10 AM
Sorry I wasn't more specific!

That's actually why I like my new text ads... they don't stick out enough to be annoying, yet they stick out enough to get 1997-level clickthrough rates (ah, those were the days...)

Slight tangent: The POPUP box on the front page of Emailaddresses.com is not doing much for me, though. It's more of a playful experiment than anything else.

12-04-2001, 07:47 AM

I went with the creating a seperate shop idea with all affiliate links and it works like a charm (wasn't my own idea by-the-way).

Of all the people who visit the content site approx. a 20-35% ends up clicking on a side banners that leads directly to that category of product in the shop. Once they are in the shop, they stick around and once they actually click on an affiliate link they often end up buying that product.

I can still remember two months ago I was running CJ links for various products and ended up earning 0 bucks after 100.000s of impressions. With the seperate shop my CJ.com earnings have shot up and I am now at a $2.16 EPM and $20.77 EPC for this month. I must admit this is mostly caused by one $9000 freak purchase, but even without this freak purchase the trend is still good. I am currently very happy with the seperate shop idea and with it's seperate domain and SE/Directory listings it's even drawing traffic towards my content site. The two sites work together as a great team :)

12-04-2001, 09:11 AM

Would you mind sharing your results from the box?

12-04-2001, 10:26 AM
How do you make that new kind of text 'pop-up' ad? Is an ad script required?

C. Stark
12-04-2001, 12:12 PM
Brilliant, I want to try this. Text is known to be more effective than banners, but you seem to have taken it to the next level. I just wanted click on it as soon as I got to your page!

You mentioned you are getting 2% and better CTR. I may not be able to get the same because my average user looks at 15 pages. How many pages are your average sessions and In an average user session, how many times is that ad viewed?

12-04-2001, 02:02 PM
I guess that it's more in the text used.
In my case the banner is giving a personal recomendation of a book I promost Via amazon. I get 2% CTR and a nice convertion ratio.
First thing is to expose the visitor to the fact thay the product is actually exist and do the searching work for him.
Then the personal recomendation with the diferant aproche of text is what make the click diferance.

People are not used to see lot's of text with two small links in the middle. makes them more interested. putting a banner and it's just being ignored.

BTW, my site is a high interest with 7 to 15 page views per visitor.
That is actually making the convertion ratio even higher if you calculate CTR for visitors and not impressions.

About the second stor site,
I want it not to be a store but a Index. Listing product and prices from varius manufacturers and merchents letting the Visitor decide from where to buy.
I am thinking on starting with affeliates links but hope to get merchents directly.
A merchent will pay 25$ to 50$ for a number of products he can promote. This way he will be responcible to update his links, products and prices while I can invest my time in promoating the index and driving trafic in.
I want to give several merchents a free access for some time to make the index more full. But that will require building the stor well from the start with expending thinking.
And that is what actually holding me back. Time to write the scripts as I like.

12-04-2001, 02:13 PM
Good idea Edwin! :D

12-04-2001, 03:08 PM
:) I likie

1. I'm using the drop-in content box from:


It uses a session cookie (pop once per session) with a 1 to 1 display ratio.

2. Contrary to a post in another thread <cough> the email notify of a post link does not produce this pop. The only way it currently displays is via a Forum link like this:


3. I will be hapopy to share my results at the appropriate time.

4. A sticky site introduces some additional challenges. How high do you wan't to crank up the aggrivation factor? Should you move it around? Should you place a "delay" in the "Close Box" link? How much "heat" can you take?

Good luck to all.

12-04-2001, 03:20 PM
Is there any way to delay the pop?

I'd have a higher CTR if I could time it for when folks were already at or near the end of my page.

12-04-2001, 03:36 PM
While it sounds almost too good to be true (!) most of my text boxes (remember, I'm not talking about a popup/drop down on my site, but the green boxed text at the top of some of my pages) appear on just ONE page of my site, since they're targeted to each page's content.

For example I'm getting a close to 9.5% average clickthrough rate (17% for this month so far as I have been fine-tuning the ad recently) on the eFax ad at http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_2fax.htm and that's only on 1 page so visitors only have 1 chance to see and click!

Post-click conversion rates vary more widely, of course. Those services that require a payment are producing a very low conversion rate (since my visitors are looking for FREE email and other free stuff) but the offers for free services are getting 20-30% conversion rates post click.

Again, taking the example of the efax offer, I'm getting a 17% conversion rate which means for a $0.05 per signup offer I'm earning approx. $2.50 CPM! Plus there's the added benefit that maybe I'll get lucky and have somebody sign up for the upgraded for-fee service (which pays a $5 bounty) so over time this will probably work out closer to $3-3.50 CPM...

