SEO & Marketing

Earning from Forums (Part 2)

In the first article, I looked at the issues associated with earning money from your forum and Adsense as a solution to this. In this article, I will explore Private Advertising. Private advertising is where buyers purchase ad spaces “directly” from the buyer (but often using a marketplace middleman). They may purchase a set amount of impressions/clicks or they may choose to pay a flat monthly fee to buy an ad slot on your forum. Private advertising gives you control over who can advertise on your site. You have the ability to restrict your site to reputable advertisers only. Selling ad spaces privately will only work for sites with a decent amount of quality traffic in a high earning niche with numerous advertisers.

Earnings Potential:

Private Advertising can be more profitable than CPC/CPM/CPA publisher networks. In May 2013, I noticed that WebmasterPeak.com (a forum with around 14,000 posts) had sold a number of adverts. They had a high amount of traffic because of the Search Engine Optimization that had obviously been performed on the site, but a VERY low amount of forum activity. Before fees, they were making $2705 a month from their BuySellAds adverts.

Marketplaces:

Private Advertising marketplaces give the publisher access to a number of advertisers. They usually automate the process of measuring traffic, payment, and placing the ad on your site. For this, they will collect a fee (taking around 20-25% off the price of the ad). BuySellAds, the most established marketplace, takes a 25% fee which is less than Google Adsense which takes 33.3%. Marketplaces also allow you to have multiple ads in one slot which they will auto-rotate for you.

PublicityClerks:

PublicityClerks is owned by ForumPromotion’s very own Nerdie! It has lower requirements than BuySellAds, so is more suitable for a younger forum. In the past, I have used PublicityClerks and found it to be excellent. There are a sufficient number of advertisers on the marketplace. I reached the low cashout point of $25 with a couple of websites I owned for a short amount of time. The success fee is 25%.

BuySellAds:

BuySellAds is the most prominent direct ad marketplace. A number of high profile sites use BSA which gives the network a lot of credibility (such as PhoneArena). Unfortunately, I have never had a suitable site for BuySellAds (either not enough traffic or not original enough content). They have a strict requirement of 50,000 impressions per month to be accepted unless you are a web developer with a good history on the network. Your site must be reasonably unique. BuySellAds has a success fee of 25%. BSA has a $20 minimum PayPal cashout.

Direct Ad Sales:

An option is to sell to advertisers without the middleman. As the BuySellAds graphic shows above, this is likely to be time consuming. You will avoid the 25% fee though, and if you have a well-trafficked site with potential advertisers abound, then you should have no problem avoiding a marketplace.

If you want to automate the process, OIOPublisher is a good option. For $47, OIOPublisher has a number of options:

  • CPM/CPC and Cost-Per Day (or week/month)
  • Banner and Text Ads
  • Weekly Advertiser Reports
  • A number of Payment Options
  • Order Page and Admin Panel

Forums can be a good way to pick up advertisers. You should include advertising stats and pricing (Google Analytics is prefered by most ad buyers). You can list your prices in the ForumPromotion miscellaneous marketplace. Another forum to list in is the Digitalpoint marketplace.

Ad Placement & Rotation:

Although you will earn whether or not the advertiser gains any clicks or conversions, you need them to be achieving their goals with the ad slot (most likely money related) for you to benefit from a long term relationship. Place ads where they will get clicks.

Whether or not you use a marketplace, you should rotate your ads in each slot. It is much more interesting for site visitors and it will allow you to lower the prices you are charging for ads. This may increase your earnings. Rather than charging $30 for one ad slot, you may choose to sell the slot four times for $10 a piece.

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