Trafficspaces Integrates with Stripe to Make Payments Easier for Publishers

March 31, 2013 – 2:08 pm Trafficspaces Integrates with Stripe to Make Payments Easier for Publishers

We are happy to announce that in response to popular demand, Trafficspaces is now integrated with Stripe, the fast-growing online payments company that makes it easier for small businesses to accept payments directly from their customers.

With the new Stripe, you can start accepting payments for your ads very quickly. The integration is simple because you don't need to remember any complex API keys, or write any code.

All you need to do is click on the "Connect to Stripe" button in the Payment Gateway Setup page, then we'll authenticate you with Stripe, and you will be well on your way to accepting ad payments directly into your bank account. No middleman involved.

As with the other payment gateways we support i.e PayPal, Authorize.Net, USAePay, Beanstream, you can setup a test integration before you go live.

That's it folks. Get started today.

Increase Reach And Revenue With The New Trafficspaces Network Builder

April 2, 2012 – 5:16 pm Increase Reach And Revenue With The New Trafficspaces Network Builder

Trafficspaces Network BuilderWe are excited to announce that we've just launched a much, requested new feature – the Network Builder.

It  is a complete toolkit for building and managing a network of affiliate publishers so that you can

  1. Increase your reach,
  2. Open up new opportunities with advertisers and
  3. Increase ad revenue.

Essentially, the Network Builder gives you the power to build and operate vertical ad networks across channels such as mobile, web, video etc

The Need

As more websites and mobile apps emerge daily, consumer time and attention becomes more fragmented across the web. To compete with the large web destinations such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, publishers need to team up together to make their collective inventory more attractive to advertisers.

With the new Network Builder, you can focus on building relationships with advertisers, whilst being rest assured that Trafficspaces will handle the operational challenges such as managing network inventory, publisher relationships, billing, commissions and reporting.

Benefits

In a nutshell, here are some great reasons why you should build your vertical network with Trafficspaces 

  1. Advertiser self-service 
  2. Publisher self-service
  3. Automatic calculations of commissions and payouts
  4. Ability to place liens (holds) on the amount due to any publisher
  5. Multiple commission models – CPM, CPC, CPA and revenue share
  6. Ability to override a network’s commission model for an individual publisher
  7. Publishers can use one ad tag to load ads from multiple networks
  8. Support for 3rd party ad sources when no ads are available
  9. RESTful API for integrating in-house systems and workflows
  10. Payouts via Paypal (coming very soon)

We've also created a brand new demo that showcases how a typical network can work with Trafficspaces.

Give it a try today. We'll love your feedback.

Ad Bundling – Increase Ad Sales by Offering Special Deals

February 17, 2012 – 4:58 pm Ad Bundling – Increase Ad Sales by Offering Special Deals

We've just completed a great new feature that I think you are going to love. 

It's called Ad Bundles, and it allows you to sell ad campaigns to advertisers in simple, prepackaged, special deals.

Why do you need it?

If a new self-service advertiser walks into your ad store, and sees many different ad zones (leaderboards, skyscrapers, mobile units, video units etc), they can get overwhelmed very quickly. If they click the Back button, you've lost a customer.

We've seen this too many times and we want to fix it.

How it works

From the publisher's perspective, all you have to do is 

  1. Go to the "Setup > Ads > Bundles" section
  2. Create a new Ad Bundle.
  3. Add multiple ad zones to it and for each, specify the discounted price and quantity (of impressions, clicks or days) you wish to sell.

For example, you can add two ad zones that are normally priced at $10/day, and sell them for $8 with a quantity of 30 days each,  which sets the total price of the bundle to $480. 

Another great addition, is that you can now specify which kind of targeting strategy should be used in the advertiser's campaign. For example, you can restrict the ad bundle to your New York city traffic, and your Football-related pages.

When an advertiser visits your store, they'll see a "Special Deals" link on the home page which displays the Ad bundle you've created and the overall cost of advertising.

They'll pay one fixed price  – $480. No fiddling around budgets or targeting. It's simple.

Check out the examples in our demo. Try it out and make advertising simpler for your advertisers. 

Announcing Support for Email Newsletter and RSS Feed Advertising

April 11, 2011 – 2:03 pm Announcing Support for Email Newsletter and RSS Feed Advertising

At last, Trafficspaces can now help you serve ads into email newsletters and RSS feeds.

We decided to add this new feature because

  • Opt-In Newsletter advertising is a great way to reach highly targeted readers.
  • Existing methods suck because they usually require you to insert ads manually into your newsletter templates.
  • We received death threats to get it working or else…just kidding.

So, how does it work?

It's simple, really. From your perspective as the publisher, here's what you need to do

  1. Create an ad zone that supports image ads.
  2. Set your pricing
  3. Copy the "Email Ad Tag" and paste it into your newsletter template. You'll only need to do this once.
  4. Add a dynamic unique code. If you use MailChimp, you can use the *|CAMPAIGN_UID|* and *|EMAIL_UID|* merge tags to generate a unique code for each email.
  5. Fire off your email and watch the magic happen.

