Welcome to the second part of my serie From business idea to app. In this episode we will talk about how to earn money online. I will look at some of the different ads services that are available on the market and compare them.
In the first part of the serie we decided to do a car bingo site and now that part is done. If you read this post right after it was published, a beta version is available of the car bingo site at bingobil.com. The site isn’t perfect yet, but it will do all the basics.
- Play car bingo online from your computer, telephone or surface area.
- Print one or more bingo badges and take them along on your car trip.
- Cookies on the page maintains your bingo badge for the next time you open up the site.
- It’s possible to reshuffle the bingo badge. It’s considered good competition ethics to do this 3 times maximum.
- The site is tested in iPhone, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.
As I mentioned before, the site is not yet perfect. However, I don’t want to shuffle pixels around in all eternity. At some point you have to decide that the page is good enough, and that moment is now. The following items need to be taken care of:
- Make the bingo badge a bit nicer to look at.
- Create a separate monochrome bingo badge for printing.
- Write a small introduction note about how to play.
- Make a Swedish and an English version of the site.
- Add an animation for the completed Bingo row. At this moment, nothing happens.
- Add clicking sounds.
- Put ads on the site.
I will also convert the site into an Android app and an Iphone app, but we will talk about that in a later blog post.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but the Internet is full of ads. No matter which page you open up in your browser you will get an ad for some random thing. Personally I think I’ve learned how to ignore the ads, but apparently it’s quite lucrative. Otherwise the Internet wouldn’t be full of it, right? I can’t remember that I’ve ever pressed an ad bannar, though. But maybe that’s just me.
What is even more annoying is when you have looked at a certain product that you were thinking about buying. After that, the product will appear everywhere in every site you visit! For a while I was thinking about getting a sleeping bag for my kids and I started to scan the market for a good one. Now I can’t open up a single web page without getting a sleeping bag in my face. This is especially annoying when you a) already bought the product or b) are thinking about giving it away as a gift. I can’t let my kids use my computer for web surfing anymore!
Apps that really do an impact on the market, like Wordfeud or Clash of Clans, will earn loads of money. We’re talking many million dollars. My car bingo app will probably not be as successful, but you never know. Maybe there will be car bingo merchandise all around in a while.
Well, by now you should have got an idea what I think about ads. While I’m not that fond of it, it is a way to get payed for your labors. If you want to have ads on your own page, there are a couple of businesses, so called affiliate networks, on the market. Those networks will function as a gateway between the people who want to create ads for their businesses and the people who wants to show ads on their pages. We will talk more about them in a while, but first we will look at how you get your online earnings.
Earn money online
There are three basic ways to get your income from ads from your site. The first type is that you get paid every time the ad is shown. This is called CPI – Cost Per Impression. This type of revenue was common when the Internet was young. At this point people could not connect the ad to the actual business. Nowadays, every click that you do online is recorded and people know exactly which ad that made you buy that exact product. Because of this knowledge, the CPI is not that common anymore. The businesses wants results.
The second type of revenue is when you actually follow the link in the ad and enter to the business’ web page. This revenue is called CPC – Cost Per Click. If someone just wants you to visit their page, this is a great way to go. Community information, blogs, news paper and such sites may benefit from the CPC model. The revenue from the CPC ad is generally higher than that of the CPI.
The last type of revenue is when the ad target person actually buys something. The ad is connected to my id, and when you click my link the business will know that I sent you. When someone buy those rabbit skin slippers for their father-in-law, I will get a part of it. Well, not of the slippers, obviously, but from the money that they paid for them. This type of revenue is called Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Cost Per Action (also CPA), Cost Per Conversion (also CPC) and in some cases Cost Per Order (CPO). This type of ads are really good for you and could generate around 5-8% of the total order sum. So if you buy a new Porsche through me, I will not need to work that much for the rest of the month.
So, lets see which ad alternatives that are available for us.
The largest actor on this market is without doubt Googles AdSense. As of today, AdSense has just below 2 million users.
You can create an account at Google AdSense and after reading their user agreement you need to enter your address details. When this is completed you will get a short piece of code to add to your web site to prove that you’re really the owner of that site. I hope that I will be able to do this without filling my blog with ads…
Oh, now I received a mail from Google. (my translation)
We are reviewing your web site
This will usually take up to three days, but sometimes a bit longer. We will send you an e-mail when we’re done.
