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.

recommended

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.

AtContent_sc1

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.

 

“Live Your Passion” ft. PurseBlog on #NationalHandbagDay

We represent some incredibly talented publishers. They’re an unprecedented group who are dedicated to the production of high quality content their readers love. Audiences trust these publishers and look to them for guidance. The exchange between publishers and readers is one that includes a great deal of thought. When publishers curate genuine content their passion shows through. Giving publishers the freedom to do what they love day in and day out is something we take great pride in at VigLink.

Today we congratulate PurseBlog on the second annual #NationalHandbagDay! National Handbag Day celebrates the design, craftsmanship and fine materials that go into the thing we carry with us every day: the handbag. Their wonderful team works tirelessly not only to be the leading purse authority, but to also build their community in fun and original ways. We’re thrilled to release the first video of the #LiveYourPassion series today, featuring the wonderful Co-Founder and COO of Purseblog, Vlad Dusil. Watch it below and remember to always #LiveYourPassion!

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

This Week in Tech: Rise of the Entrepreneur, Oliver Roup by Zac Johnson

A few weeks ago Oliver Roup was featured on Zac Johnson’s “Rise of the Entrepreneur” Podcast. In their thirty minute discussion they covered the breadth of Oliver’s career and the ideas that were the driving force behind him founding VigLink. When Oliver started VigLink, he did so on the premise that if a publisher is connecting their audience with a product they want to buy, they should get credit for that. However, prior to VigLink, this was easier said than done.

this week in tech

VigLink erases the barriers publishers have when independently joining affiliate networks. Traditionally, to join an affiliate network one had to…

  1. Know that it existed
  2. Sign up
  3. Find the one with the highest rate
  4. Take the chance of missing out on higher commissions with other networks

This is clearly an exhausting and time-consuming process, thus taking time away from producing quality content that readers enjoy. Oliver wanted to provide publishers with a way to focus on genuine content by creating a service which does work on the backend that isn’t possible to do by hand. Oliver points out that not only does the technology get you the highest rate, but also computes detailed reports allowing publishers to find out what products are most popular to their audiences. Finding out what content is most appealing to readers is good for everyone in that it keeps the audience interested, makes the publisher money, and drives traffic to the advertisers site!

And how about the best advice Oliver has ever gotten?

Focus on the long game.

Written by Hanna Fritzinger

 

Publisher Showcase: Possessionista

Possessionista is a blog people visit to find the fashion from their favorite shows. Have you ever watched Scandal or the Bachelor and wished you knew were you could find the clothing they wear? Dana Weiss did, and started a blog about around that premise in 2009. Find out how she turned her blog into a full-time job below… 

Starting a blog

Dana was working mom, but after giving birth to her second child she decided to become a stay at home mom. With newly acquired spare-time, she taught herself to blog in 2009 as a slide project to track the clothing she saw on TV. Soon after, people started emailing her that they too were searching for the same items, and Possessionista was born!

possessionista

 

Her mission

The goal of Possessionista is to help people find the clothes they like from the shows they love.

The relationship with her readers & their feedback

Dana has a lot of interaction with her audience. They communicate mostly over Twitter and email but also through the comments section of the blog. She finds the most effective mode of communication to be Twitter.

Her favorite part of Possessionista

Possessionista allows Dana to do her favorite things: shop, watch TV, and write. She’s always been a writer and getting the opportunity to write about TV and clothing is truly Dana living her passion.

Looking to the future

Every few years Dana does a redesign and continues to streamline the blog based on the feedback she receives from her readers. Because she wants to write about the shows her readers are watching, their feedback is absolutely imperative.

Commerce and Possessionista’s monetization strategy

Dana’s policy has always been editorial first; in fact, she didn’t start monetizing the site until after it was already well established. She writes about the items she sees on shows, if she wants to feature an item that doesn’t have an affiliated link, that won’t stop her from posting it. That being said, monetization gives her flexibility that she wouldn’t otherwise have and allows her to contribute to her family.

Dana describes Possessionista as a shopping blog, not a fashion blog. In her experience, people come to the site with the intention of making a purchase. She discloses her use of affiliates and sponsors on both her site and twitter, but emphasizes that her monetization strategy doesn’t impact the overall goal of the site which is to provide readers with the best experience possible.

j crew promo

Showcasing certain brands & brand collaboration

Dana works very closely with different show’s costume designers in order to track the clothing she spots in shows. She also works directly with brands, such as BCBG, to create coupon codes for showcased items. If they aren’t part of the current collection, she’ll go as far as organizing re-releases.

Another collaboration Dana initiated was with Shopbop with whom Possessionista created four style guides to correlate with different shows. By doing all of this work, she provides her reader with the luxury of simply visiting her blog to find these coveted items.

