VigLink’s Tips From BlogHer Pro 2014

Last week, Viglink attended BlogHer Pro and we’re thrilled to share some of the best tips we picked up from the wonderful speakers and attendees. To kick off the conference, the BlogHer team enforced the value of influencer content showing the evolution of advertisers’ monetization strategy over the last ten years.

advertiser monetization

Know Your Value

Today, brands recognize the importance of user-generated content due to publishers strong influence across their audiences. Various publishers have the ability to develop content around a brand or product in their own voice. This is very powerful, especially to brands which now realize interest across online networks is just as important as the product they are selling. The term for brands being integrated into content where readers and users are is commonly referred to as native advertising. Along with native advertising, a couple other key topics of BlogHer Pro 2014 also included viewability and video.

Viewability is Key

Viewability isn’t a metric that all publishers have easy access to, for example Google Adsense does not provide publishers with their viewability. However, many of the BlogHer network have full confidence that will change in the near future. An ad is deemed “viewable” when an audience member is exposed to it for one full second while not scrolling the page. This is more difficult than it might seem. Follow these great key tips to help with viewability and minimize “missed opportunities”…

  1. Place ads where readers naturally pause
  2. Be cautious of installing same size ads next to eachother
  3. Speed up overall page load times
  4. Resize photos before uploading them to a post

On the contrary, there are several factors that decrease viewability such as too many ads concentrated in one place and users scrolling down the page before ads have time to load. The goal of most publishers should be ~70% viewability.

The Importance of Video

Kate Ferrara of Hearst Digital Media presented audiences with staggering statistics on video. For example, online video ad revenue will reach nearly 5 billion in 2016 up from 2.8 billion in 2014, while TV will decline 3% per year during the same time.  Additionally, content with video embedded performs 24% better than content without. One key advantage to using video is increasing audiences’ time spent on site. This is strongly considered by both Google and Facebook. Kate’s top tips for optimizing your videos include…

  1. Keep it short, 1-2 minutes
  2. Make it work without sound
  3. Pick the best still to grab the viewer
  4. Tell them what they’re watching
  5. Grab the viewer in the first two seconds

Videos over a minute are likely to perform poorly over social, and those without overlays make it difficult for viewers to engage with the video unless they use sound. When optimizing videos for Youtube write detailed metadata following keyword strategies and annotate the video with call to auctions and links to related content. To optimize for Facebook, which has 1 billion video views a day, it’s imperative to upload videos directly into the Facebook player where the video begins automatically when a user hovers over it.

Stay tuned for further tips and posts from BlogHer Pro 2014!

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Written by Hanna Fritzinger

New Bookmarklet- An Upgrade to VigLink Anywhere

Today, we are thrilled to announce an exciting upgrade to VigLink Anywhere with a simple, yet powerful bookmarklet feature. The bookmarklet lets publishers build links more quickly and efficiently, particularly when they’re intended for use in social media.

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Using the bookmarklet, you can create an Anywhere link in one click, without needing to leave the merchant’s product page.  With a second click, the URL can be converted into a Bitly link. With a third click, you can share the link directly on Facebook or Twitter, or copy it to the clipboard for use elsewhere. Sharing affiliated links on social media has never been easier!

The bookmarklet lets you choose a default Campaign for links’ revenue, and also to override it on a link-by-link basis.  Finally, the bookmarklet plays nicely with the pages it’s loaded on, going out of its way not to interfere with scripts (such as jQuery), and cleaning itself up when it’s dismissed. You can share a page and earn, all while enjoying an undisturbed browsing experience!

Download the bookmarklet today!

Eric Soli joins VigLink as Vice President of Finance

We are excited to announce our newest addition to the executive team, Eric Soli.  A veteran of the advertising technology industry with deep experience leading teams domestically and abroad for a range of companies, Eric will oversee VigLink’s finance function and work alongside the executive team to grow the company through new market opportunities.

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“Eric marks another great addition to our VigLink team,” said CEO, Oliver Roup. “His experience and skillset within the fast-growing field of advertising technology will be instrumental as we continue to evolve and scale our business models.”

“When I heard about this opportunity, I really got excited,” said Eric. “I’m looking forward to working with this talented management team that Oliver assembled and provide advertisers and product enthusiasts with additional revenue opportunities through our evolving real-time auction platform.”

Prior to joining VigLink, Eric was Vice President of Finance and Operations with advertising technology leader Zeta Interactive, which acquired his former company Adchemy Actions in 2013.  At Zeta Interactive, Eric led the integration of infrastructure and multiple operational and reporting platforms.  Eric led Finance and Operations at Adchemy Actions from 2008 through the acquisition, during which time the company grew from $28 to $60 million in revenue.

Before entering the advertising technology industry, Eric led various finance and management functions for several companies, including Catalyst Semiconductor (acq. by Cree, Inc.), Spectrian Corporation (acq. by REMEC, Inc.), Levi Strauss & Company, and Ernst and Young.

