125x125 banner (some call it button to escape ad-word) is considered somewhat iconic for blogs. I have honestly no idea why and that doesn't interest me much… But I am very interested in how can it bring me more readers. I mentioned that I am going to test few things and promised to post results so here they are.
What are benefits of 125x125 spot?
- it has nice form - square, not too big, not too small;
- it's easy to compose blocks of few 125x125;
- it is less affected by banner blindness (supposedly).
What was I looking for?
I don't really want to sell advertisement (for now, I do consider monetizing part of “serious blog” experience). I am much more interested in:
- building traffic to my blog
- building traffic to my blog that doesn't make me work like a slave to keep it flowing
- Pageview - loading of single page by visitor.
- Impression - showing of single banner to visitor. So with one banner one pageview equals one impression.
- Click-through rate (CTR) - percent of visitors that clicked ad. So 100 impressions and 1 click equals 1% CTR.
- Cost per mille (CPM) - price of 1000 impressions.
- Ratio - what you give and what you get. For example 2:1 impression ratio means you must give two impressions to get one.
- Network size - amount of sites in the network. The bigger the merrier. :)
- Targeting - can you choose specific niches.
- Affiliate - by making other people join with affiliate link you may get some bonuses like part of their traffic or impressions.
See end of post for table with all stats.
This one is cross between social network and advertisement network. It is based on credits.
You earn credits:
- by visiting blogs and dropping (pressing drop link under Entrecard widget) = 1 credit
- by receiving drops on your blog = 1 credit
- when someone buys a day of advertisement in your widget = 25% of credits spend on ad purchase
- buying them for cash from Entrecard developers
You can spend credits buying Entrecard ads on other blogs or doing whatever else with them - they are transferrable between Entrecard users.
- relatively popular
- working economy
- mass-droppers that only care about making maximum (300) amount of daily drops and not your blog;
- penalty for disabling Entrecard ads in your blog;
- it's not really 125x125. Somewhat stupid to make 125x125 based widget that doesn't fit into 125x125 spot.
I used Entrecard most and wrote part of this post even before I started to test rest of stuff. After completing all of it I erased what I wrote because my opinion about Entrecard greatly improved. There is plenty of bad press for it and people who preach that mass-dropping is only way to use it. Don't listen to both - try for yourself. Drop where you read and check out those who drop on you. It's not much traffic but it works.
PublicityWheel is a lottery. You pay with having widget in your blog and when visitors click it it raises your chances. You can win few days of advertisement across all blogs in chosen category on these widgets.
- possibility to win lots of advertisement
- not square
I tried it and removed because of very slow loading speed. Later it got server upgrade so it's faster now and I had actually won a spin (after I removed widget). Since I was targeting under populated computers category it brought me ~600 impressions and single visit (from developer). Not much.
This is actually bunch of different services that look like creation of person that has tons of ideas but can't decide which are good ones. The one 125-related is BeerWidget. It is click exchange - you get visitors by visitors clicking widget.
- promises excellent traffic exchange ratio
- no exchanging impressions
Unstable, full of bugs and when I found page listing most active users it turned out there are like ten of them in total.
- nice ratio
- they are too much into pink color :)
I registered account and waited for confirmation email. It didn't come. Requested it again. It didn't come. Wrote to support. After week or so received answer that they are looking into it. Even later received new email asking if I had received confirmation email - no. Few weeks since I registered and they are still looking into it.
- 5000 impressions signup bonus
- no impressions exchange
Registered, never received confirmation email. Common story.
Clicks and impressions exchange.
- 10000 impressions signup bonus
- crappy ratio
- seems to target adult sites
This one is just evil. Starting ratios are bad enough but after you join it turns out that you receive “bonus” which is actually penalty for making less than 0.51% CTR. Considering that average CTR in their network is 0.06-0.07% it means that all network is constantly penalized. I got over 15000 impressions and four clicks from that.
- text ads as well as graphic ones
- diluting ad format (not limited to 125x125)
Got 1850 impressions and one click.
This one is advertisement network that targets blogs. They do everything - give you tools to publish ads, help sell them, offer affiliate program, etc.
Not much sales for beginner blogger but they offer impressions exchange. You show ads from network, get credits for that, spend credits to show ads in network.
- excellent integration in blog, plugins available - they make it load very fast without need for java script
- you are not limited to single spot
- zero customer support
This one is highly advertised and used on lots of blogs. But I got nothing except bunch of trouble from it. I had downtime, wrote to support, was ignored. I hadn't figured out how to start impressions exchange, wrote to support, got ignored. Information on site is totally lacking. It seems to me this one was just setup for free hype (because of high affiliate payouts) and set to autopilot.
Tried to register, got “Invalid email” message. Tried to contact support, got “Invalid email” message. Plus dumb captchas. Afraid of spam more than of losing publishers?
This stuff sucks. I had no illusions about value of exchange programs but results are simply terrible. CTR is extremely low, most are plagued by bugs, downtimes and zero support. I had formed an opinion that most of exchange programs are designed as passive income for developer and set to total autopilot.
Entrecard is best widget.
AdsFlip is best (relatively) impressions exchange.
Links and stats
|Network||Click ratio||Impression ratio||Network size||Affiliate||Targeting||Signup bonus|
|PublicityWheel||N/A||N/A||no data||20 points||bad||N/A|
|125Exchange||3:2||N/A||~4000||10% traffic||good||5000 impressions|
|Nuacco||2:1||2:1-100:1||tiny||10% earnings, clicks, impressions||bad||10000 impressions|
|AdsFlip||N/A||varies||no data||1000 credits||decent||1000 credits|
|PerformancingAds||N/A||no data||~1500||10$ lead, 5% earnings||decent||25000 credits|
|ViralBlogAds||N/A||no data||no data||15% earnings||decent||N/A|