12-05-2001, 01:04 AM
Originally posted by cyburrr
Is there any way to delay the pop?

I'd have a higher CTR if I could time it for when folks were already at or near the end of my page.

If you have long pages you can set it to pop at the bottom of the page. (without the jumping stuff).
This way when the visitor come to the bottom he is faces with a overlay popup on the content.
He must look on it before he close it in order to watch the rest of the content.

12-05-2001, 10:32 AM
Hey all,

Wow, Edwin, that's quite a CTR! I think in the past couple years, text link ads have been indeed pulling better than banners. While I do think surfers in general have "banner burn", where they have seen so many that they don't really notice them anymore, I think there's a different psychology on the text link -- it seems more genuine. I also think a lot of the success can be attributed to your targeting the ad to the specific audience. Warming up the lead always helps on click throughs, so topical ads will naturally pull a lot better.

Steve, can't wait to hear the success/failure of the new textbox!

12-05-2001, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by Scuba

If you have long pages you can set it to pop at the bottom of the page. (without the jumping stuff).

Thanks :)
Would I need to edit the code?

12-05-2001, 05:04 PM
I didn't look at the link to the Code Steve posted but I don't think it will be complicated to modefy it to pop at the botom of the page.

12-06-2001, 06:32 AM
Just to shere my resoults with one of my text banners.

the banner is close to standard size, about 500PX on 100PX.
In the banner is a small picture of the product being downloaded from the merchent site.
Rest of the banner is text with two links embaded. Same product but two models. (Black and silver) . this is why on each banner view CJ register 2 impressions.

The CTR is 1.7% but since it's being registerd as two impressions even thogh there can be only one click I think it's more correct to see it as 3.4% CTR ;) and Plz correct me if I am wrong.....

O yea,
The Product is a Set-Top DVD recorder that you can use like normal VHS Video player only record on DVD rated at close to 800$ :D
Now I wait to see the convertion ratio :angel:

12-06-2001, 10:17 PM
I just wanted to congratulate Edwin on his success.

I have been using a similar approach (text boxes with ads) for a while. Sometimes it helps not to label it as an ad and to put in different places.

Coincidentally, I am also using text links for eFax (I have 2 links on the page) in a similar way. $0.05 on the clicks are okay, but once you get sales it starts to add up - and it really isn't specific to eFax, I have the same experience with many other programs.

CJ says stats are offline, but I'll post my eFax numbers when they come back.

I have also developed a new (well okay not that new) variant of pop-ups that I'm trying on one of my sales site. If it works, I'll post the details.

12-07-2001, 08:41 AM
My eFax numbers. I have a huge chunk of text on 1 page which contains 2 affiliate text links - and seems to count as 2 impressions (even though it's logically only 1 ad) - so you should probably doubly the raw EPM and CTR

Anyway here they are

Dec 2001:
CTR = 11.8% (or 23.6% ?)
CR = 5.6%
EPM = $8.03 (or $16.06 ?)
EPC = $6.79

Nov 2001:
CTR = 11.3% (or 22.6% ?)
CR = 5.3%
EPM = $1.56 (or $3.12?)
EPC = $1.38

I think the numbers are skewed because I *think* the way this works is that it generates a lead first ($0.05) when the user signs up for a trial, and then a sale several days later if they like it ($9 always in my experience). This would mean that at the start there was no people in trial mode, and no sales would occur in early Nov - which is what seems to have happened

The number of impressions/visitors involved in this measurement are comparatively small, but I think still statistically valid

12-07-2001, 08:00 PM
It seems that Edwin has a significant advantage that many other webmasters don't have, though: His site's visitors are people looking for free e-mail, and his ads are from merchants that pay for people who sign up for free e-mail services.

I.e. his affiliate programs offer exactly what his site is about. Webmasters of Entertainment websites can't do that...

12-07-2001, 09:31 PM
Actually, I think you're missing the point. The ads match the content of my site because I spent A LOT of time tracking down matching ads! But what I wanted to show people is that effort of that nature CAN BE REWARDING!

In the case of an entertainment site, it's much easier!

If you have a page on Meg Ryan (for instance) then you can link to her posters, videos, etc. You need to make the effort to create specific "Meg Ryan" links of course, not link to the front page of the poster/video/etc store, but that's about it...

Repeat for each featured star, and you'll be fine.

Or am I misunderstanding the term "entertainment"?

12-07-2001, 10:58 PM
WildComputer, do you have a feel for how long it took before you started seeing those paid signups from eFax? I've been getting the $0.05 signups for about 3 weeks now and have sent them over 150 new users, so I guess I'm due to see some soon...

