Full Service Ad Management for Forums?

woody

eternal noobie
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
209
Got all that. My nearly 1.3M pagviews may generate $25 on a really good day.

If your current effort is 100% AdSense, then it's no surprise that a large ad network wouldn't be interested. These networks want to take your current revenue successes and improve upon them. AdSense is easy and boring.


My site grossed $150k in 2011 (Display, affiliate, direct, subscription) Display alone that year was $120k+. I was working my ass off learning passbacks with GAM, tiered ad structures, studying and testing every possible means of getting the most value for the ad impression, while keeping the registered and supporting members happy with their ad load. I then killed a few years in the early days of prebid structures, and learning that process and how to make it work for my networks and membership. As a result, my 2016 gross revenue was more than double 2011.

I failed a ridiculous number of times, with zero revenue days when I'd screw up, networks closing my account (ie: OpenX), others threatening to close if I didn't offer enough impressions (Rubicon and AppNexus), plus dozens of others who "claimed" they would fit in my ad structure with improved revenues and ad competition, but miserably failing over a week or a month and me finally giving up, only to not get paid at all.

(just looked, I've experimented with over 40 ad networks in the past 15ish years)

AdThrive looked at my successful implementation and claimed they could be better. I wasn't convinced, considering the size of the cut they take. Clearly (and happily), I was wrong :)

I have a spreadsheet that tracks daily numbers for the past two years, and yearly numbers back to 2004. I grossed $780 that year, BTW :) Currently, my gross pageviews are between 4.5 and 5.5m monthly....AT only places ads on 1.7-2.0m pageviews.
 
Last edited:

bar22

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
14
$25 per day is on the smaller side so my guess is that was the issue. If it's not one of the above issues it's usually down to $$$
 

LostAddmin

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
12
If your current effort is 100% AdSense, then it's no surprise that a large ad network wouldn't be interested. These networks want to take your current revenue successes and improve upon them. AdSense is easy and boring.


My site grossed $150k in 2011 (Display, affiliate, direct, subscription) Display alone that year was $120k+. I was working my ass off learning passbacks with GAM, tiered ad structures, studying and testing every possible means of getting the most value for the ad impression, while keeping the registered and supporting members happy with their ad load. I then killed a few years in the early days of prebid structures, and learning that process and how to make it work for my networks and membership. As a result, my 2016 gross revenue was more than double 2011.

I failed a ridiculous number of times, with zero revenue days when I'd screw up, networks closing my account (ie: OpenX), others threatening to close if I didn't offer enough impressions (Rubicon and AppNexus), plus dozens of others who "claimed" they would fit in my ad structure with improved revenues and ad competition, but miserably failing over a week or a month and me finally giving up, only to not get paid at all.

(just looked, I've experimented with over 40 ad networks in the past 15ish years)

AdThrive looked at my successful implementation and claimed they could be better. I wasn't convinced, considering the size of the cut they take. Clearly (and happily), I was wrong :)

I have a spreadsheet that tracks daily numbers for the past two years, and yearly numbers back to 2004. I grossed $780 that year, BTW :) Currently, my gross pageviews are between 4.5 and 5.5m monthly....AT only places ads on 1.7-2.0m pageviews.
Teach me Obi-wan ...


$25 per day is on the smaller side so my guess is that was the issue. If it's not one of the above issues it's usually down to $$$
I blame myself for a lot of that. I'm a software guy, and I tend to spend more time adding features than focusing on the traffic/ads. I literally just turned adsense on and dropped the code in. Thats why I was looking for a Full Service place to just handle it.

Speaking of turning on Adsense and letting it run. Can you really get significant profit increase by filteriing out certain categories? I just left them all on thinking .. if that Astrology ad (nothing to do with my site) pays well and the user was just looking at astrology stuff let it ride. Or should you really disable all categories not related to your site?
 

ThornInYourSide

Participant
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
Messages
54
This post is really gonna be a thorn in your side.

As a user, I totally, 100% despise ads in any form on any forum. I understand the need to pay bills, but I take extreme efforts to block ALL ads including the so-called good, non-intrusive ads. If I can't block them, I don't return to the site/forum.

