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

VigLink & AtContent Drive Affiliate Revenue

Imagine, relevant sites and blogs reposting your articles and your VigLink affiliate links still working, earning you additional revenue from these clicks. If this sounds appealing to you, you’re in luck.

Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with AtContent,  a rapidly growing blogging and content distribution platform. It allows relevant bloggers to intelligently repost content which dramatically grows audience reach and traffic.

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The “repost” is equivalent to a full size article or post. When other bloggers repost your content, you reach a new audience and drive free traffic back to your site through links. Additionally, you can see who reposts your content, how many times its been shared, and the amount of views it’s gotten. If you update the content, it automatically updates on all sites. By reposting content, you increase page views, social sharing and time spent on your blog. AtContent uses JavaScript, no-follow and canonical tags for all reposts, therefore not affecting SEO.

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On average, quality posts are reposted between six and twelve times across the AtContent network, providing you with a great opportunity to increase your VigLink earnings!

Get started today with these easy steps:

  1. If you use WordPress.org for your site, sign up with AtContent and connect your WordPress site.
  2. Insert your VigLink API key in the AtContent plugin settings.
  3. Start earning!

After following those simple steps, your posts are available for reposting and you’re eligible to earn additional revenue from reposts.

“We’re always interested in providing our bloggers with more revenue. Partnering with VigLink is a great opportunity for AtContent bloggers and publishers to monetize their content,” states Alexey Semeney, AtContent’s CEO.

 

Steven Hartman Joins VigLink as Vice President, Marketing

We are delighted to announce Steven Hartman is joining us as our new Vice President, Marketing.  

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Steven joins us from an extensive career in leading successful marketing teams from the ad tech and marketing cloud industries. Most recently, Steven was the Vice President of Product Marketing at Acxiom where he led the product positioning, releases, and enablement of Acxiom’s award-winning technologies.  This included AOS (Audience Operating System) and the recent LiveRamp acquisition. Prior to Acxiom, Steven was the Vice President of Marketing at Rubicon Project where he led the repositioning of Rubicon from a supply side platform to an automated advertising technology for both buyers and sellers.  At Yahoo, Hartman held several marketing and product leadership positions which included being named on several technology patents related to how advertising is bought and sold on an exchange.

Our very own CEO, Oliver Roup, shared his excitement about our newest team member, noting, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Steven joining us. Telling the story of a sophisticated and highly technical product in terms that everyone can understand is something Steven has repeatedly demonstrated throughout his career.” Oliver also added, “I look forward to applying his considerable talents to tell our story, as well as the strategic insights and wisdom he brings.”

Steven also had a few nice words to share about his move, “I’m thrilled to be joining Oliver and the team at VigLink. VigLink has established itself as the premier marketplace for publishers to connect their audiences to high-quality merchants without needing to display ads. The full potential of this marketing channel has not been realized, and a gap is growing due to media being consumed across an increasing number of devices. VigLink has bridged this industry challenge with its proven suite of products.  I’m excited to apply my experience to VigLink’s innovative technology and join their talented team in making digital media more valuable than ever.”

Needless to say, we are delighted to welcome Steven aboard! If you want to learn more about our newest team member and the rest of our VigLink clan, check out our new “About Us” page. It is certainly worth a look… we even added a few “adorable” surprises!

Written by Lucy Bartlett

#LiveYourPassion Video Series

If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably seen some photos taken from the set of our #LiveYourPassion publisher showcase series. We’ve had the opportunity to spend a day with, and film, both Vlad Dusil of PurseBlog and Anthony Marino (plus his adorable son) of Audizine. Being on set with Vlad and Anthony has given us an amazing glimpse into the lives of two people who turned writing about their passion, into full-time jobs. Stay tuned for the release of these short-films; PurseBlog will be the first to debut on October 10th, #NationalHandbagDay!

For more pictures, check out the “#LiveYourPassion Behind the Scenes of the Video Series” Facebook Album!

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Written by Hanna Fritzinger

This Week in Tech: VigLink & Purseblog on Authentic Conent

At Affiliate Summit East, Oliver Roup sat on a panel alongside Vlad Dusil of Purseblog. Oliver and Vlad both bring vast knowledge of the native advertising space, allowing them to speak on the subject from two different perspectives.

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Vlad, co-founder of Purseblog & VigLink publisher, spoke about starting a blog and it’s evolution into a full-time business for both him and his wife Meaghan. In the beginning their sole focus was quality content creation, thus engaging readers and triggering world of mouth to spread. Google, of course, was able to help organically boost their blog and give it greater authority, however Vlad and Meaghan didn’t initially dedicate resources to advertising. This was a topic Oliver spoke to as well, adding that most successful publishers focus on authentic content and legitimate audience views.

