Introducing the New VigLink Click Report

Data matters when data drives decisions. For content publishers, some of the most important (and frequent) decisions faced are decisions that impact revenue. The new click report from VigLink helps publishers make informed content decisions that drive revenue.

The new click report is incredibly rich, detailing every single monetizable click leaving publisher’s site and provides actionable insight into how specific content drives commerce. For example, publishers can decide to link to merchants who earn the most per click, have higher conversion rates, or even have higher average order values. They can slice the data by page to see what sections of their site earn the most and use that for inspiration of new content. For sites with a global audience, they can see which countries have the lion’s share of clicks to merchants and start linking to relevant international merchants where sales (and revenue) will be easier to achieve.

To view a custom report, publishers sign in and visit their dashboard, where they will see a new report option. After selecting a date range, publishers can download their TSV file. For each click in the report, we include details such as when the click occurred, on what page, where it went, whether or not it resulted in a sale, and how much revenue that click earned. We’ll even report the country from where the click came. This level of detail into commercial out-clicks is unparalleled.

VigLink Click Report

We’re enormously excited to put such power into the hands of publishers. By taking the guesswork out of content-driven commerce, we’re empowering a new wave of content that’s more tailored to what audiences respond to, earns more for publishers, and drives sales to merchants. The way we see it, this is a win all around.

Posted by Oliver Deighton, Vice President of Marketing

 

VigLink’s Principal Data Scientist Selected to Present at the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL-2012)’s TextGraph Conference Workshop

The Association for Computational Linguistics will be hosting their 50th Annual Meeting in Jeju Island, Korea July 8th  - July 14th and we are pleased to share that VigLink’s Principal Data Scientist, Gabor Melli, will be presenting his recent paper entitled Identifying Untyped Relation Mentions in a Corpus Given an Ontology.

We are particularly excited because it is based on the research he has continued here at VigLink over the last nine months that has allowed us to continue to refine our link insertion solution and earn each of you more revenue each month.

Below is an overview of the paper his presentation will be based on.

The paper proposes a semi-supervised machine learning-based algorithm to the task of identifying relations between concepts that are stated in a document (such as a webpage). Knowing what is likely related to what in a document can for example help us at VigLink to know which product mentions refer to the same product (their coreference chains). Our approach is to leverage information found drawn from a well-organized database of concepts (an ontology) to heuristically create a labeled dataset (i.e. a semi-supervised approach) that can be used to train a statistical model. Finally, we demonstrated the effectiveness of the algorithm on a publicly available benchmark task.

If you’ll be attending, you can catch Gabor’s session on Thursday July 12th as part of the TextGraphs workshop.

Hyperlinks are Dumb and Bleeding Money; How to Ensure Yours Aren’t

The article below originally appeared on TechCrunch as a guest post by Oliver Roup, VigLink Founder & CEO. 

When an email hits our inbox, we know not only who it’s from but their entire web imprint. LinkedIn canpoint out the profile of the woman you interviewed for a sales role last week and the gentleman you spoke with earlier in the year at a conference.

And rest assured that the dining room set you checked out over the weekend at CrateAndBarrel.com will haunt your online experience for the forseeable future.

Data — its collection and manipulation at scale — has revolutionized how we interact online. Homepages, banner advertisements and what we see in our Facebook timeline are all tailored-to-fit the reader, and we don’t give it a second thought.

But the hyperlink, the key feature that distinguishes hypertext from text has remained largely unchanged since Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the web.

Websites generally, and search and online advertising specifically, would be barely recognizable today by their younger selves. But hyperlinks — their structure, how they’re authored and how we use and track them — have barely changed in 20 years. Consider:

  • Inserting links by hand is a labor intensive process and has few tools. How about a recommendation engine to augment our own efforts? (Note: companies like Zemanta are a first step in this direction.)
  • If a link is never clicked (i.e. 0% of the world finds it useful), why does it remain in content, distracting from meaningful / useful links indefinitely?
  • Keywords in referrer logs have been mined to great effect by companies like BlueKai. (Although Google is slowly but surely taking that information away.) Isn’t where a user clicked out to just as informative? Why are we almost always ignoring it?
  • Why do website visitors in Asia see links to online merchants in North America they are unable to purchase from, let alone access?

Hyperlinks, in many ways, are dumb. And as a result, harming your user experience and potentially bleeding money from your company — when they could be a tool for better engagement, increased revenue, and deeper analytics.