Decades back, in the early days of the web, ads weren't as offensive. They were generally small, static tiles or banners off to the side or below the board. They were mostly related to the board topic and were likely manually selected by the admins. That kind of thing I could handle. I never blocked ads because they never blocked my view of the site or forum content.

Then came the proliferation of animations, video, popups, popovers, popunders, slide ins, and all other sorts of movement that obscured the forum content. As if that wasn't bad enough, there wre giant size ads and the content was in no way related to the forum (why are feminine hygiene products displayed on tractor forums)?

I've seen all sorts of complaints from users about the ads they see. They complain to the forum admins who shrug their shoulders and say 'that's up to the ad company, we have no control'. Then FIRE that ad company!!!!! Admins should have absolute control of all portions of all ads ... content, subject, size, placement, media type .... ALL of it. If the ad companies won't grant that, find another ad company.

Forum software packages should have absolute controls that strictly limit the size and placement of any ad from any company. Admins should be able to select a set of parameters and NO ad company should be technically able to over ride them. If an Admin wants only ads of certain dimenions, that's all that shouold be placed. Anything else should not display, no matter what the ad company sends.

And now we have anti ad blocker nags.

Get a clue! If the ads weren't obtrusive and offensive, we would not need ad blockers.
 

bar22

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
14
How do you suggest forum owners get compensated for the long hours they put into building and curating forums? I agree, admins shouldn't go overboard in plastering ads everywhere and certain categories could be blocked. The site needs to work for both parties. But if all users blocked all ads (as you say you do) forum owners would go broke.
 

ThornInYourSide

Participant
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
Messages
54
As a user, I've gotten to a point where I don't care if a site makes money. Selfish, yes, I know. But it was brought on by the abuse of ads that rendered sites unreadable or in many cases would crash a browser. I've seen sites where there were as many ads as other content. I've seen sites where ads actively interfered with content and couldn't be closed. I've read complaints about ads that played videos that couldn't be interrupted or closed until the ad finished playing. My hatred of ads is a direct result of sites using too many ads. As I stated above, a few, well placed ads directly on point of the forum/site would be fine. I could handle that.

If an Admin wants to run ads, I can understand that, but they MUST have total control and not let the ad content provider make decisions about what displays where.

To me, ads, excessive, misplaced or off topic ads in particular have ruined too many sites.

Bottom line, if ads were better managed, we would not have to block them. Poorly managed ads can result in less revenue becuase they can drive user/viewers away.

If I sound angry, it's because I am.
 

LostAddmin

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
12
:LOL: Have a Snickers man.

I don't think you're telling anybody anything new. Admins, that care, do control the size and type of ads.

We get there are selfish people like yourself that want their cake and eat it too. If you don't want to help the admins that take care of a site you use it's best you stay off them like you said. Sounds like you wouldn't be missed much. Just know that while you're not helping them make money for their efforts, you're helping the adblocking company make money. You know you literally installed tracking software and they selling your info .... all under the guise of being good and helpful. Oh and most adblockers can be paid to allow ads or 'not see them'. Sounds like you picked the right people to help out.

Kill your adblocker. Enable no tracking features. Stop going to sites with ads that make your hooha twitch.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,264
I have to admit I'm with ThornInYourSide on this one. I hate ads on forums. I don't use them on mine and I use ad blockers so I don't have to see them on forums I visit. And no, I don't really care if the forum loses a few cents because I don't see ads I'm not interested in.

If you are running a forum as a business or feel you really need to make money from your hobby forum, there are other, less intrusive ways to do it, like subscriptions or donation buttons. You can even contact vendors who are relevant to your forum and offer them their own space on your forum where they can discuss their products with people who are genuinely interested in them. Pretty much anything is better than slapping random, irritating adverts on your forum.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,121
Actually I think it's the forum owners who want their cake and have it too to some degree... if it weren't for the people posting, there wouldn't be any reason for people to come back and view the ads. So it's kind of symbiotic in that respect.

