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.

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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

Optimize Holiday Earnings!

The changing seasons bring excellent topics for engaging content and sizable opportunities for earning. With each holiday comes this year’s “must-haves”, and audiences depend on publishers to guide them in their purchasing choices for these items. From pumpkin costumes, to stocking stuffers (even Santa needs a little help sometimes), your readers will depend on your content. The key to maximizing your earnings this holiday season is simple- plan ahead.

Strategically timing posts and discussing relevant products will spike a reader’s interest, thus increasing revenue. If you post too early, readers won’t be ready to engage; too late and they’ve gone elsewhere for guidance and likely missed the shipping window. The cut-off dates for shipping vary depending where the reader is located, but it’s generally suggested that publishers post about two weeks before the big day to give readers sufficient time to receive their item. It’s never too early to start brainstorming variations of content to post around this year’s holidays… start today!

Use our holiday calendar to ensure important dates are not forgotten, and remember to schedule your posts about these days sufficiently before-hand!

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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.

AtContent

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.  

Steven Hartman

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.

oliver and vlad

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.

indulgy

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