So, I guess we will come back to Google, then. When my first site is reviewed I will be able to add other sites to AdSense as well.
The revenue levels from AdSense seems a bit foggy. There seem to be more questions than answers in this post. What I can understand is that the more people that click your ads, the more money you will get. Duh. When I look around a bit it seems like a good idea to have at least 10’000 visitors every month before adding the ads. Well, 10’000 visitors is no match for our car bingo site, right?
Back to the future
By my advanced time travelling equipment I have transfered myself six hours into the future. I just received a mail from Google that my site is now approved. In the mail they sent me there is a link to their control panel where I’m able to configure my ads.
You may give Google the permission to add ads to your site automatically where they think it will fit. If you do, you will get another small piece of code to add to your HTML at the top of the page. For me, who likes to move pixels around in absurdum, it seems like a bad idea to give Google that amount of control over my site.
For people like me there is something called Ad units, which is an area with a certain width and height that contains the ad. In my case, I would like a flat, nice horizontal area that can sit below the bingo badge. It needs to be responsive like the rest of the site, meaning that it must look good on mobile phones and on computers. There are a couple of responsive designs in Googles library. I will add an ad here to show you the look of it. Try to alter the size of your browser window to see exactly how responsive it is. I will also have a good time seeing if this English version of the site will get English ads.
Tradedoubler is a Swedish company that has been into online marketing since 1999. They have around 180’000 users and they generated a revenue of 2 billion euros for them during 2015. Tradedoubler represents 2000 companies and targets 69 countries.
To register at Tradedoubler you just need to enter their website and press the button “Register here”. Remember where you heard it first!
The registration procedure is the same as for Google. Enter your information. Read the agreement. The important thing in the agreement is that you have to be at least 18 years old to use their services, and they will only pay you if you have earned more then 50€. Also, you are not allowed to click your own links to get cash, or trick anyone else into doing it for you. Too bad!
When this is done, you can add your sites into their control panel and tell them the type of content that the site contains. You also need to tell them what kind of ads to show. In the Swedish version of the control panel, there is a list of generic English terms. I went for Retargeting, which I think is exactly that kind of ads that annoys me the most. You will get a secret piece of code to add to your web site to verify that you have access to the source.
When your site is verified (which is done by the press of a button) you can start to browse the active campaigns. For example, they had a campaign about Tradedoubler themselves right now.
CJ Affiliate – Commission Junction
Tradedoubler may be the biggest affiliate network in Europe, but if you want to go for the US market, CJ Affiliate, or Commission Junction is the place to go. The company represents 4000 brands. Since this is a US company, the end user agreement is about the size of the book I’m about to publish. I scanned through it and it seems to be almost the same as the Tradedoubler one, although a bit more verbosed. You need to be 18. You cannot click the links yourself…
Commission Junction seems like a good site for the US market. If my car bingo will turn into a success over there I might set up an account. To be honest, though, I didn’t have the will power to read through the user agreement. TLDR.
Other affiliate networks
I must admit that I’m a bit overwhelmed by the vast amount of affiliate networks out there! When I started writing this post, I had a vision that I would go through the registration phase of each and every one of them and show you the banners. Now I found a list of available affiliate networks. What I can note from that list is that there are at least 48 of them. Among those, CJ Affiliate is the 9th from a size point of view, while Tradedoubler is on the 24th place.
In the first spot of the list we find Google AdSense with a market share of a whooping 85%. You cannot be anything but impressed by Google!
If you don’t want to use affiliate networks there is also the possibility to turn directly to the companies that you like and work as an ambassador for them. The Swedish site cdon.com for one has an affiliate program where they will give you “Up to 15% provision on sales”. Hmm… I should have a set of ads that targets stuff that I write about in my blog. One musician campaign, one write campaign and one entrepreneur campaign.
No, I will wait with ads on my site until the number of visitors has increased a bit. Today, I get around 50 visitors on the days where I publish something, and around 5-10 visitors the days that I don’t. I need to increase that number with a factor of 10 before I put ads on the site.
After all – Ads are annoying.