It's even simpler for advertisers.

  1. They select the email ad zone in your ad store.
  2. Upload an image ad
  3. Pay online.

That's it. Once the ads are approved and their campaign starts, they'll be able to track the ad impressions and clicks online. Simple.

So, what are the benefits?

  1. Save more time by only inserting the ad tag once into your email templates.
  2. Run flexible ad campaigns because you no longer need to insert ads manually into your emails or feeds.
  3. Earn more money by running more campaigns at the same time.
  4. Run better targeted ad campaigns by geo-targeting ads to specific countries, states or cities.
  5. Increase your revenue base by offering email ads to your advertisers. Email ads are typically charged at higher rates (assuming you have a well-targeted and desirable list).

In summary, if you have an email list, sign up today and give this new feature a try. It's a great way to serve any type of promotional content to your readers (including promoting your ad store).

 

Facebook is NOT a Ponzi Scheme

January 19, 2011 – 2:58 pm Facebook is NOT a Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi for DummiesJoseph Perla, a blogger, posited recently that Facebook is a Ponzi scheme because according to him, its huge ad revenues were based on selling a product that "yields no real value, and thus no profits" to an increasingly small market of advertisers.

I disagree completely with that argument and here's why.

Context

First of all, a bit of context. eMarketer has just published a report which estimates that Facebook took in $1.86  billion in global ad revenue in 2010, which is 2.5 times its 2009 estimate ad revenue.

Furthermore, as shown below, the company's share of global online ad spend has tripled since 2009, with revenues coming from a broad spectrum of advertisers ranging from major marketers such as Coca-cola, Procter & Gamble, and AT&T to small businesses such as restaurants, auto mechanics, and small websites.

Facebook Ad Spend (2009 - 2012)

A huge chunk of that money is coming through Facebook Ads, the company's self-service advertising system. A runaway success, to say the least.

Analysis

Ok so Facebook Ads is making a tonne of money. The next question is – why?

According to the company, the principal benefit of advertising with Facebook is an opportunity to establish a connection with a highly targeted demographic to whom your message is highly relevant.

Facebook Ads AdWords Message

Simply put, Facebook's job is to create that connection whilst your job as a marketer is to send a highly relevant message. If either of the two fails, your campaign is toast.

Let me explain that from another angle.

Facebook Ads will get you in front of a highly targeted audience (because it has a lot of information about its users) but once the stage lights are on you (or more accurately, your itty bitty text+image ad), you must perform. Dance baby, dance.

Facebook Ad

Success isn't going to be based on witty text, more prominent call-to-actions, or clever images. In contrast, success with Facebook Ads is going to be all about thoroughly understanding the mindset, emotions and disposition of the user and making the most out of that temporary connection.

Coca-cola understands this well with its focus on brand awareness, and so does Match.com and the thousands of other direct response advertisers who are pleased with the service.

I'm a big believer in the potential of self-service ad systems. Heck, we even built a fast-growing business around that concept. To me, Facebook Ads has nailed the two key success factors of a self-service ad system.Demographic Targeting

  1. Ease of use – by making it dead easy for practically any business to advertise, and
  2. Targeting – by integrating its huge database of demographic and behavioural info with a highly intelligent system of ad servers.

I think the point where many marketers go wrong is when they just see users as "eyeballs" to whom you can show any old generic message and hope to attract 1%. That's just plain wrong. If your target base is too broad, the chances that your message will fall flat just increases exponentially.

Put in another way, you don't have to target 10,000,000 users in order to create a good campaign. Get it down to less than a million (or even less), and put in a good bid price. You may end up paying more per click or impression but the chances that the audience will interact positively with your ad (directly or subliminally) are much higher.

Summary

So whilst it is true that some advertisers aren't making money from their Facebook ad campaigns, the fact is many others are doing perfectly well. It's simply a case that some advertisers know how to target their audience and deliver the right message whilst others don't.

The ones that are currently getting it right will only get better, and just like with SEO, others will learn the best practices and play catchup. The same thing happened when AdWords launched. Some people got it right, whilst others didn't.

So back to Facebook. Their role is simply that of a connector. One that's bloody good at its job and has an increasing amount of resources on which to get better.

With revenues and profits at an all-time high, fantastic technology under its belt, surrounded by an ever larger ecosystem of businesses that depend on it, it's going to be hard to bet against it.

Facebook might be many things but a Ponzi scheme, it is not.

2 Simple Ways to Increase Advertiser Conversions

August 16, 2010 – 12:21 pm 2 Simple Ways to Increase Advertiser Conversions

We've done it again. We've simplified the advertiser experience in Trafficspaces by making it simpler and faster.

In the past, it took about five or more steps (and about five minutes) to create an ad campaign. Not any longer. From today, advertisers can get started in less than one minute.

We drew inspiration from John Maeda of MIT. In his book, The Laws of Simplicity, he argues that "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful".

