My Modern Met has been running their own ads since 2008. By achieving high growth and traffic to their network, as well as creating high quality content, they’ve been able to secure deals with top tier ad networks and achieve CPMs in the double digits. Recently, these ad networks have brought to them site-specific buys and unique sponsorship opportunities.
Hi, I'm Alice from My Modern Met. I was asked to share my story on how we've managed to make money on our Ning network. Though our story is unique, there are common experiences we as Ning Creators will all face. Particularly if you're going to try and make money through advertising, I'd love to share with you some things we've learned along the way.
There are a whole bunch of ways to make money on your Ning network by advertising which include banner advertising with Google Adsense or ad networks, contextual advertising, affiliate sales (cost-per-click, cost-per-action, cost-per-sale), direct advertising and sponsorships. CPM (or cost per thousand) banner advertising is traffic driven, the more people you have looking at your banner ad, the more money you can make. Cost per thousand means that for every 1,000 impressions (or eyeballs), you get a certain amount of money which can range from a few cents to double digit dollars.
When I first started My Modern Met, we focused our attention on building up the community and providing interesting content. We started as a private, invite-only site and we took off the Google Adsense ads immediately, though looking back we probably could have kept them on. The reason we took them off was because our site was a little too broad, meaning we didn't have such a specific niche that Adsense was working effectively. That being said, even if you're not making a lot of money in the early stages, you want people to get used to seeing advertising on your site and making some money is better than none. We decided that it was better to use up the web real estate with interesting content. We built up our core community through friends and family. After about three months, we opened up My Modern Met to the public. Our content started to spread virally around the web, bringing in tens of thousands of people a day. At that point, we knew we were big enough to approach ad networks.
Through our own research and by talking to people at conferences, we found a bunch of ad networks that would fit with us and found out their criteria for getting accepted. We knew that we had to reach a critical mass of unique visitors and pageviews before we could even approach them. Once we hit those milestones, we reached out to them and were able to secure deals.
We manage our ads through Google Ad Manager. (Here's a good article from Hongkiat on how to set it up if you're looking into managing your ad networks or even your direct buys.)
With time and increased traffic, we were able to partner with more premium ad networks. After two years, we're now in the position where we're receiving site specific buys and sponsorship opportunities.
Here are our top ten tips on how to make money through advertising:
1. Be patient - Don't expect to partner with ad networks until you reach a minimum threshold (number of unique visitors or pageviews).
2. Research ad networks - Find out which ones best fit with your Ning network. There's a wide range of ad networks for particular niches like luxury and tech.
3. Be persistent - If you get denied from an ad network, don't give up. Approach them again after a certain period of time. Legitimacy comes with increased traffic over time.
4. Have high quality content, find your niche - If possible create original content that others would want to link to and spread.
5. Decide on your business model - Banners advertising works well for sites with high traffic, while smaller, more targeted niche sites work well with Google Adsense or affiliate sales.
6. Grow your community - What sets your site apart from blogs is that you have engaged members. Make that one of your selling points when you approach advertisers or ad networks.
7. Build traffic - Don't overlook the power of Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon.
8. Use social media tools like Facebook and Twitter - These will also help you spread content and build up your community.
9. Get to know other Ning Creators - Find out what works for them and see if you can apply it to your network.
10. Get outside your comfort zone - Attend conferences and network. You may want to just sit at your desk and work on your site but getting out there into the real world will help you see if you're headed in the right direction, find new ideas and identify trends. This is invaluable.
I hope this information helps. Good luck to all of you Ning Creators out there and if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Finding the right ads to post is easy... if you know where to find the advertisers. To help save you some time, or maybe give more work then you were expecting, here is a list of 232 Affiliate Ad Networks. I personally have experience as an Advertiser on Commission Junction and multiple internal affiliate programs for my employer. As a part-time affiliate publisher in my free time, I get links to monetize my personal sites and Ning Networks from Commission Junction, LinkShare, PepperJam, Amazon Associates.
Links to apply to all of these networks plus reviews and opinions from other affiliate marketers on which is the best programs or ad networks to work with, I find OfferVault to be extremely thorough. That site will also help you find which network the company you want to promote is found on and where they are paying the most.
Find more revenue ideas for your Ning, join the Making Money with Our Nings Group
CX Digital Media
Dark Blue Network
Epic Edge Media
Google Affiliate Network
Offers Direct ADS
OMG Network (UK)
Our Free Stuff Net
Share a Sale
The Web Gem Network
I personally prefer the convenience of working with the networks, but remember, companies with internal affiliate programs pay more then those that are listed on ad networks. The ad networks will charge an extra 20 - 30% fee to the advertisers on top of your commission per transaction. So that means if you can partner directly with the company you can earn 20 - 30% more.
Website Hosting Affiliates earn $90 - $150 per sale, among the most profitable type of ad you can run. Often retail affiliate programs only provide a 10 - 30% commission; average sale less then $100. But don't be discouraged by smaller commissions per transaction, a popular retailer, especially one your audience is interested in, can generate significant traffic and commissions, from your members online shopping.
Strategy Tip:One idea that plays on affiliate ads is to start a page for Member Discounts. Collect the best coupons and special offers you can find then keep your members updated with online savings to help them pinch their pennies. Not only will this strategy ad valaue to your network's content, it will give your members another reason to return frequently to check out the latest deal that you have uncovered.
If anyone finds a great printable coupon affiliate program. Please write a review, as I am in the search for the best places to find that type of offer to run.Happy Ninging,ben