To a forum administrator, advertising is the single most vital aspect of a community. Not advertisements which spread the word about the community, but advertisements which bring revenue into the community. Revenue is like oxygen for a forum. It allows the forum to keep alive by paying the bills. It allows the administrator to do new and unique things with the forum, which often cost money to do. It allows the administrator to purchase advertisements, services, good software, conduct contests, and allows the forum to survive the increasing bills which come with growth. Every new forum which plans to become successful must identify a means of earning revenue through advertisements.
Sponsor Ads: How to earn Revenue Through Sponsors & Marketplaces
For a forum to be appealing to advertisers, it needs several things.
An identifiable, valuable niche. Every forum has a user base. In advertising, this is called an audience. What kind of people use your forum? What types of products do they all want to buy? For example, if you have a forum about cars, you will appeal to advertisers who sell car related products. Webmaster forums will appeal to hosting providers, template designers, and other webmaster forums. A general chat forum is less valuable in this regard, because it appeals to a very broad, difficult to identify audience.
Monthly pageviews and clicks. Advertisers are interested in two statistics. Impressions and clicks. Impressions are important because impressions are the metric which advertisers use when deciding whether to advertise on your forum. Clicks are important because that is the metric which advertisers use when deciding whether or not to continue advertising with your forum.
Good Ad Placement Options. Advertisers are interested in ad clicks, and the better the ad’s placement, the more ad clicks they will receive. Header ads are more valuable than footer ads and sidebar ads, and global header ads are more valuable than those. Ads which display below the first post of a forum’s topics are perhaps the very most valuable ad, because it is hard for users to ignore these ads. The better the placement options and larger the banner sizes, the more likely people are to purchase your ads.
Promote Your Advertiser: Your advertiser will know how successful their ad is by looking at the number of clicks they receive through google analytics, or a similar service. That means that if you link to your sponsor through a forum post, and a user clicks on that link, then your sponsor won’t know the difference between that click and a click on their banner ad. For that reason, take any opportunity to mention your advertiser in discussion, particularly if you own a small forum.
Once your forum has been optimized to make the most of the above suggestions, you can see sponsor ads either to your existing forum user base (useful for webmaster forums), through an informal online marketplace such as ForumPromotion.net’s marketplace forum, or through a larger marketplace such as BuySellAds. Note that the larger marketplaces will not be useful for new or small forums. A new forum will need to sell ads through its own site or an informal marketplace, and more successful forums will find the most success by advertising through something like BuySellAds.
Keyword Ads: How to earn Revenue Through Adsense and Similar Products
Keyword-based ads can be a very high quality source of revenue. Using a service like Adsense, websites are paid through two means. Per click and per thousand views. There are two terms which you will need to learn. CPC means Cost-per-Click, and is how much you get paid per click by the ad provider. Your CPC is a function of how valuable your forum’s keywords are. If you have a forum which is all about auto-insurance, your keywords will be very, very valuable. If you have a forum which is about medieval history, then your keywords will be less valuable. Another term which you will need to learn is CPM, which means cost per 1,000 impressions. Do not be deceived by the “M,” which is not short for “Million,” but short for “Mille” as in Millimeter (a thousandth of a meter).
To make a profit using services such as Adsense, you will need to optimize the following.
Ad placement: Every time a user clicks an ad, you get paid. Therefore, ads must be visible. Header ads, and ads below the first post of a forum topic, are the most valuable.
Subject matter: Your forum’s subject matter should concern material which will involve a lot of valuable keywords. This will increase your forum’s cost-per-click and cost-per-impression values, and also the sell value of your forum.
Impressions: “Impression” is a fancy word for “Pageview.” The more page views your forum has, the most a website gets paid by the CPM rate, and the more clicks the website’s ads will (theoretically) get.
To start advertising using keywords, simply create an account with Adsense and copy their code to your forum’s template.
Which should my forum use?
Small forums should find sponsors, because they will have a small number of impressions, and sponsors will be willing to pay more for ads with small impressions than Adsense will. Larger forums will generally gain more revenue from BuySellAds or Adsense, although BuySellAds appears to be the most common of the two options for large forums.
Freely hosted forums will usually be required to go with sponsored ads rather than adsense.
Advertising is vital to the successful continuation of a forum. To advertise successfully, a forum must place ads well, have a targetable demographic, and gain as many pageviews per month as possible.