Eric holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nevada and is a Certified Public Accountant.

 

VigLink Acquires LinkSmart And Tops Up Series C to $20 Million

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Today, we are thrilled to announce the purchase of LinkSmart.  In connection with the acquisition, VigLink also received additional funding from leading VC firms Foundry Group and Costanoa Venture Capital.

This deal marks another milestone of our continued leadership in content monetization.  The primary motivation behind the transaction was VigLink and LinkSmart’s shared vision of making every link intelligent and valuable.

“Traffic is the currency of the web” said VigLink CEO, Oliver Roup. “In LinkSmart we saw a common belief in the power of links and a great opportunity to significantly grow the size and scale of our business. We are thrilled to welcome our new valued customers.”

LinkSmart’s publisher network has over a billion page views per month and includes top editorial sites such as BuddyTV and Purch.  “At LinkSmart, making our customers more successful has always been first priority.  This transaction will give access to the VigLink platform and create more revenue opportunities for our publishers while still upholding their user experience standards,” said LinkSmart CEO, Pete Sheinbaum.

Alongside the acquisition, LinkSmart backers Foundry Group and Costanoa Venture Capital topped up the VigLink Series C to $20M.  Seth Levine, Managing Director at Foundry Group will join VigLink’s Board of Directors.  “VigLink is the clear leader in content-driven commerce. We’ve been watching VigLink for a long time and I’m excited to be an investor,” said Levine.

“Live Your Passion” ft. Audizine

Enthusiast content is one of the most powerful forms of editorial content available on the web.

We work with publishers to ensure their content is as powerful as possible and carries the greatest potential influence. One of these publishers, Anthony Marino, President of Audizine, has turned his passion for Audis into a full-time job. He’s grown the site into the largest Audi automotive enthusiast community of its kind. Audizine covers a wide variety of topics from Audi related news and photos to discussion forums and classifieds. Watch the video to find out more about Anthony and how he shares his influence with thousands of readers!

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

Join our Celebration of Fierce Females!

If you’re going to be at BlogHer Pro December third and fourth, be sure to stop by our booth and say hello!  In preparation, we want to show off some amazing online female entrepreneurs. We want you to join the campaign! Simply print the card, take a picture with it and share it with us at marketing@viglink.com! We’ll have them on display at BlogHer and share them via our Facebook to tell the world what makes you so unique and fabulous.

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Written by Hanna Fritzinger

Google DoubleClick Ad Glitch Potentially Lost Publishers Millions Today

Were you online today between 9 and 10:45 a.m. ET? Did you notice anything different about the sites you were visiting? Perhaps they looked a bit less cluttered than usual. If this was something you came across, you witnessed Google’s DoubleClick ad Server was down. Instantaneously, publishers began losing out on millions of dollars in revenue. This was a large hit to many publishers as Google’s advertising platform provides them with a large portion of the earnings they bring in daily to their sites.

brake

While this was occurring, there was an aspect of the Internet that stayed exactly the same and continued to function earning publishers revenue. It has been apart of the web since the beginning and has earning potential that must not go unrecognized. It is the link. Links are an integral part of any online strategy as they seamlessly connect readers to the merchants and products they seek. In this form of marketing, the publisher writes editorial content and links to products, leaving the “advertising” to the landing page of the merchant’s site. The ad itself doesn’t exist on the publisher’s site at all.

The web without banner ads is not only more enjoyable, but allows readers to focus solely on the editorial content that publisher’s work so hard to produce. We think publishers deserve credit for sending readers where they want to go, and that’s exactly why we are delivering them value.

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

How to Skip the Monetization Struggle

Publisher Roundtable, a collaboration between VigLink, Netpop, and sovrn, proved to be incredibly fruitful in producing valuable insights on monetization. One important aspect participants addressed was their expectation of monetization vs. the reality they face on a day-to-day basis. When asked about their expectations, the majority of participants (39%) said they didn’t know what to expect. Additionally, 37% said reality didn’t meet their expectations, 63% of that group admitting that monetization was actually worse than they expected.

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The participants were split up into three groups, <10K, 10K to 49.9K, and 50K+ monthly uniques. When asked if monetization has been easier/faster or slower/harder than expected, and how accurately they can predict income, it became apparent that the participants with higher uniques are monetizing with the most ease. For example, 37% of <10K monthly uniques found it much slower/harder compared to only 15% of those over 50K. On the contrary, 16% of those 50K+ found it much faster/easier with only 7% of <10K monthly uniques feeling the same way.

