The report is live!


We’re happy to announce that we’ve finally released a free report that we’ve been working on for months.

It’s called “The Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Ads for Design Sites.”

It started based on some internal conversations we were having when we were trying to come up with a good answer to one of the most common questions we got from new advertisers – “what works?”

To figure out a good answer, we started researching.

We went through the performance data of ALL the ads that ran on Design*Sponge over the past year, digging through the data for trends.

The key questions we set out to answer were:

  • What did the ads that performed the best have in common?
  • What did the ads that didn’t do so well have in common?

You can get a copy of it here.

(You might also be able to get it from that form on the right…)

Read it, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Thanks!

The Design*Sponge Ad Team

Before You Get Started: Traffic Sources

Visits are listed in the top line graph.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my background is in buying advertising and managing campaigns, not in selling advertising. And one of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve been managing the Desing*Sponge ad program for the past few years is that there tends to be a major knowledge gap between professional media buyers and the average small business owner buying ads to promote own business.
The good news is that the information you need to bridge the gap is out there, and one of the purposes of this blog is to help share that information.

In this series, “Before You Get Started” we’ll discuss things to know and/or think about before you get started in Online Advertising.

Today’s topic is Traffic Sources.

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CURRENT TRAFFIC:

1. how much traffic you’re getting

We’ll talk more about setting campaign goals in a future post, but an extremely common goal for online advertising is generating traffic to a website. For today’s article, we’ll assume that’s the reason we’re considering advertising online in the first place.

It stands to reason that before you start spending money to generate more traffic to your website, you should know how much traffi you’re already getting. The first thing to do is to make sure you have Google Analytics installed. It’s easy to install and it’s free, and it’s the most accurate gauge of your site’s traffic. It’s also incredibly powerful, and can give you just about any data that you’d need.

For now, the only data you need is how many “visits” you’re getting per month.  [I’m not going to focus on “unique visits” for the moment, because when we measure advertising, we’ll be mostly looking at how many “clicks” your campaign got, and there’s really no metric called “unique clicks” – a click is a click. So for our purposes, we’ll be equating a “click” to a “visit”.  If you have any questions about these terms, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll address them there.]

If you know how many visits you get on average, per day, then we can start trying to figure out how many more visits you need to start meeting your business goals. The way we do this, is by learning thing #2…

2. how much your traffic is worth

Let’s assume for the moment that you run an e-commerce site.  You look at your Google Analytics and see that you get 25,000 visits per month.  Then you look at your PayPal account (or whoever you use for your merchant account) and you see that you make, on average, about $5,000 in revenue per month. That means we can estimate that each visit to your site is worth approximately $0.20.

That’s valuable information! Now you know that if you can bring in similar quality traffic (more on that in a moment) for less than $0.20 per visit (or “click”) your ad campaign will be profitable.  You’ve now got some good benchmarks (or numbers you can use for comparison) for your next campaign.

If your cost per click stays below $0.20, and the quality of the traffic you buy is consistent with your current quality, you should buy as much traffic at whatever price you can get at that price.  Why? Because every click you buy makes you money.

A couple of points about this:

  • the quality of the traffic you buy may not be the same as what you’re currently getting, it may be better or it may be worse, but even if it’s worse, it can still be profitable if you can get it at the right price.
  • depending on where you choose to advertise, you may not be buying the media on a cost-per-click basis.  You may pay by the day, week, or month, or you may pay by the impression (or each time the ad is shown), or some other arrangement.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t calculate the cost of each click you get from your campaign (especially if you have Google Analytics installed – because you’ll be able to see all the clicks that came in from your campaign).

Once you know how much traffic you’re getting, and how much it’s worth, there’s only one piece left to know…

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Meet the Team: Aaron (aka AC)


Hi there, I’m Aaron, and I’m the Director of Advertising for Design*Sponge.  Readers of Design*Sponge know me as “AC”.

I want to welcome you to the Building A Better Advertiser blog.  We set it up so that we could share information that would make the world of online advertising a little less scary for beginners.  If you’re already experienced, we’ll also be sharing information that will allow you to take your advertising efforts to the next level.

I’ve been working in online advertising for the past five years.  I started out doing what is called Search Marketing (also known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC), and I worked at a digital marketing agency managing large scale campaigns (thousands of keywords and hundreds of thousands of dollars of spend).

After a few years, I began managing Display campaigns (also known as banner ads, or the type of non-text ads you see on websites throughout the internet) for clients.  I was amazed to learn how much technology and methodology goes into running a professional advertising campaign.

My involvement with Design*Sponge’s Advertising began in 2007, and it started as something of a side project for me.  As the site’s traffic grew, Grace began to get more and more requests for information about advertising, and it was distracting her from what she loves, which is creating content for Design*Sponge.

I had no experience in Advertising Sales.

Continue Reading →