Paid advertising

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,113
So, as mentioned elsewhere, am playing around with a roleplay forum - it's technically live but we're still in the single-digits of posters right now. No big surprise; it's a niche within a niche within a niche - but active enough so figured there would be room for us.

Anyway.

Co-admin and I are talking about advertising - does anyone here have any experiences they can share about paying for Google advertising, Facebook advertising etc., whether it worked out for them, how much money they threw at it?

Like, I'm willing to spend a not-unreasonable amount on advertising, but some of the anecdata I've found suggests Google advertising isn't worth it unless you're pumping in 4-5 figures worth of advertising and honestly, I'm not there, that's not where I see this working out.

(I have other venues for advertising, but wondered if people had any experiences they could share of advertising on Google or Facebook or anywhere else, really)
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,573
I have a similar challenge.

Money isn't the issue for me. How/where to direct it is.
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
549
I tried Google and Facebook advertsing years ago, and with my very limited budget it did not work.

I tried to get into contact with companies who could place banner ads etc, but i had no luck with actually getting any
Even pay for click!
 

R0binHood

Habitué
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,563
Facebook could be great you could target group members of groups in your niche, but last time I checked (a couple years ago) they wouldn’t let you do this.

There’s ways around it though, such as creating a video. Uploading it to the the group, and retargeting viewers who watch x seconds of the vid.

There may have been more to it, but that’s the gist of it.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
684
Not sure why I can't tag him but the only good, reliable experience had fixer.

His threads were a delight to read as he experimented with ads and so on. I would read through his threads and get a grasp of things, there were a lot of useful information. Even though his ideology actually was against my people/culture/religion, I miss him and his threads on here. Actually, this site is pretty much dead without him. He delivered the only useful tips and guides.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,113
I don't know exactly what happened but I know he got doxxed by his own site and got rid of it after a fashion (before things went wild in January)
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
684
Doesn't matter what happened to his site. He just had so many useful threads on here. But I believe the moderation team took care of it quickly because of his site and now we can't find his threads anymore.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,113
I think you're missing my point: being doxxed by his own site gave him one hell of a reason not to contribute here or anywhere else after something like that.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,741
His site and it's contents had far reaching, highly negative repercussions. It became the subject of mainstream press articles that were published in The Guardian (UK), Rolling Stone and many other publications. The negative attention resulted in the owner distancing himself from the site.

There have been calls for the supporting infrastructure to ban the platform from their services.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
684
Pete zappaDPJ

I think both of you are missing my point. Yes, I acknowledge what you guys are saying about his own site. I got that. And it is no surprise he is not contributing here or anywhere else anymore. What happened to him and to his site happened, gotcha.

My point is a different one. I talked about his useful threads on TAZ. They can no longer be found through his profile. That got nothing to do with what happened to his site. They were useful resources about how to operate a site and like if ads helped growing your forum or not. That right-wing stuff had nothing to do with his threads on here. That happened over on his site and he got the boot. I am talking about his contributions on TAZ where he gave insights about ads. Like exactly that type of answers you are looking for Pete. Just find his threads if you can, they will answer your questions.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,113
His posts aren’t removed, I did find some of his content from 2019 about Facebook advertising. The only issue is you can’t “easily” find it from his profile but honestly, search yielded plenty of hits, just nothing from 2020 that I could see and the world has changed in that time... ;)
 

Wes of StarArmy

Adherent
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
426
I, too, run a roleplaying site and I've been dipping my feet into Facebook Advertising because its incredibly precise targeting is something no one else really seems to offer. For my first ad I targeted people who where in the US who liked both military science fiction and roleplaying games. I put in like $60 and got maybe 3-4 members. Thousands more people know my sites exists now but if you break it down per member gained it's actually kind of expensive to get people to join a site. Still I felt a lot better than using the Google black box where you don't really know who is click what and where your ads are. I was able to see the actual people who liked my ad and they were real people and some of them were really cool and I was like "I could be such friends with this person!"

By the way, another fun way to advertise your site, that has worked for my RP, is to commission art of some of character portraits from a popular artist (e.g. has thousands of fans who like sci-fi characters or whatever) and ask them to link your site in the description of the artwork when they post it. You can also share the art on all your social media platforms.

Anything you do that's shareable or newsworthy or great content is kind of the fuel you need to promote your community. People respond to your promotion efforts way better if they're "news" or "updates" rather than a straight-up ad.
 

Mysti

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
23
I was able to successfully build a forum using Google AdWords back in the day. I did spend the time setting up goals so I could see which keywords converted to registrations. I found that some keywords would bring a lot of people, but they would read the article I had them land on, and never look at anything else on the site, much less spend the time to register. I used Google Analytics to see what organic search terms were leading people to my site. All of this took a lot of time, but it was worth it to be able to refine the ads and get it to a point where I was regularly bringing in new members and growing the forum.

I never worried about whether or not my ad showed on the first page and never spent more than five cents for a click. Most of them were in the one to two cent range. I had AdSense on the forum and never made enough in AdSense to cover what I spent in AdWords, but my goal was just to recoup some of the costs of bringing in new members.

Have not tried Facebook advertising. It seemed a bit expense considering what I was used to spending per click.

I have been away from forums for about six years and am just now coming back. I have one forum setup and was all set to use AdWords, but I found that cryptocurrency is not allowed in Google unless you are a certified exchange. Looks like a lot of rules have gotten stricter in the last five years. I still think the principal of setting goals, testing keywords, and keeping your spend per click low are good.
 
Top