Marketing

CTR (Click Through Rate) – Explanation, Results and Tips

A very important metric for banner advertiesment is the CTR (click through rate). It is simply the number of clicks the ad generated divided by the number of total impressions. You can also think of it as the product of the probability of a user noticing the ad and the probability of the user being interested in the ad.

CTR = clicks / impressions = p(notice) · p(interested)

The current average CTR is around 0.09 % or 9 clicks per 10,000 impressions and has been declining for the past several years. What are the reasons for this? For one, the common banner locations are familiar to web users and are thus easy to ignore. There’s also the increased popularity of ad-blocking software.

The attitude of internet users is generally negative towards banner ads. This is caused by advertisers using more and more intrusive formats. These include annoying pop-ups and their even more irritating sisters, the floating ads. Adopting them is not favorable for advertisers. They harm a brand and produce very low CTRs. So hopefully, we will see an end to such nonsense soon.

As for animated ads, their success depends on the type of website and target group. For high-involvement websites that users visit to find specific information (news, weather, education), animated banners perform worse than static banners. In case of low-involvement websites that are put in place for random surfing (entertainment, lists, mini games) the situation is reversed. The target group also plays an important role. For B2C (business-to-consumer) ads animation generally works well, while for B2B (business-to-business) animation was shown to lower the CTR.

The language used in ads has also been extensively studied. One interesting result is that often it is preferable to use English language even if the ad is displayed in a country in which English is not the first language. A more obvious result is that catchy words and calls to action (“read more”) increase the CTR.

As for the banner size, there is inconclusive data. Some analysis report that the CTR grows with banner size, while others conclude that banner sizes around 250×250 or 300×250 generate the highest CTRs. There is a clearer picture regarding shape: in terms of CTR, square shapes work better than thin rectangles having the same size. No significant difference was found between vertical and horizontal rectangles.

Here’s another hint: my own theoretical calculations show that higher CTRs can be achieved by advertising on pages that have a low visitor loyalty. The explanation for this counter-intuitive outcome as well as a more sophisticated formula for the CTR can be found here. It is, in a nutshell, a result of the multiplication rule of statistics. The calculation also shows that on sites with a low visitor loyalty the CTR will stay constant, while on websites with a high visitor loyalty it will decrease over time.

Sources and further reading:

  • Study on banner advertisement type and shape effect on click-through-rate and conversion

Click to access 131481.pdf

  • The impact of banner ad styles on interaction and click-through-rates

Click to access S2008_989.pdf

  • Impact of animation and language on banner click-through-rates

http://www.academia.edu/1608289/Impact_of_Animation_and_Language_on_Banner_Click-Through_Rates

Self-Publishing – A Rat Race

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. (Lily Tomlin)

Self-publishing seems like a cozy thing to do. You are free to choose any topic, free to write any way you like, free to set your own schedule … in short: a fantastic opportunity to express oneself and to share your ideas with the world. But as with anything on God’s green Earth, you gotta read the small print. There’s a good chance that self-publishing sucks you into a rat race filled with uncertainty, stress, anger and sleepless nights.

You chase the Amazon ranks like an addict chasing the drug that will bring his doom. You rush to finish the next book before the previous one drops out of Amazon’s “new releases” list. You are downright angry at an invisible algorithm that doesn’t make your book appear in the “also bought” list. You spend hours and hours of searching new ways to be seen and spend hours and hours frustrated when you can’t achieve the visibility you desire. You are happy about the sudden rise in sales and wonder obsessively about the following drop. You feel fantastic about the praise and are devasted for days about a bad review. If you get sucked in, there’s little left of the original idea: express oneself and share the ideas.

Any book takes a lot of work. The actual writing and researching, the creative process, is only a part of it. Thorough editing takes patience and time. You have to proof-read your book until you can’t stand the sight of it. This is the only way of making it error-free if you don’t intent to hire an editor. You have to format the whole thing for Kindle properly, including making it pass the EPUB validation (which will most likely cause you to scream at your innocent computer screen on more than one occasion), make the right book cover and write a catchy blurb. Then comes the worst part: marketing. Like a desperate and lonely vacuum cleaner salesman you go from virtual door to virtual door, begging for attention and feeling dirty all along. All for this little gain in visibility and rank, the self-published author’s cocaine. Then come the rollercoaster sales and reviews. If you kept your cool up to now, this will get to you. It’s amazing how much a negative review can hurt. But it’s just part of the job.

The rat race is on and you are rat #2,534,287 trying to find your edge. Remember the original idea? The expressing and sharing thing? Rat #2,534,287 doesn’t, all it wants to do is chase ranks.

I’m not making a case against self-publishing. I’m making a case for remembering why you do it or want to do it. The original idea that made writing your first book a joy. The first book! Just pure creative process. No thought wasted on ranks, promos, new releases, also boughts, pricing, … That’s how it should be. And that’s why I’m taking a break from publishing, to get back to this state of mind. I want to be me, not rat #2,534,287.

Five Biggest Mistakes In E-Book Publishing

Are you thinking about publishing an e-book? If yes, then know that you are entering a highly competetive market. Publishing a book has never been easier and accordingly, many new authors have joined in. To have a chance at being read, you need to make sure to avoid common mistakes.

1. Lack of Writing Experience

Almost everybody can read and write, it’s a skill we learn from an early age on. But writing is not the same as writing well. It takes a lot of practice to write articles or books that make a good read. So before you start that novel, grow a blog and gain experience. This provides a chance to see what works and what doesn’t. And the improvement will become noticeable after just a few weeks and months. As a plus, the blog you grew can serve as a marketing platform once your e-book is finished. In such a competitive market, this can be a big advantage.

