Discussions and blogs that relate to the monetisation of domain traffic.

How to do a Domain Traffic Test – Baseline Data

How to do a Domain Traffic Test – Baseline Data

Doing properly structured domain traffic tests are absolutely critical to extracting the complete value from your domain traffic. What it also means that you need to get down and dirty into the numbers to really understand what’s going on. I’m going to unpack what I mean by this and how we typicaly conduct traffic tests at ParkLogic.

First of all, let me say that doing a properly constructed traffic test is not for the faint hearted and is NEVER as simple as changing a nameserver.

Escrow.com

I was speaking with a domain owner that has been in the industry for many years and still believes that changing the nameservers for their domains is how you start a traffic test. It’s one step in a larger plan and is rarely done straight away.

The first stage in any test is to establish what you are measuring against. For example if all of the domains are currently parked at Company A then the least you need to do is download the last months data to benchmark the success or failure of the test. This set of data is known as the baseline.

There is no point in messing with the baseline data and scaling it up to make the new company “work harder”. I’ve seen data multiplied by a factor and then sent through as “baseline” data. I've even been provided as a baseline the best the domains have ever performed in their history!

Let’s think about this for a second. Let’s imagine the test beats this manipulated data. This is good news because it means the new monetisation company is awesome! The question of what do you do if the test fails is much harder to answer. You either look like an idiot because you leave the domains with the new test….which means the new company knows that you messed with the data or you move the domains away and take a monetary hit. This is even more stupid. So please don’t mess with the baseline data.

Next, hold the baseline data very loosely. Baseline data by its nature is a snap shot at a particular point in time. You need to not only look at the numbers but understand what they mean. This will involve doing an analysis at the domain level and understanding why there are wins and losses.

For example, there is no point in holding the new monetisation company to account for education domains if the test is being conducted in July and the baseline data is from May. Of course education domains will perform better then! In your own thinking you need to remove these types of domains from any test.

All baseline data needs to be reduced to daily numbers. This helps average out the traffic and revenue data across an extended period of time and allows the new company to snapshot a week of data, turn it into daily data and compare it to the baseline.

In many instances you should also screen capture all the high value domain names at the current monetisation company. I would normally recommend leaving this up to the new company. These screen captures can be used to help unravel why some domains may be performing worse than others during the test.

The absolute minimum requirements for baseline data is views and revenue. If you don’t have either of these then you really shouldn’t run any test at all…..it’s just a waste of time.

What we have often done is told the client to leave their domains exactly where they are. We then ask them for access to their current monetisation company account and change the nameservers to ParkLogic. We then route 100% of the traffic back to the existing monetisation company.

This allows us to establish URLs (raw traffic), Views, clicks and revenue. From this we can establish a normalised RPM (revenue per thousand URLs). This number is the ONLY number that will clearly display who is winning in any future test.

After a week of running traffic to establish a normalised baseline we then test a percentage of the traffic elsewhere….but more on this later. By creating a baseline in this method you have a completely accurate measurement of success or failure.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.

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Taking Traffic Analysis to the Next Level

Taking Traffic Analysis to the Next Level

I have a really simple question to ask you, “Do you really understand your numbers?” For years now many of us have been staring at traffic statistics produced by different parking companies but do we actually understand what they’re telling us?

In this article I’m going to take you through a high level view of an account on ParkLogic (please view this article as a case study) and some of the analysis that we conducted to understand what was going on with the portfolio. Any client identifiable information has been removed.

Escrow.com

The portfolio has over 48,897 domains and has a baseline revenue of $303.33/day over a 30 day period. ParkLogic was producing a revenue line of $287.09/day for the last 7 days or $16.24 less than the baseline. Most people would immediately suggest that we have failed to improve the results……and they would be wrong.

This is where we need to get under the numbers…..

What we discovered was that the vast majority of the domains weren’t receiving the same levels of traffic to them. In fact, of the 48,897 in the test only 11,223 had the same level of traffic or greater compared to the baseline. The results can then be summarised in the following chart.

Graph 1

The values on the left are the daily earnings for the portfolio for both the baseline and the test period for each level of traffic. In other words, you can find out the performance of domains that had greater than 0% - 100% of the baseline traffic etc.

For example, at the 40% traffic level the baseline domains earned $230/day and ParkLogic $257 producing an uplift of $27/day. For those domains where ParkLogic received at least the same level of traffic as the baseline then the performance is $192 for ParkLogic versus $125 for the baseline. This is an uplift of $67/day, which isn’t a bad performance at all.

So let’s take a look at the second graph and begin to interpret what it is telling us. The blue line is the ParkLogic revenue less the baseline for the particular domains that are part of the traffic sample set. The red line is the percentage increase in revenue for each traffic level.

Graph 2

For example, for domains that had at least 60% of the traffic that the baseline received, ParkLogic provided an increase of $47/day in revenue or a 24% uplift. Where we received at least the same level of traffic as the baseline ParkLogic provided an additional $67 in revenue per day which equates to a 53% increase in overall revenue! Now, that’s what I call smashing the ball out of the ball park!