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.

newcosf

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!

almostfull

 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

Employee Spotlight: Tiffany Koptish

Here at VigLink we’re constantly challenging ourselves through collaboration with our wonderful team. And because of that, we’ve decided to showcase our employees from time to time. Not only are they breaking boundaries and pushing the envelope at work, they’re doing that in all facets of their lives. Since this is our first employee spotlight, we found it fitting to highlight one of our newest team members, Tiffany Koptish.

tiffany

Tiffany, VigLink’s new Advertiser Development Manager, came to us (and the tech world in general) from a background in finance and cosmetics. Tiffany lived in San Francisco for eleven years and noticed, like many other people, the changing landscape of our city as tech firms moved from Silicon Valley into the heart of San Francisco.  Seeing the fast-paced innovation and a fit of niche products for consumer’s use made her want to be part of the growing trend.  Without direct experience in technology, she started doing coffee chat surveys to learn about roles at varying tech companies.  Tiffany began digesting as much industry news as possible and proactively attending technology mixers as well as speaker panels.  Through these, she met great people who were willing to help her find what she proclaims is her “dream role” at VigLink. Tiffany is also an active member of the community, on weekends you might find her at St. Anthony’s serving meals or being a youth mentor at the JCC.

So…what’s Tiffany’s advice for merchants?

Merchants who have seen success with VigLink often ask, “How can I expand my business for extra reach?” One of the most immediate impacts we offer is the opportunity to join our Insider Marketing Program that highlights brands with competitive revenue share in their industry.  VigLink promotes these brands in high visibility avenues like our email newsletter, insider twitter, and recognition on our merchant homepage. This is a great way to showcase your brand and get in front of a carefully curated group of publishers to share your story.  

 Written by Hanna Fritzinger

This Week in Tech: Publishers granted greater control by Google

Untitled 3

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

EPC Explored Infographic Released

There are many ways to measure your native advertising efforts.  At VigLink we tend to focus on earnings per click (EPC). EPC represents a per-click measure of how efficiently your traffic is earning from advertisers. For a given volume of clicks, the higher your EPC, the higher your revenue. It’s imperative for publishers to understand how EPC functions in order to maximize their earnings; this means finding out where people are earning the most, in what industries, and on which devices. We analyzed 100 million clicks and four million dollars in revenue to bring you a detailed breakdown of where the money is.

Calculating EPC is as simple as dividing total commission by total clicks. By doing so, you’re able to determine the potential worth of clicks on your site. But EPC is actually driven by a variety of other variables.  The publisher must also consider (a) price of the item recommended (b) average commission rate of the merchant (c) average likely conversion rate of the shopper.  EPC is the product of those variable.  If one of every hundred clicks from your site turn into a purchase for a $100 gadget, for which you are paid 5%, then your EPC would be (0.01 * (100*0.05)) = $0.05 per click.  Keep the click number constant but sell goods worth $200, and your EPC will double.  Keep clicks and item price constant but double the commerce intent of your traffic by really encouraging them to buy, and the increased conversion rate will mean higher EPC for you.

EPC-Explored_Infograph (1)

One way to consider EPC is by industry. Our data suggest the top three are financial services ($1.80), motorcycles & power-sports ($1.50), and lifestyle ($1.37). On the contrary, the three lowest are art & entertainment ($.06), travel ($.19), and family & baby ($.27). The purchase price of items in the first three industries tend to be significantly higher in cost than the later three, they also warrant recurring customers which merchants value and are willing to pay higher prices for.This explains their high EPCs.

With increasing resources and time devoted to tracking consumer trends over mobile and desktop devices, publishers are focusing more on where they are getting their traffic. Mobile is quickly emerging and will be more influential than desktop traffic in the near future, but it isn’t there yet. Even if publishers have equal amounts of mobile and desktop traffic, that doesn’t mean the conversion rate on mobile clicks is as high.

We learned desktop EPC was the highest at $0.07. Not surprisingly, tablet EPC was not far behind desktop at $0.06, but mobile remained low at only $0.02. Showing that even as mobile traffic to sites is increasing, people are still far less likely to purchase on those devices. The poor user experience on mobile risks deterring even the most avid shoppers. When considering the sports and fitness industry this trend mapped out exactly following the trend with desktop EPC at $0.18, tablet EPC at $0.13, and mobile EPC at $0.10.  Device EPC will be the number to watch as apps and mobile websites continue to increase their accessibility to customers. With the combination of these more efficient sites and the upcoming generation being more comfortable on their mobile devices than desktops, mobile EPCs will undoubtedly continue to rise, but for now… don’t neglect your desktop experience.

Written by Hanna Fritzinger