I’m already conducting an ongoing case study on vBSEO and am now going to start a new vBulletin plugin case study.
The plugin in question is called Google AdSense Postbit Integration and was released only a few weeks ago. It is a very simple installation taking only a couple minutes tops.
The plugin displays your AdSense banner, or anything else you wish to display, inbetween posts in the threaddisplay.php template. You can choose how often the banner will display (after every x posts), as well as modify some other basic options.
I’ve installed the plugin on three of the larger forums to conduct this case study, although the study won’t be the most accurate since I don’t get a whole of traffic from them. However, the results should still be useful.
The plugin itself is great. As stated above, it’s very simple but works like a charm. I currently have my ads displaying below the first post of each thread. The plugin also displays the ads if the thread spans across multiple pages. For example, if I have a thread spanned across 8 pages, the ad will still be displayed on the 5th page of the thread, below the second post on that page.
Below is a screenshot of how the integrated AdSense looks on MovieForums.org:
As you can see it integrates very nicely. My prediction is that the CTR of this “inline ad” as I call it, will be much higher than the top sidewide banners. Well, I mean that’s rather obvious. The real question is, just how much more effective will it be? It needs to be a fair amount more effective to compensate for the more intrusiveness the position is.
MovieForums.org has been growing nicely the past few months, but the traffic is still nothing to brag about at only around 300 uniques a day. However, I’d like to start monetizing my “side sites” a bit more because, well… I like money.
If one of my forums grows huge, I plan on offering paid memberships for extra features such as ad removal and custom perks, and I think that will provide a great, if not the largest, source of revenue from the forum, but I can’t introduce paid memberships until a forum is real big… like an average of 50+ users online at once.
So until then I’m experimenting with better integrated ads.
Apart from MovieForums.org, I’m also running this test case on MMAForums.net and PokerForums.org. On MMAForums I’m running another 728×90 leaderboard, but on PokerForums.org I’m selling it privately.
I made the slot available yesterday and sent out an e-mail to all my advertiser saying it was available. Later that day I already sold it. I’m charging $500 a month for a 468×60 and $700 for a 728×90. The advertiser bought the former simply because he didn’t have a leaderboard banner 😛
So you could say that I already made $500 from this test case, but he’s only running it for a month to see how effective it is, and I hadn’t heard back from any other advertisers for it yet so don’t get too excited 😉
If it does perform well though and I get a lot of demand for it, then that’s an extra $500-700 of residual monthly income for me. I hope it performs well not just for my sake but for the advertiser, as the advertiser who bought it is a very long-time and loyal advertiser so I want him to do well.
I’ll post an update to this case study in a month. I’m tracking AdSense in separate ad channels so I’ll be able to tell you exactly how the inline ads perform compared to my old ones. I’ll also let you know if the inline ad on PokerForums.org gets sold again.