One piece of advice Vlad stressed to the audience is the importance of observing the data in order to find out what’s working. Once you’ve figured out the best practices for your blog based on feedback, you can better predict the outcome of certain behaviors. He also gave two tips of advice for advertisers when they are contacting publishers hoping for a potential partnership:

  1. Always address the publisher by their first name
  2. Never send the same message to everyone whose email is listed on the site

The main takeaway from the talk based on Oliver’s insights as well as Vlad’s, is that quality content creation is of the utmost importance. In order for people to become loyal readers of your blog, and for advertisers to desire to work with you, authentic content is a must.

If you attended ASE and have a log-in, you can view the video of Oliver and Vlad here!

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

This Week In Tech: NewCo Comes to SF

With NewCo 2014 just days away we want to be sure you’re not missing out on the chance to visit some of the SF tech scene’s most innovative offices… for free! NewCo presents attendees with the opportunity to enter host companies’ spaces to network with employees and witness unique presentations by industry thought leaders. This conference sets itself apart as it seeks to provide audiences with the ability to choose which offices they attend and allows host companies to cater their talk specifically to those in attendance. Unlike other conferences, NewCo also keeps the numbers of attendees to a minimum prompting interactive talks that spur conversation.

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We are excited to join of the ranks of LinkedIn, Airbnb, Twitter and Yahoo who are also participating in this year’s NewCo. Oliver Roup will be presenting on the native advertising landscape, specifically why it’s effectiveness continues to grow during an age when the “old marketing supply chain” is becoming irrelevant. In order for publishers to be successful, their primary focus must be on creating quality content that remains uninterrupted by intrusive ads, something Oliver is very familiar with. Additionally, he will talk to audiences about the growing influence of mobile and how it will impact future advertising efforts.

If you’ve yet to sign up for NewCo, it’s not too late! However, space is limited and as you’ll see on the NewCo site, our event is almost full. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to mingle and learn at our SOMA offices this Friday at 1:30. We look forward to seeing you!

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 Written by Hanna Fritzinger

Publisher Showcase: Indulgy

Indulgy is one of our coveted publishers. Their mission is to be the creator of your perfect world. They do that through a pinboard site that presents users with the best possible images through a, “special algorithm that combines human subjectivity and technology certainty”. This is what sets them apart from their main competitor, Pinterest. Founder, Eugene Strokin, was kind enough to lend us his time and  provide us with a first-hand account of the ins and outs of Indulgy.

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How did you get into creating a pinboard site?

I was inspired to start the site three years ago when my wife was submitting pictures to a pinboard styled site called foodgawker.com. I noticed the massive amounts of traffic driven by this site and thought to myself, why just food? I went on to build a pinboard site where people could post and share pictures of anything they were passionate about and visualize their perfect world.

What is your mission, specifically what are you trying to accomplish?

I am trying to build a site where people can come and be visually inspired. This isn’t a site where people come to interact with one another; in fact people don’t have to talk to each other at all. People come here to look at beautiful pictures, and in that respect our site falls somewhere between Pinterest and Tumblr. We constantly work to find the best content and present it to our users.

What kind of connection do you have with your user and what’s some of the feedback you receive?

Although we don’t often communicate with our users directly on our site, we do receive a lot of feedback from them. We have two types of users, those who stop by the site consistently and those who come and go. Both of these groups provide us with different types of feedback and we aim to give them the best experience when they visit Indulgy.

What are you looking forward to in the future, how will your focus shift?

We are currently working hard to monetize our site, one we do that is through VigLink. Another option we are considering is the implementation of a shopping cart directly to our site. This is appealing to us because it gives us more control when the user stays on our site to make a purchase. Although we haven’t gotten that far, we know we will stay true to our native advertising roots. Since our primarily focus is aesthetics and quality content, we would never compromise that by having intrusive ads on our site.

What value do you deliver your customer by showcasing certain brands?

We only collaborate with the most elite brands that are visually pleasing to our audience. Again, since everything is visual on our site we don’t want to compromise that by working with brands that don’t uphold our standard. Once we have identified which brands are good partners for us we offer to showcase them on our site if they are willing to give us a commission increase. However, like I stated earlier we wouldn’t promote anything that isn’t relevant to our audience.

How does the shift to mobile consumption affect your strategy?