Now, there are a cluster of companies innovating by recognizing the power of the link — OmnitureVibrant Media and Yieldbot, to name a few. But, this isn’t a problem companies can hold off on thinking about until the perfect tech pops up to solve it. There was a time when SEO was considered a “pro-tip” — a way for startups to get ahead of the game. Today, it’s standard best practice — and companies that don’t think strategically about the way search engines view their sites are at a strong disadvantage.

Hyperlink optimization is similar. While link optimization might be a “pro-tip” now, it won’t be for much longer. Companies that aren’t thinking strategically about link placement, closely tracking results, and taking subsequent action, will find the companies that ARE doing these things at an advantage.

The most critical areas to spend time on are tracking outbound hyperlinks, building a linking strategy, and refining it based on results. Let’s briefly dive into each.

Track your Outbound Hyperlinks

The first step to optimizing a site’s outbound traffic is to understand what that traffic looks like. Where do visitors go when they leave your site? What do they do on those other sites?

While there is still a lot of room for growth within the outbound analytics space, Omniture (paid) and Google Analytics (free — but requires a modification to the standard Analytics code you add to your site) both offer tools to help you understand what happens when a reader leaves your site. VigLink (disclosure: I am the CEO there) also offers an outbound analytics suite as part of its content monetization solution.

Build a Hyperlinking Strategy

What do you want your outbound hyperlinks to do for you?

Do you want them to earn you revenue? Do you want them to serve an SEO purpose? Be purely informational? Should they be scarce (keeping readers on your site)? Or abundant (allowing readers to exit as it is helpful)?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a plan for when your team includes a hyperlink, and when it does not — opening up opportunities for a better reader experience, and deeper engagement.

Refine, Refine, Refine

Combine a plan with data to track that plan’s performance and you’ve got a gold mine on your hands.  Notice a link that is never clicked and your plan requires that links must be useful to readers? Take it out. Or, a heavy percentage of links pointing to non-eCommerce properties, and your goal is monetization? Incorporate fewer links to those non-commercial sites. Refining your hyperlinks will improve reader engagement and overall site performance.

Do It, and Make the Web Better

Hyperlinks should make the web better — more connected, easier to navigate, and intelligent. Hyperlinks should make your site better — more actionable, insightful and profitable.

Today, hyperlinks are falling short. They’re static and largely untracked. Sometimes useful — but often not. As the web becomes ever more crowded, and an organization’s site optimization toolkit begins to produce diminishing returns, the hyperlink is obvious low hanging fruit.

What that means to site owners:

  • It’s time to plug the outbound data leak. Implement a tool today that will track your outbound traffic.
  • Choose a hyperlinking strategy and share it with your team. This is at least as much a human problem as a technology one – deciding what you want is always the first step.
  • Be on the lookout for technology that addresses these issues. There are already solutions to track your outbound clicks and the value they deliver but 2012 is going to be the year the hyperlink gets smart.

Maximizing Click Revenue: 2 Billion Clicks Analyzed [Affiliate Summit Central Recap]

We had a great time at the inaugural Affiliate Summit Central event this past week. Our own David Gorcey, VP of Customer Success, lead a session focused around maximizing click revenue, based on some of the clicks that we saw pass through our network in 2011.

We spent a little bit of time talking about the “high performing” clicks as well as the “low performering” ones — and what the differences between the two were. For those that are interested, check out the slides in their entirety below!

Maximizing Click Revenue: 2 Billion Outclicks Analyzed

View more presentations from VigLink

[Exclusive Event on March 6th] Data Mining in Networks with Dr. Andrew Fast

Looking for lunch plans on Tuesday March 6th? Drop by VigLink at the corner of 4th and Bryant in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco and geek out with us on data! We’ll be hosting Dr. Andrew Fast, renowned data scientist, for a talk on data mining in networks — link analysis, social network analysis, and relational data mining.

A short preview of the specifics around what Dr. Fast will be covering (in his own words)…

“The rise of social media including blogs, microblogs, ‘folksonomies’, forums, and photo sharing has led to unprecedented visibility into the social connections between the users of those systems. Data mining and other data modeling algorithms are a natural choice for those seeking to improve the experience of social media users.  These algorithms, however, typically assume that the data are both independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.), assumptions that are both clearly violated in social network data.  In this talk, I will highlight three methods for understanding and exploring network data: 1) visualization, 2) descriptive modeling, and 3) predictive modeling. Using case studies drawn from the national security and financial domains,  I show how to combine these methods to fully leverage available connections in the data improving lift and predictive accuracy over traditional data mining algorithms.”

