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Testing the effectiveness of contextual advertising of a single site

by admin

The sites that I develop and maintain are almost all non-commercial and quite narrowly focused.They do not pursue the goal of making money, including through advertising. However, they themselves are sometimes advertised. The desire to achieve huge numbers of attendance, of course, no:first, the budget is minimal and more like a test, and secondly, the main streams of visitors are going as returns from other sites. That is, advertising is taken as an additional tool, no more than that. And we decided just to check what good will come out of contextual advertising.
Specifically, for four months (long, but very leisurely), we have been testing the ability to advertise one of the sites in Yandex.Direkt , Google AdWords and VKontakte (from early December 2008 to March 2009). The choice of contextual advertising systems was limited by available funds (all investments – the creators of the project, not aimed at making money) and the availability of certain means of payment (no American credit card :).
The most effective advertising platform in the long term (in terms of price/quality ratio) was Yandex.Direct, the most expensive (but effective!) – Google AdWords, the most controversial in terms of results – VKontakte.

Google AdWords

Experience with Google was the shortest: he quickly ate all the money (which he also had to transfer through Sberbank, because Yandex.Money it then did not take, and available credit card did not want to eat …), did not choke and demanded a raise.
On the other hand, there was no attempt to make a long campaign – just a trial run. Quickly came to a conclusion : the most effective in terms of the number of people who went to the site, but also the most expensive per visitor


The attempt to use the resources of VKontakte was shortly after the launch of the ad system there. So, on the one hand, I had to constantly resent the incomprehensible interface, on the other hand, I had to correspond with Yandex.Money, because the payment on VKontakte did not pass. It turned out that the problem was on the side of VKontakte, which automatically generates all the details and does not even allow me to copy and paste them manually. By evening everything was working, and the payment – finally – went through.
First, an advertising campaign was launched for literally a few thousand people of the target audience. And it worked quite well, attracting people to the group (for they did not advertise the site itself there). Then the system was expanded to include most graduates and students of specialized universities and (to a lesser extent) secondary specialized institutions – of those represented in this social network.
The conclusion was ambiguous: in principle, a certain number of people is more effective to attract the usual invitations to the group. Free of charge. Minus – not everyone reads these invitations (I personally maximum I look through them when quite a lot is piled up. And delete). But the number of transfers to the site itself is small. In fact, cost of transfers to the site from VKontakte (counting the losses – that is, the transition simply to the group) is not much less than pre-crisis Yandex.Direkta and rather close to Google AdWords Despite the cheapest price per click and no penalties for a very low CTR.
The thing is, ads show up on a lot of pages, and not everyone sees them. Especially now that they have become commonplace. If you flip through a photo album, you see a lot of ads. Literally on every page with a picture – and as a result, you just can’t physically look at them. From here low CTR On the other hand, the clicks at first often came from sheer interest. I, too, can sometimes click on an ad that’s funny or just a little weird, even if it can’t interest me in any way.
In the end, it was decided to shut down this campaign for ineffectiveness : expensive and pointless. People click on the ads, but undercurrently treat it as spam. But if they saw the same thing in their friends’ feeds (i.e. someone’s friends joined the right group), then the chances of them being adequately interested are incomparably higher. It’s easier to invite personaln o (within a particular audience this is quite possible).


Turned out to be the best solution in our case. First of all, The ability to squeeze out the most out of an advertising campaign, even if you’re not an advertising professional: correctly working autocompletions, once can set up the best parameters for the campaign themselves. I used this opportunity, as a result I did not agree with all the options (they were certainly more effective, but not always honest, my conscience tortured …), but almost all the developments successfully used. True, more effective ads was another, created and positioned after studying the results of the first week (as a result, there are two different ads in an advertising campaign).
Secondly, it is enough to sane cost clicks. It "settled down", however, only after the trial-and-error (manually and automatically) removal of unsuccessful keywords.
Finally, stability : flow of visitors from Direct is consistent, predictable, and fairly inexpensive.
Plus, of course, there are very nice statistics (Yandex.Metrika) 🙂

a little to the side

It is possible and necessary to use contextual advertising for almost everyone. But its effectiveness still depends very much on the budget and the specific target audience. In our case, there were two options: go for narrow professional audience (which was done because of small funds) or trying to reach a broader audience (for there are quite a few people outside the narrow caste of professionals who come by other means), but accept the fact that there will be a lot of volleys from the cannon over sparrows. In fact, the most effective option for us in the current situation is banner advertising. But with her problem is rather that there are no other Russian-language sites relevant topics, people from which are not attracted by other means (ie free of charge and the chain of dating). And we did not get into English-speaking ones for financial reasons (for example, Last.fm would probably give us good results).
The advantage of Yandex.Direct is most likely due to the specifics of its context: not the context of the site, but the context of the latest search queries. In our case, it turned out to be somewhat more important due to the binding rather to the interests of the user than to his immediate immediate needs.
UPD on comments :
The average cost per click on JD was 16 cents, on individual ads – from 3 cents to 19 (it was unfortunate, though…). In the process gradually decreased (while unsuccessful keywords were removed and so on)
Conversion was counted only in transitions, because everything else is extremely difficult to count (no registration, activity – listening to audio – may well be limited to a few pages, because the information presented immediately in the open). That is, depending on the pages enough and 2, and even one main (if a person after that will go to YouTube, on Scribd or Last.fm, or just contacted by mail or off-line, or he just returned to it again to listen).
The average number of views is 2.8 (ad visitors), 5-10 (manual invitation via forums/vkontakte, etc. – That is not through impersonal advertising), well, 1-2 on random visitors (who came by "left" keywords from search engines).
Due to the specifics of the site – 5-6 pages per visit can be considered already very large. It would be good to count the time spent on the site (it is very indicative in our case), but after checking it was decided to give up on this parameter: it is considered the weather on Mars. Not always, but in most cases.

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