Adjix: Make A Penny With Twitter

Adjix

Today, a fellow Twitterer who probably read a previous post about Adjix on this blog asked me how much money I had made with Adjix.

So I logged in my Adjix account and here is the money I made with Adjix in 5 months of active use:

Adjix money revenue

Yep, a penny! I won’t get into the details of how I configured Adjix around my blogging activity, but in a nutshell, I was actively using it through my Twitterfeed account for 2-3 months, and then switched to twurl (which doesn’t bring me satisfaction either). I didn’t like the idea of putting ads in my stream after all.

Yield Software Automates Traffic Acquisition And Conversion – Matt Malden, CEO

yield software

Without hesitation, I can say that I am really confused and lacking expertise when I log in my Adwords account to buy keywords for my business. How high should my max bid be? My daily budget? Should I diversify my keyword strategy or just focus on a few. Once I went through the process of buying keywords with a well-thought strategy, I have to track the whole thing with my traffic analytics application, evaluate the performance of each visit/inbound keyword, and include thinking about my landing page (s). A real headache! I don’t want to have to deal with this.

yield software

Fortunately, during this week’s Web 2.0 Expo launched Yield Software. The Yield Software Marketing Suite is an amazing product that will do your online marketing job for you. Well not all of it, but it will handle keywords purchase, organic SEO and landing page optimization. The whole process is automated, so all you have to do is sit back and let the machine work for you. No technical knowledge is required to use Yield Software. Yield’s algorithm will make smarter keyword-buying decisions for you, will drive more qualified leads to your Website, and convert more leads into actual customers.

The challenge for the company is to prove that by using Yield Software, I will save more (or make more) than $130, since this is the monthly price for using the service. I have little doubts on its performance, but only time will tell us if Yield’s algo is powerful enough to make us even more lazy.

Yield Software was created by Matt Malden, a veteran in the online marketing space. The application is ideal for small and medium businesses who spend between 2 to 20K in online advertising a month (so unfortunately, this is not really for me), and for marketing agency professionals looking to save time on their SEO efforts. It is no accident if Yield Software’s series A came from WPP, way before the service was launched.

For those interested, during the launch period, there is a 30-day free trial.

Recommendation Engines: Future for Retailers and Content Providers?

future

I’ll start this article by mentioning a news item that most of you have probably come across in your feed readings: The purge of Digg’s top Diggers. The problem is that top diggers were holding a monopoly on the site’s activity, making it almost impossible for the social news aggregator to organize social networks within the larger social news site’s community.

As Steve O’Hear mentions on this ZDnet article:

The result is that the site’s content becomes even more relevant and social to its users, while at the same time providing even more hooks to advertisers.

If I get this right, the better you can recommend items to visitors, the better you can advertise to those visitors. There are a lot of recommendation engines out there, most of them holding out the promise to find for you the stuff you don’t even know you want.

However, in the recommendation engine area, the business model seems obvious, but the ability to build the technology that will seduce users is less obvious. Here, I would like to show how recommendation engines successfully implement advertising solutions in their product.

On Twitter, someone told me yesterday:

Plus Pandora has the coolest targeted mobile ads going on the iphone. Possibly, greatest app ever… (tweet)

Pandora is one of the most popular apps on the iPhone. Their music-matching technology is perfect to automatically build audio playlists when you are on the go. However, we all know how doomed the music industry is feeling these days, so how could Pandora define a relevant ad revenue model?

Pandora was facing two challenges: How to place ads on the small iPhone screen? Which advertisers to target based on what criteria? The result is quite a success so far, as you can see here.

Another recommendation engine that competes directly with Aggregate Knowledge is France-based Criteo. The startup has developed a rich data infrastructure to serve up recommendations based on behavioral patterns, and swiped a $10 million fund in January of this year. The company has also integrated an advertising system in their recommendation results. Here is an interesting quote I picked from their blog posts announcing their new advertising system:

Another interesting feature is the pay per click business model for advertisers, which is (still) quite uncommon in the uprising behavioural targeting market. While the costs of sponsored links are increasingly high, Criteo offers advertisers an alternative with powerful ultra-targeting graphical advertising. In addition to high volumes of clicks combined with a high quality of traffic, we offer advertisers an exposure of their brand that is not possible on sponsored links. Various tests have shown that one post click order generates an additional 3 post view orders in parallel due to memory of the campaign.

aggregate knowledge

Aggregate Knowledge has recently launched the same solution for their clients. The product is called Pique, and it is now the feature product of Aggregate Knowledge homepage. The product is defined as “discovery advertising”. Pique targets retailers and major media Websites. It offers advertisers the opportunity to leverage Aggregate Knowledge’s network and technology to increase attention and traffic to their own items.