Lunch will be on us for those that are able to join in-person. However, if you can’t make it we’ll also be making a live-stream of the event available.

To RSVP (to attend in-person OR the live-stream event) click here (we’ll be limiting space for both, so reserve your spot soon if you’d like to join!).

About Dr. Andrew Fast

Dr. Andrew Fast is the Director of Research at Elder Research Inc. where he leads the development of new tools and algorithms for mining data, text, and networks.  Dr. Fast earned his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst,  specializing in algorithms for causal data mining, and for analyzing complex relational data such as social networks.  Andrew has published on an array of applications including detecting securities fraud using the social network among brokers, understanding the structure and behavior of criminal and violent groups, modeling peer-to-peer music file sharing networks, understanding how collective classification works, and predicting playoff success of NFL head coaches (featured on ESPN.com).  With Dr. John Elder and four others, he just completed the book Practical Text Mining, published by Elsevier in January.

Elder Research Inc. (www.datamininglab.com) is the nations leading data mining consultancy. ERI was founded in 1995 and has offices in Charlottesville, VA and Washington, D.C.  ERI focuses on federal, commercial, financial, and security application of advanced analytics including stock selection, image recognition, biometrics, process optimization, cross-selling, drug efficacy, credit scoring, risk management, and fraud detection.

eBay Shares the Hottest Shopping Trends of 2011

Late last month, eBay released it’s annual “Top Shopped” list for 2011. Below is the list in infographic form.

Billed as “the pop culture crazes that inspired shoppers the most over the past year,” at first glance several of the categories may not appear explicitly product-related (unless Charlie Sheen has released action figures that we don’t know about).  However, the list provides a great deal of insight into the keywords that eBay sellers were using to describe the products that were most frequently being sold.

We hope the list will provide insight into the areas of content your readers are interested in and provide a few ideas to jump start your 2012 content creation efforts!

image courtesy of eBay

Access Higher Affiliate Marketing Payout Tiers Using VigLink

Each affiliate program is different. Some programs pay on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis, others on a Cost Per Action (CPA) basis. But no matter what the structure of payouts is, most programs offer publishers that deliver large volumes of clicks and a high sales volume a higher CPC and higher sales commission percentages (CPA)

However, it is hard for a single publisher to access these higher payouts.

The good news though, is that if you are a VigLink publisher you automatically earn the highest payouts.  Thousands of publishers are in our network and use VigLink on their site. In aggregate, they generate a huge sales volume each month, so VigLink typically receives higher payouts (on a CPC and CPA basis) and has access to some of the highest payment tiers available.

This means more cash in your pocket each month.

Exact commission percentages vary by advertiser, but a good example to consider is Amazon.  Their payment tiers are broken down by the number of items a publisher helps ship in a given month.  If a publisher ships between 1 and 6 items they earn a 4% commission on each of those sales.

If a publisher helps ship over 3,131 items, they earn a 8.5% commission.

It’s difficult for a single publisher to help ship over 3,000 items in a single month.  But due to VigLink’s size, it’s easy for us to.  So, all of our publishers benefit from an 8.5% commission on each of their sales. So, even with our 25% share, publishers earn more with VigLink than they can on their own.

Nice, right? 

If you aren’t accessing top payout tiers, make the switch to VigLink and start earning more.  We’ll save you time — and help you earn more.

Dr. Gabor Melli, Renowned Data Scientist, Joins VigLink

Dr. Gabor Melli, an expert in data analytics and co-chair of Data Mining Case Studies workshop series, has joined VigLink in the role of Principal Data Scientist.

Through his consulting firm, Gabor has spent the last decade leading projects at large organizations such as Microsoft and AT&T wireless, where he applied his expertise in data analysis and machine learning to improve business processes. He is an active participant in the data mining research community, has published over 16 papers in the field, and is the current author of an online data mining ontology that receives ~1700 unique visitors per day. Last year he completed a PhD in semantic natural language processing at Simon Fraser University – his project included question answering, information extraction and ontology-based shallow semantic parsing. Gabor’s research and work experience is highly relevant in the context of VigLink’s data-intensive projects.

We’re excited to welcome him to the team! Gabor will lead the ongoing effort to improve our  link insertion technology and help you earn more with VigLink. Take a moment to get to know him and the organizations he is passionate about, below.

Dr. Gabor Melli on LinkedIn

Data Mining Case Studies

2011 International Conference on Data Mining