Over half of our traffic is mobile. That being said, we recognize the importance of optimizing our site for mobile and have done so accordingly.  Looking to the future we would like to design an app for our site but that takes resources that we haven’t quite yet acquired.  

 Written by Hanna Fritzinger

This Week In Tech: Linkedin Offers SlideShare Pro Features At No Cost

SlideShare has become a widely adopted tool, especially amongst those in the business sector. It allows you to easily upload and share presentations with your audience. For example, we utilize SlideShare to aggregate presenter’s slides each year at our annual conference ForumCon. That way, those who are unable to attend are directed to one place to find each speaker’s slides.

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In May of 2012 LinkedIn acquired SlideShare for $119 million. LinkedIn proclaimed this to be good news for all as it would enable professionals to share content more conveniently. Since the acquisition, SlideShare hadn’t gone through any significant changes, until now. SlideShare is canceling its pro tier memberships once priced at $19 and $49 dollars a month and making pro features available to all users.

So…why does this matter?  When looking at the big picture, this is more than just all users having access to profile customization, private uploading, videos, and most importantly analytics. These analytics include how someone came across your SlideShare account, who they are, and where the majority of your traffic is originating. These engagement metrics provide a wealth of information to LinkedIn, note that SlideShare gets approximately 60 million unique visitors/month. After all, they made these features free for a reason. It will be interesting to continue watching LinkedIn’s  advertising strategy for any changes that are a result of SlideShare Pro becoming a free tool for all.

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

The new landscape of native advertising: #ASE14

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Every six-months I attend the bi-annual Affiliate Summit Conference. It’s a great opportunity to meet others in the industry and learn recent trends in the native advertising ecosystem.  Below are valuable insights I’ve gathered from industry experts to help you stay current with your native advertising efforts.

Keep Your Content Authentic

Creating quality content has always been paramount. The only way to retain visitors is to engage them, and to do that, they must be provided relatable content. Rae Hoffman of Sugarrae spoke about changes in Google Search and the implications they hold on the future of online publishers’ success. He concluded success can only be achieved if you produce honest, authentic, and well crafted content.

John Rampton, editor of SEJ, spoke to the influence of blogs in helping build your brand and online relationships.  Your blog is the start stage of your sales funnel, and if it goes unnoticed, you cannot maintain or grow your online brand (nor drive traffic to monetize). Everything you put on the web should be of the same high quality your readers have come to expect.

Additionally, content is not limited to writing. Images and videos are common content outlets, and with them come the potential for additional monetization sources. However, if these new avenues do not follow the same stringent quality controls to which you hold your writing, they will harm rather than support your brand.

Carolyn Kmet successful mommy, food blogger and CMO of “all inclusive marketing” shared three guidelines to keep the quality of your content high, even when feeling uninspired.  It’s critical to never lose your unique point of view that your audience depends on.

  1. Make sure you talk about “how you use” the items being discussed. Regardless of the item, be cautious to only speak to what you really know and can give your valued insight on.
  2. Never sell the trust of your readers for commissions. Trust takes years to build, but can be lost in an instant.
  3. Discuss pros and cons of situations in a subjective voice. By doing so, you legitimize your opinion and build trust with your readership.

ASE14 is far from over, and other significant topics will emerge. These are just the first to take prominence in audience discourse and reflect the “hot topics” present in our ecosystem.

Written by Lucy Bartlett

This Week in Tech: Publishers granted greater control by Google

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Monday marked the launch of the  Google News Publisher Center, a new feature of Google News that allows publishers to dictate how Google indexes their site. Most top publishers spend hours generating engaging and relevant content, however that’s not enough to drive traffic to their site. Until Monday, publishers could only hope Google would predict the layout of their site correctly and pick up on any recent formatting changes.

For example, ELLE one of our coveted publishers, categorizes their site by fashion, beauty, accessories, culture, etc. With this new feature ELLE can label the different segments of their site from the Publisher Center, therefore enabling Google to efficiently categorize the content. If ELLE decides to delete the “beauty” category from their site or add a “lifestyle” category, they would subsequently go to the Publisher Center and ensure those changes are made. This will result in more accurate Google News results, which is beneficial for ELLE, Google, and readers.

The Google News Publisher Center can be simply explained as a tool that gives publishers the power to edit Google’s records, thus putting power and responsibility into the hands of publishers. It is now up to them to attentively keep information in their Publisher Center portal up to date, simultaneously relieving pressure from Google Support.

What do you think about the latest advance in Google News?

Written by Hanna Fritzinger