This is the most brilliant form of advertising for users, publishers and advertisers alike. Users get to find the content they are looking for; publishers get another page view per click through the recommendation widget, or a small ad revenue to compensate for the lost visit; and advertisers get a finely tuned ad server that guarantees a well-rounded ROI on ad spendings.

Should advertisers go along with Pique or Criteo for their marketing needs (I hear both in the back)? Having a robust technological platform certainly is a key criteria of success for recommendation engines. The size of the network matters too: Aggregate Knowledge has a network of about 100 Websites; Criteo has about 4,000. However, Criteo works with small publishers (bloggers), and Aggregate Knowledge doesn’t.

Aggregate Knowledge ultimate’s strength is its development efforts in the mobile device arena. Mobile devices are carry-ons with small interfaces. The lack of room on the screen requires that navigation be crystal clear, and that the information be accessible. It’s always easier to retrieve an information from a system that knows what you want. The technology that Aggregate Knowledge is developing is playing a key-role in the assimilation of mobile devices into our daily lives.

HyveUp – Amar Goel – Pubmatic

pubmatic

No later than two weeks ago, I signed up to an ad network for HyveUp. After two weeks and no mentionable results, I took the ad down and forgot about the ad network altogether. “Second-tier advertising networks may have some of their own advertisers and publishers, but their main source of revenue comes from syndicating ads from other advertising networks” (Ad network, Wikipedia). Enters Pubmatic…

On one hand, Pubmatic enables site publishers to earn more money by automating and optimizing the decision process for publishers. In other words, as a publisher, when you sign up to Pubmatic, simply link all of your ad network accounts to the service, place Pubmatic’s snippet of code in your site’s template, and let Pubmatic do the ad network management work for you.

Pubmatic’s technology is impressive: In 4 milliseconds, its servers crawl your ad networks, detects the most valuable ad, and delivers it onto your site. Allow Pubmatic between 50,000 and 100,000 served ads before showing great performance on your site. Pubmatic is making it possible for publishers to tap into the variety of ad networks out there and get the most out of it without moving a finger.

Publishers face such a wide selection of ad networks, all promising wonders, that they end up having just a fling with most of them. As I mentioned in the introduction of this article, ad networks’ main identifiable challenge is to retain the publishers that sign up to their service. Pubmatic helps ad networks increase the duration of the relationship with their publishers. Through Pubmatic, site publishers do not have to give up an ad network if they are not satisfied with the performance (any ad network can have its ups and downs). Everything is auto-regulated by Pubmatic’s cutting-edge ad-serving platform.< By standing at the crossroads of ad distribution, Pubmatic turns out to be a great vista point to observe evolving trends in the online ad economy. Every month, Pubmatic releases the Adprice Index. The PubMatic AdPrice Index is a broad-based measure of ad network pricing information. It is based on anonymous data from over 4,000 publishers who work with PubMatic for ad network and layout optimization services.

The Adprice Index has gained immediate popularity in the online advertising space. Pubmatic still focuses on fine-tuning their unique ad-serving technology, but will undoubtedly become a figure of authority when services evolving around the Adprice Index will see the day.

HyveUp – Mark Trefgarne – LiveRail

liverail

Monetizing videos is a challenge that HyveUp is flirting with since it has become a stand-alone company. The choice is wide: Revver, Brightcove, Videoegg, and even Adsense for Youtube’s videos. They all have great services, but video is not yet the best revenue-generating medium, because it definitely lacks an ad service completely dedicated to placing the right ad for the right viewer in the right video in a right fashion. CTR and videos are not best buddies yet.

Last Saturday, I walked to downtown San Francisco to interview Mark Trefgarne, Founder/CEO of LiveRail. Think of LiveRail as the DoubleClick for videos. As Mark mentions in the video, DoubleClick already serves ads for videos, but their technology has been built for banner ads from the ground up. DoubleClick’s video weakness is LiveRail’s strength.

LiveRail is for ad networks, publishers and publishing platforms. It offers a compelling ad serving technology, along with an unobtrusive ad insertion solution (see example at the end of the video). LiveRail doesn’t have an ad sales team. Their focus (at least for the moment) is to fine-tune their ad serving technology, optimize their targeting tools, and enable ad insertion in any given video player out there.

Online video is an ever-growing medium. As we have seen recently between Youtube and TiVo, TV content and Web videos are slowly converging to form a whole. This convergence will happen if someone’s there to facilitate the shift to the online medium. LiveRail wishes to provide the solution for this emerging need.

More info about Liverail:
ReadWriteWeb: LiveRail Video Ads – One Month Out
Mashable: LiveRail is a Video Ad Distribution Network
Webtvwire: LiveRail Advertising | The Future Of Online Video Advertising? (recommended)