2. Writing for Quick Cash

Writing for quick and easy cash is a really bad idea. This might have worked for a short while when the e-books were new and fresh, but this time is long gone. Just browse any indie author forum for proof. The market is saturated. If your first e-book brings in 30 $ a month or so, you can call yourself lucky. If it’s more, even better, but don’t expect it. Writing and selling e-book is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s tough work with a very low ROI. If you do it for the money, you’re in for a disappointment. Do it out of passion.

3. Lack of Editing

If you spend three weeks writing a book, expect to spend another three weeks on fine-tuning and proof-reading. To find the mistakes in the text, you have to go over it again and again until you can’t stand your book anymore. You’ll be amazed that seemingly obvious mistakes (the same words twice, for for example) can be overlooked several times. And no spell checker will find that. Tedious editing is just part of writing and if you try to skip that, you will end up with many deserved one-star reviews.

4. No or Ineffective Marketing

With 2.5 million e-books on Amazon, many of high quality, getting noticed is tough. Without any marketing, your sales will most likely just disappear in an exponential fashion over time. The common marketing means for indie authors are: growing a blog, establishing a facebook fan page, joining facebook groups and interacting, becoming active on twitter, joining goodreads and doing giveaways, free promos via KDP Select, banner and other paid ads (notably on BookBub – as expensive as it is effective), and and and … So you’re far from done with just writing, editing and publishing. You should set aside half an hour a day or so for marketing. And always make sure to market to the right people.

5. Stopping After The First Book

Publishing the first e-book can be a quite sobering experience. You just slaved for weeks or even months over your book and your stats hardly move. Was it all worth it? If you did it out of passion, then yes, certainly. But of course you want to be read and so you feel the frustration coming in. The worst thing you could do is to stop there. Usually sales will pick up after the third or fourth book. So keep publishing and results will come in.

Article Marketing Myths And Facts

By now everyone has heard of article marketing and so many people out define it in so many different ways there that it has become hard for people new to article marketing to understand.

In general, article marketing is where you write an article on a topic that is related to your website topic. Not a promotional article for your website, but an article about something that is informative to the reader. In the article you use keywords and phrases that relate to your topic as well, much like you would optimize a webpage. Your article when reprinted will be the text of a webpage or webpages.

In the author bio section at the bottom is some info about you and links to your website. It is suggested that you put in one link to your main page and one to an interior page that fits the article you are writing.

If your article is submitted to websites that take article submissions and offers free content to webmasters, then webmasters choose to repost your article on their websites, the links in the author bio section become links from their websites to your website.

Now lets go on to the myths and facts about article marketing.

MYTH: Article marketing doesn’t really help you all that much.

FACT: Article Marketing can help you increase your link popularity and be a source of some of the most targeted traffic you can get.

MYTH: Reprinted Articles only get indexed as supplemental pages, therefore it doesn’t help enough to make it worthwhile.

FACT: Depending on where the article gets submitted to, the article itself can get a top 10 listing in major search engines and not as a supplemental page.

MYTH: Submitting your article everywhere creates duplicate content and the search engines will punish or discount those pages as a result.

FACT: If search engines punished duplicate content in the way that myth suggests then all rss feeds that cause a post in a blog to be reproduced to be discounted or published and they are not. The New York Times articles and CNN stuff is blasted all over the web and are not punished or discounted.

Duplicate content is two webpages that are around 70% similar, not two webpages that have similar text on them.

MYTH: The only way article marketing works is you write an article then submit it to thousands of article submission websites.

FACT: There is more than one way to make article marketing work for you. The way mentioned above works okay if you are looking to get a lot of links back to your website whether they are related or not and can be effective if you currently have very little or no link popularity at all.

Another way is to hand submit your article to article submission websites that only accept articles related to your topic. This is more difficult but the links help you more just through the submissions and it’s more likely that the websites that pick up and repost your article will be also related to your topic which can help you with better links and targeted traffic.

Yet another way is to write a very high quality article that you really take your time on and research. You then choose a very high traffic website related to your topic. One that has great PR and a lot of visitors.

Email them your article and offer them an exclusive if they will print your article with your links included in the bio. If your article is of good quality and they get an exclusive you have a good chance they will post your article there.

This one posting of your article can be more powerful than the mass submitted article method if you choose the website you submit it to carefully.

Last but not least, posting your article exclusively on your own website is a great way to add fresh content and if the article is good, people will link directly to the article increasing both traffic and PR for your webpage where you posted the article. But for this to work you need to already have some traffic to work with.

MYTH: You should always post your article in your website first, then wait to get crawled by the search engines before submitting the article elsewhere.

FACT: Adding articles to your own website is called adding content. Submitting those articles to other websites is called article marketing. With article marketing you don’t want the article indexed on your website first.

Yes you read that right. You do not want the article indexed on your website first. You are or should already be doing SEO on your website and adding fresh content to your website for the search engines to get traffic from them.

Submitting articles to other websites and having the search engines find it there first gives another gateway that people can find your website through.

If the websites that you submitted your articles to get crawled often, then having your article appear there with the links intact will get your website crawled as well.

If the websites you submitted your article to are getting indexed well by the search engines, then your article being found on their website first might get it in the top 10 results.

Placing it into your own website with no or low PR might not have gotten the article indexed at all.

I hope this article will clear up some of the myths about article marketing and that it has helped you understand how and why it works.