And not everyone wants to make money out of their forums, in fact I would go as far as to suggest the majority don't want to run them as a business and at best just want the hosting paid for. There are a surprising number of forums that refuse to run ads because it would ruin their aesthetic, and that's fine too.

On the flip side, I posit that having a non-advertising payment route as well is good; if I like your site (especially if I contribute) I am prepared to put a few bucks in each month, which I suspect would be more than you'd get from any adverts you did show to me.

Meanwhile, I'd note that there are some adblockers that do indeed behave as described but colour me surprised when an advertising-based site tells you that they're all bad. They're not. uBlock Origin in particular looks to be safe, or at least was last time I actually audited the code because it's written in JavaScript and therefore can review it for myself without needing to rely on biased sources trying to swing me in their favour.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,751
I don't have an issue with advertising until it becomes intrusive or tries to pass itself off as content which 90% of it seems to do.

Hmm, perhaps I do have a problem with it after all :D

Actually the 10% that is more tollerable tends to be the type more likely to be found of forums anyway.
 

ThornInYourSide

Participant
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
Messages
54
if it weren't for the people posting, there wouldn't be any reason for people to come back and view the ads. So it's kind of symbiotic in that respect.
And that's pretty much my point. Bad ads drive people away or to the use of blockers, which defeats the purpose of ads.
 

LostAddmin

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
12
Reporting back after a month of using Snigel ....

Went from about $350/mo average running 100% Adsense to over $2k in Aug running 100% Snigel! So I owe somebody here a beer or three lol

We played with diffrent ad types all month, so I feel it could creep to mid $2k now that we're done playing. I've got pretty minimal ads. Leaderboard and footer for non paying members, guests get an additional 2 sidebar ads. They have a few more ad types set up, like in content ads, but I'm happy with how they are already not intrusive at this point.
 

Hostboard

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 18, 2019
Messages
49
Adult content makes up a large portion of my site. Knowing this we custom coded our ad placement software to be able to disallow adverts from being displayed in these areas should there be any push back. Unfortunately to date no ad company has accepted us and the AdSense is running in their limp mode due to content. I'll keep my fingers crossed for finding someone...

Total requests last month (CloudFlare): 13.5M
 

K730

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
203
It's easy to be principled when you operate a website that neither costs a lot to keep online nor has any potential to make any considerable money.

The virtue signallers would slap ads all over their forums without thinking twice for the right price.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,121
The virtue signallers would slap ads all over their forums without thinking twice for the right price.
Never done it yet, not in 15 years of running sites even when the outlay was several hundred bucks a month just in hosting.

Some of us do have scruples left.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,264
No, I wouldn't. I have that option but I don't believe in slapping ads on my forums. It's called principles.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,751
None of the forums I own currently run ads but I have done so in the past to help fund more rack space.
 

LostAddmin

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
12
No, I wouldn't. I have that option but I don't believe in slapping ads on my forums. It's called principles.
lol, try being open and transparent and you'll be amazed how well they are received. I started by telling the members what the costs are to run it and a significant portion of them killed their ad blockers for the site or paid for an ad free membership. The surplus went to giveaways which are always well received excitement on the site. Even after that I still have people telling me to startup a Patreon account. That didn't make a ton of sense so I created more expensive memberships and people buy them. I'm blown away but some do. Now that I have this surplus from the new ad system, I plan to get some real marketing and graphics people to help grow the site. They are very appreciative knowing that.

No doubt you'll always have a few of Those people that hate it all have have to chime in. Like people posting "Don't run ads" in a topic specifically discussing ad agencies..... Welcome to the Internet right?!? lol

So I've found ....
  1. Use Minimal ads.
  2. Don't kill the user's experience.
  3. Be honest and transparent why they are there.
  4. Don't be greedy and they won't care if you make a little profit
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,121
So by offering alternatives to ads you sound like you made more money... which is kind of what some of us have been suggesting for a while. Ads are not the only way to sustainable profits.

Which I think is a perfectly valid discussion to have in the context of ad agencies because a lot of people assume ads are the only way to make money - they're really not.
 
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