12-08-2001, 12:46 AM
Originally posted by Edwin
If you have a page on Meg Ryan (for instance) then you can link to her posters, videos, etc. You need to make the effort to create specific "Meg Ryan" links of course, not link to the front page of the poster/video/etc store, but that's about it...

Well, let's take a "Meg Ryan pictures" site, for example. A visitor to that site wants to download pictures of Meg Ryan for free. I don't think there is going to be an affiliate program that pays for people who click through to download pictures of Meg Ryan for free...

Yes, they can sell posters etc., but the conversion ratio is not going to be as good as EmailAddresses.com, where visitors looking to get e-mail accounts for free are directed to affiliate programs for that.

12-08-2001, 02:02 AM
The other factor is the amount-per-action... Signups to the free email service pay just $0.25. If you sold a few posters or CDs you'd earn many times that from one transaction.

Out of interest, is there anyone who IS running an entertainment-type site with very targeted TEXT ads, each one of which was selected for maximum "fit" with the page it appears on?

If so, perhaps you could share your metrics and success rate, just like many people on this thread have...

12-08-2001, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by Edwin
WildComputer, do you have a feel for how long it took before you started seeing those paid signups from eFax? I've been getting the $0.05 signups for about 3 weeks now and have sent them over 150 new users, so I guess I'm due to see some soon...

According to CJ transaction report, I recorded my first efax lead on 11/6. First eFax sale on 11/28. I'm not getting eFax sales every day, but they do appear on several dates, so I'm not sure if they batch them in, or email their trial users with reminders etc.

Sorry I wasn't clear earlier on the amounts of the sales - $9 sale, $5 commission, shows in the report

For November eFax, I have 38% as many number of sales as number of leads
For December, so far, I have 4% as many number of sales as number of leads

12-10-2001, 08:52 PM

I see that your home page pop (Tip of the day) is no longer involuntary and you have changed to a button located on the left which says " Enable Tip of the day" which I assume sets a persistent cookie.



Very interesting.

12-10-2001, 09:38 PM

That's part of the functionality in the script - I just stuck it on my site :)

If you uncheck the Show tips box then you get the little Enable button instead. If you click the Enable button you've basically turned the popup back on (it will pop up next visit with the checkbox checked again)

Hope that makes sense!

Incidentally, the box may look fun but it's not very effective. I've sent 363 visitors through very TARGETED links to Amazon.com and they bought... nothing at all!

01-08-2002, 09:54 AM
Well, it's been a few weeks... but so far, NONE of my *218* free eFax leads have converted to paying customers.

That's such a low success rate that I wonder if I was somehow sending the visitors to the wrong place, especially given WildComputer's figures.

WildComputer, could you perhaps PM me the address of the page where you have the eFax link so that I can take a look at where it "lands" on their site?

(NOTE: Even though I only had free signups at $0.05 each, this still worked out to $2.70 CPM so I'm not too disappointed...)

01-08-2002, 10:22 AM

There were no drop downs/popups for the interesting Offer links(amazon links) like I'd seen before.
Probably you just pulled em off, or were working on the server !

01-08-2002, 05:51 PM
I pulled the box since I sent them nearly 500 visitors from targeted ads, but no sales...

... though of course that could be because Amazon "kindly" offered me $10 since 2 of the 4 links I was running were badly formatted due to incorrect info on their site :(

01-08-2002, 06:32 PM
As said before I have created a "Text Banner" with two links directing to two books at Amazon.
My site get lot's of trafic from people looking to learn how to create a DVD. (Not free DviX).
The books are Very targeted toward this people.

Impressions 14000
Clicks 285
CTR 2%
Sells 8
CR 2.8%

I get over 1.2% on a second very targeted banner I created that have both text and a small picture in it.
Problem is that this is a very expencive product so no sells yet. :(

A picture worth a 1000 words, But I think that in some cases a small Text link can say much more. :angel:

01-09-2002, 04:07 AM
Good idea Edwin,

I have also explored new ways of publishing (and getting high CTR)

Have a look at www.boovietoons.com you will see what I mean.

I'm also working on creating banner that get minimum 5% CTR on my sites (depending on the place I get more than 10% CTR)

What's funny is that I was promoting a program with a text link and I was getting a CTR lower than 0,1 % !

I created a banner and put the exact same text in it and I now have a CTR close to 10 %. Revenues have also gone up dramatically.

That's because of my website design.

01-10-2002, 03:22 PM
I run a small news section at my site and when ever possible I attach a text link to the news, Somthing like "Buy this product from amazon now"

Last night I added a small thing with a link and curently getting over 10% CTR.
As it run less then one day it's still hard to tell but look promising :D