If we had left the analysis at the macro-level and just compared the portfolio numbers then the massive amount of gold wouldn’t have been discovered. This is why getting underneath your domain traffic statistics is so important. I see so many domain owners make bad decisions on their numbers simply because they don’t actually know what they are telling them.

This is sometimes due to a lack of analytical skills but more often than not it’s a lack of time to do the analysis. I would recommend that you put your Excel skills to work. Remember that each and every day that goes by you’re leaving money on the table that could just as easily be in your bank account.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

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Traffic Monetisation Webinar

Traffic Monetisation Webinar

I’m hosting a webinar this week that discusses many of the aspects of traffic monetisation. Sounds pretty boring until I put it this way…..putting more in your pocket!

Who Should Attend?
If you’re wanting to increase the revenue from your domain name traffic then you’ve just got take the time to attend. If you’ve thought about investing further into traffic domain names then you will increase your ROI dramatically with the information that will be provided in the session.

Some of the topics that will be covered include:
1.    How to get the most from your traffic domains
2.    Should I place all my domains with a single provider?
3.    Rotating traffic versus intelligent switching
4.    How should I measure success?
5.    What’s it going to mean to my bottom line?
6.    There will also be a time for questions and answers so make sure that you have all of those really difficult ones ready.

Over the years I’ve found that many people think that they understand how to monetise their traffic but the reality is they just don’t. I’ve spent the last decade refining, research and analysing traffic and how to squeeze every last cent out of it.

It is very important that you understand that there are LIMITED placed available so after first signing up at whizzbangsblog.com (the linkedin of the domain industry) make sure that you indicate that you will be attending by clicking on the following link.

When: 5th Feb
Time: 5pm Pacific
Location: Details on the event

Click here to view further details on the Traffic Monetisation webinar.

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What's RPM?

What's RPM?

Many people have said to me that the only thing that matters is revenue.....sure, revenue may be important but it's definitely not a measure of success. So the question has to be asked....what is a good measure of success?

Let's imagine that you have a domain that is doing 100 uniques per day and $100. You move the domain to another parking provider and find that the revenue drops to $75. What is the normal reaction? Move it back! Quick! I'm losing $25 per day! That actually may be the wrong answer.

Let's imagine that on the day the domain received $75 it only received 50 unique visitors. That would mean that the new parking provider is performing brilliantly compared to the first one. The way most people compare the results is via the "tried and tested" formula of:   revenue  /   views   *   1000   or in other words RPM.

This sounds wonderful until you realise that the definition of views is different at every parking provider. There are no standards at all. So it we go back to our example, the second parking company may have actually received the same amount of traffic as the first but just reported less because they have more aggressive filtering on the traffic. This would then mean that parking company one would once again potentially be the winner.

Confused? It gets worse. There are over seven different revenue numbers that can be used each month for every domain name for your RPM equation. A couple of them are, "The estimated revenue number" or "The number confirmed two days later". To get an accurate picture of what is really happening you need to get both the revenue and the traffic numbers right or you get the wrong answer and sub-optimally optimse the domain traffic.....which is a fancy way of you saying you will be losing money.

I'll do another short blog on the solution to all of this shortly.

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Google Isn't Everything

Google Isn't Everything

For the past 18 months or so many domain owners have been watching their PPC revenue decrease as Google in particular elected to pay out less and less. Although many domain owners having been crying foul I don't actually hold it against Google for taking this strategy. If I was running their business I'd do exactly the same.

The domain industry has traditionally been incredibly fragmented with domainers and parking companies accusing each other of either stealing money through withholding funds or shoving garbage traffic down the pipe. This fragmentation and angst between what should have been partners has played right into the advertising aggregators hands. A market in disarray means domain owners are whipping traffic out of one parking company and moving it to another in an effort to get higher revenues. What this has also meant is that it has been almost impossible for any parking company to scale in size to the extent that they can wag the dog.

Let's consider, only a few short years ago Domain Sponsor was riding high and had begun to flex it muscles with the development of a number of market verticals to drive traffic away from Google. Google's response.....issue a number of new contracts with honey moon periods to pull the traffic out of Domain Sponsor and the other incumbent parking companies. You had the birth of Internet Traffic, Voodoo and Parking Crew in short order (nothing against these guys by the way). Everything was as it should be.....fragmented.

So what are we seeing at ParkLogic? For a start no one parking company wins more than around 22% of the traffic. This means that if you have all of your traffic with one company then you're losing 78% of the time.....you'd think after all these years that domain owners would actually realise this. Just as an aside.....there appears to be a relative balance between the two dominant Google companies.

The most interesting thing that we are seeing is the rise of zero click solutions.....more and more of the traffic is being won by companies that bid in our real time auction system. BTW....real-time is sub 100 milliseconds. The hypothesis of why they are winning more often would have to do with the inadvertent rise of these companies as Google pushed the payouts downwards. What it also means that if you're tired of seeing your payouts decrease then you need to get into a program that has multiple zero click solutions competing against one another. If you don't then stop complaining in the forums about the decline.

I couldn't help think of the quote from Princess Leia Organa to the Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, "Governor, the most you squeeze the more star systems will slip from your grasp." I personally love Google, they pay the bills and they keep on inspiring many creative minds to work together to avoid them.....so don't despair there is a Luke Skywalker out their somewhere.

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