Simply put, when designing a self-service advertising system, the key to increase conversions is to

1. Engage them early

First off, after selecting their ad zone, they should see a outline of the ad zone's dimensions.

This helps them get a mental view of how their ad will appear on your site.

Secondly, they should be able to design their ad and preview the changes live on the same page. If they make a change to an image, flash, or text ad, the changes should be live on the same page, without needing to refresh it.

And one more thing, they should be able do all that before creating an account.

2. Save time

Even a newbie advertiser should be able to get started in one minute. Anything longer than this, and people start to abandon the process. Every piece of info they need should be within easy reach – ad preview, targeting preferences, budget, estimated impressions and billing info.

The result. You'll get more advertisers signing up and creating ad campaigns (even if it is to try you out). You've gotta love it.

We've added these improvements to Trafficspaces, and the changes are a breath of fresh air because they'll help you get a good Return on Investment on your Ad Store.

Try it out on the demo and tell us what you think.

Many thanks to Kyle Q. Yan and Art Agrawal for all their advice.

How to Make Social and Demographic Ad Targeting Work

July 5, 2010 – 7:42 pm How to Make Social and Demographic Ad Targeting Work

This is the 1st post in our 3-part series on How to Make Ad Targeting Work, in which we'll discuss various ways in which you can make your advertisers happy by helping them get the right ad in front of the right person at the right time – the Holy Grail of Advertising.

We'll start off with social and demographic targeting, which is all rage at the moment .

Next week, we'll discuss ways to make best use of geographic and language based targeting.

Finally, we'll round off with an in depth look at how to improve contextual and interest based targeting on your site.

Okay, let's get started.

So what exactly is demographic targeting?

Simply put, it is a technique that allows you to direct ads to the people who might be most receptive to it based on their profile or social information such as their age range, gender, income range, relationship status, religion, academic qualifications etc. The list is virtually endless.

The main advantage is that it helps advertisers create ads that don't suck.

For example, you don't want to show a hot dating ad to a couple who are happily married, nor does it make sense to show an Extreme Sports ad with Brody Wilson doing a motorcycle somersault 100ft in the air to my grandma.

Well, I take that back. My grandma might actually like that sort of thing.

Anyway, you get the point. So the next question is how do you get it to work?

Getting started – the advertiser's perspective

For advertisers, applying demographic targeting is a fairly simple process. If they've ever used Facebook Ads then they've probably familiar with it already.

The screenshot below shows what it looks like on Facebook.

Now here's a screenshot of what it looks like in the Trafficspaces Ad Manager.

Very similar indeed. Both systems let advertisers customize their ad targeting on a per-ad basis which is really cool because it allows them to do multivariate testing.

Multivariate testing is simply a way to test many ad targeting assumptions at the same time with a view to determine what works best.

Once the advertiser determines which combination of demographic targeting preferences works best with your users, they can really optimize their ad spend and get the best ROI (Return on Investment).

It's a win for you, a win for your advertiser, and most importantly, a win for your users.

Sounds fantastic. So, how do you set it up in Trafficspaces?

Getting started – the publisher's perspective

First of all, you have to switch on ad targeting in your system setup.

  1. Go to the Setup->System->Preferences section
  2. Switch on the ad targeting options that you wish to offer. Don't be tempted to switch on all the options because doing so may overwhelm your advertisers.
  3. Click on Save Changes and you are good to go.

The second step is to integrate it with your site.

At the beginning of this article, you may have been thinking "How in the world is Trafficspaces going to know if the user is male or female?". Simple, with a bit of  Houdini-esque magic. Just kidding. The answer is "through integration".

When a user visits your site, their browser makes a call to fetch ads from the ad servers. This call contains information about the user, and the interesting thing is that you can customize the information on a per-user basis.

Like most sites on the web, your site is probably driven by a dynamic server-side programs written in PHP, ASP, Java etc. What this means is that if the user has signed in, then your server-side program will normally have access to extra information about the user that it will typically use in creating a customized page. That's pretty much how most social networks, dating or community sites work. If you also have snippets of profile info about your users, then you are in good shape to make use of demographic targeting.

The third and final step may be slightly technical so feel free to send it to your techies.

You'll need to install the advanced ad tag on your site. To grab it, go to the Setup->Ad Zones->Ad Tag->Advanced page. You should see something like the screenshot below.

As you can see, there is an attribute called TS_AdService.flags which contains arrays for each type of ad tageting you've switched on. To pass information about a female user, you can just set TS_AdService.flags.genders = ["F"]; It's pretty much that simple.

To download the full list of codes, go to the Setup->System->Preferences->Advanced section. You can also customize it with your own codes.

Conclusion

That's it. You don't have to spend a million dollars to provide demographic targeting that works beautifully. Create your own ad store and it comes out of the box.

It is the simple things that make the most difference. Allowing advertisers to improve their Return of Investment makes them happy and that's a good thing.