Would you like an easy way to increase the earnings of your websites? Then think about joining Kontera for their in-text contextual advertising network. In case you don’t know what an in-text ad is, it’s an ad that looks like a regular hyperlink and is triggered by the content of a webpage. Except that it’s got a double underscore instead of a single underscore and when you put your mouse over it a small advertisement box is shown. Kontera runs one of the most popular in-text ad networks out there. I’ve never liked those types of ads all that much but, well, I like money more than I dislike the ads 🙂
I’d considered signing up with Kontera for a long time and hadn’t gotten around to it until a month ago. In-text contextual ads seemed like, potentially, a painless way to boost earnings on some of our sites by a couple of percent. Especially since you can run Kontera and AdSense on the same website without violating anyone’s terms of service. How well they would work was up in the air but I figured the only way to know was to test them myself.
Signing up wasn’t a big deal. If you’ve joined AdSense, or AdBrite, or Commission Junction, or any other affiliate program then you know the routine (your name, your company’s name if any, address, website URL, etc). It only took about 10 minutes after reading through the terms of service.
I’ve forgotten the details now but I don’t remember it taking very long until their ads were shown. One thing I noticed was that there was a little bit of extra space after the ads. It might be something with my stylesheet. I haven’t tried to figure it out and it wasn’t bad.
Are The Ads Relevant?
One of the things I was most interested in was the ads themselves. Without relevant ads there’s no way you’ll get a decent amount of clicks. I thought it might take a little while for their targeting engine to understand the content of our website. Normally, it takes time for Google AdSense to start showing the most relevant ads too. Kontera seemed to do a decent job. Some of the ads were worthless (just sent the double underlined keyword to a 3rd or 4th tier search engine) but some of them were awesome. One ad I saw in particular was just as relevant as any AdSense ad that shows on that website.
Old School Stat Tracking
A really screwy thing is that they don’t have real-time stats. Sometimes it updates the next day at 11:00 AM on the east coast, sometimes it’s 11:25 AM, sometimes it’s 1:05 PM. Basically, I have no idea and that’s annoying. I’m a stats junkie and, while I don’t mind a delay of a few hours, waiting until the following day seems ridiculous. At least they show you the most common keywords triggering ads and which pages on your website they appear.
Earnings As A Publisher
Regardless of all of those things, the real measure of success in is the earnings. That’s been kind of a mixed bag. It’s done better than I thought eCPM-wise but it still isn’t a lot of money (the AdSense eCPM was about 16x the Kontera eCPM). My guess is that the niche makes a big difference and that’s why you see such a wide range of results here. I’d think a product oriented website would do well but I don’t have experience with Kontera on a website like that yet. I’ve seen enough to think it’s worth testing on a few other sites though.
Earnings As An Advertiser
It’s strange but $0.02 clicks still exist. I know because we’ve gotten some. In fact, if you’ve got products to sell or an affiliate site then you might seriously consider advertising on Kontera. I have no idea what the conversion rates would be but you can get some seriously cheap clicks with them.
You’re also eligible for a small referral bonus if people sign up after you invite them. I say eligible because the referree has to have 50,000 impressions within the first two months for you to get paid $25. I doubt most people make much money from their affiliate program that way. After you’ve been with them three months and are earning at least $100 each month, you’re eligible for an affiliate link. That’s actually a much better deal. You’ll get 10% of their revenue for the first year for those referrees. Nice.
One last thing I like to mention is an excellent post by Randy Brown on maximing AdSense revenue using six sigma principles. Randy runs a very successful website getting advertising revenue from Kontera and the three major contextual networks (AdSense, YPN, and AdCenter). He’s doing experiments on boosting his revenue and blogged about part of a study. It was really, really interesting because he found that AdSense revenue had no correlation to Kontera revenue. In other words, putting both of them on your website doesn’t make earnings drop with either. He makes upwards of $75,000 from his main website with contextual advertising so there shouldn’t be any issue with a lack of data points for statistical validity.
Anyway, I’d give Kontera a try if you run any kind of content website (whether it’s a blog, forum, or static content website) with your internet business. It’s painless to add and does what they say. Kontera gives you supplemental revenue and every little bit helps. Anyone already advertising with AdWords, YSM, or AdCenter should definitely check them out too.
Waiting for Kontera to give me real-time stats.
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