The trend of larger publishers having an easier time, carried over into the monetization report card where participants were asked to grade both themselves and the industry on monetization. As a whole, the majority of participants graded themselves (39%) and the industry (44%) at a C. However, when broken up into the three groups of varying monthly uniques, we saw smaller publishers giving themselves and the industry a much lower grade than those with higher uniques.

grades

The results from this part of the report show that the higher a site’s monthly uniques, the greater their satisfaction with monetization. The sites with higher monthly uniques are clearly doing something right, but ironically they’re using the exact same monetization options. So how are they having so much more success? It all comes down to the production of top-quality content. More people are coming to these sites because they enjoy the content and have come to trust these publishers to produce content they can depend on. Once that trust has been established, people are more likely to click through links in the content and, ultimately, make purchases.

For those with a smaller amount of uniques, monetization is bound to be challenging due to less potential purchasers. However, the best way to increase your readership and encourage people to share the content from your site is by producing thoughtful, unique content. When genuine content is produced, readers recognize that and you’ve earned yourself a fan. Monetization isn’t always easy, especially for those just starting out, but focusing on your content is a sure way to achieve long-term success.

To see full results from the report on monetization, visit the Publisher Roundtable site!

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

Employee Spotlight: Chase Sippel

Question: Where were you born?
Chase Sippel: I was born in San Dimas, California. It’s right outside of LA and best known for being where the bodacious “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is set.

Q: When did you get interested in playing football?
CS: I only started to play football once I got to high school; they recruited me to play because of my size. Up until high school I swam and lifeguarded.

Q: Why Harvard?
CS: I applied to 22 schools, thinking I would only get into one or two. Once I received my acceptance letters, I was incredibly indecisive where I’d go. My mother told me, “You’re either going to Harvard happy or sad, pick one.” I chose to go happily.

Q: What was the best part of your Harvard education?
CS: Definitely all of the amazing people I met. I’ve forged some lifelong friendships there. Aside from the friends, the classes were amazing. It’s an incredible experience to study under the professor that wrote all of the textbooks.

Q: What brought you to San Francisco?
CS: I really wanted to come close to home in order to be closer to my grandmother, and my family on my father’s side. I have lived in NY, LA, and Boston but find the diversity and culture of San Francisco to be unparalleled.

Q: Why VigLink?
CS: I thought I would go into investment banking or consulting after graduation like so many of my peers. However, I had experience in wealth management and was fascinated by the tech industry. It was a space that seemed incredibly exciting and challenging. I realized VigLink was the place where I could truly grow as an intellectual and learn from its brilliant minds.

Q: What is your advice for publishers to optimize their revenue?
CS: I have a few tips for publishers:

  1. Turn on insert; it creates value where it is already inherently there. Additionally, make sure you update the plug-in settings for insert, if you’re running an automotive vbulletin 4 forum be sure to classify it as such to allow the crawler to function properly.
  2. Create high quality content; heartfelt, organic content is what resonates best with readers. Too much of the internet is clouded with click bait. Passion shows through and caring about an online community can go a long way.
  3. Don’t ignore the numbers. Dig into your metrics to find out what’s working and what’s not. This insight should aid you in creating the best possible content for your site.

Q: What are you most excited about at VigLink?
CS: I’m really excited to make optimizations across platforms as well as help BD succeed. It’s exciting to help people pursue their passions and create meaningful revenue for them through VigLink’s technology.

Interviewed by Hanna Fritzinger. Designed by Kay Sathienvantanee.

Publisher Roundtable on Monetization Launched!

We teamed up with Netpop and Sovrn to bring you the Fall 2014 Publisher Roundtable on monetization. The goal of this edition is to give publishers objective tools and insights they can utilize to make better-informed business and marketing decisions. During the two-month period the survey was live, 427 online publishers participated, including members of Publisher Roundtable as well as contacts from VigLink and Sovrn. Post survey, the Publisher Roundtable community now totals more than 700 publishers who have a combined 150 million uniques.

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In order to get the best understanding of how publishers can better monetize their content, we focused on nine key topics.

  1. Where to Begin aims to help publishers face fewer obstacles when they’re starting out and receive effective results in a timely manner. Additionally, it focuses on new publishers, as their experience is has greater relevance to those who are in the beginning stages of monetization.
  2. Getting to the Next Level informs publishers how they can improve their monetization strategy based on their size, experience level, and vertical.
  3. Picking a Partner details some of the ad networks available for partnership and why different publishers choose and more importantly, stick with them.
  4. Monetization Options explores how many tools you should use when monetizing your content and digs deeper into which options are most satisfying and generate the most revenue.
  5. Expectations vs. Reality takes a look at publishers’ initial expectations when they start monetizing and how those align with actual experience.
  6. Monetization Report Card gives publishers the chance to candidly grade themselves and the industry on monetization. Find out if publishers feel supported by the industry and if various publishers have different experiences and opinions.
  7. Non-Monetizers find out why certain publishers aren’t monetizing their sites, and if they’re considering monetization, which methods they are most interested in.
  8. Community Profile shows the stats of those who make up the Publisher Roundtable community.
  9. The Independent Web gives publishers who are looking to expand their reach additional topics for discussion that their audiences are likely to find interesting and relevant!

Written by Hanna Fritzinger