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Hawk or Handsaw said on February 18th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

The biggest issue with display advertising is with click through rates. A display campaign in general is seen as successful with a .2% CTR. When I run them for clients, I tend to prioritize increased awareness and visibility over clicks, but that’s a hard sell. Which is why I try to move clients away from display campaigns.

I’m really interested in seeing how the gifs perform. I have a guess based on my experience, but I’ve never run a campaign with animated ads.

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I also did an ad study on Project Wonderful, with similar goals, for my webcomic Genocide Man. One difference is that I did not focus on cost per click but on total number of clicks; I don’t care how much the ads cost (within limits), I just want to get as many people to look at the site as possible.

Like you, I found that skyscrapers overperformed compared to other ad shapes. I think it’s the vertical layout, and how it is well-shaped to frame a human form, that makes it a more pleasing ad. In a banner ad you have to focus on a person’s head or show them as small figures. They just don’t do as well. I did not, however, try the big, squarish rectangle ads. I’m gearing up to test them now.

I tested several strata of webcomic by price, from <10 cents/day to $5/day. I found a sweet spot around $0.30-0.50/day gave me the highest number of clicks. There could be a lot of factors in this. Ads on smaller sites don't get much traffic, and the traffic they do get are dedicated friends that aren't interested in shopping for comics? Ads on bigger sites don't get clicks because the readers are snobbish, and an ad really has to wow them to get attention? I don't know. I do know that ever since I ran this series of tests, I've focused on two ad campaigns, 30-50 cents and <10 cents (because they're cheap enough to run as a throwaway). I won't be buying ads on PW for $5.00 or more again, they're not worth it.

More important than price, however, is targeting marketing. When I made an ad featuring an anthropomorphic character from my comic and targeted other furry comics, the clickthrough rate tripled. Find the right market for your product — that's advertising lesson #1.

Now if I can only find the right market for stories about genocide…

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I’ve been reading your blog for years and love your comics-related writing, but for some reason I’d never really paid any attention to Al’Rashad. I clicked once or twice at your individual page updates, but without any context they didn’t really grab me, and either I didn’t notice it or for a while you didn’t have a clear link on those updates to the page where you can start at the beginning and read the whole thing.

For some reason (a link to the main page on Twitter maybe?) I recently found the main Al’Rashad webpage, read the whole thing so far, and loved it. I’m actually not sad I waited so long, because now having to wait for one page a week is going to be hard (flashback to my childhood reading glacially-paced Spider-Man in the newspaper — man superheroes in other media sucked when I was a kid).

But so far: worth it. That page last week with the Al’Rashad air force was great.

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Thomas Wilde said on February 18th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

“Alric reveal”? Did I miss something?

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As revealed in the right-most panel of this page, Alric is queer.

Or gay, or bi, I don’t know.

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Remus Shepherd,

I’m in the newspaper and news web site business, which means I am also in the advertising business (although I’m on the content side, not the ad side). You’re right that skyscrapers outperform ads of the same size elsewhere. Webcomic ads might add an additional wrinkle, but it’s usually less about the shape used than the positioning. You don’t look at the top of most web pages for long. You scroll down past the headers to see the actual content you came there for. And skyscraper ads stay visible while you’re looking at the content. Skyscrapers are visible for the most time, making them the best online ads. Top banners and half banners are significantly worse. Bottom banners are a waste of money at any price.

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Whether Alric is gay or bi hasn’t been officially revealed. We know that he was engaged at one point, but the engagement was cancelled with the consent of both families. I imagine that the full story will emerge, if only because of the immense political wrangling involved, but my gut leans more toward his being gay. If women were an option, then the engagement wouldn’t have been cancelled or he’d have been found another queen by now.

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auf_weiderzen said on February 18th, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Putting my foot where my mouth is, I think there also may be a ad-blocker component to some of the larger and/or erotic site lack of click through. No evidence or experience, but just a gut feeling that I had.

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I imagine bottom banners also underperform because by then most readers are done with the main reason they’re at the sight, and (well designed) webcomic pages will have the previous and next link buttons at the bottom for quick browsing (They can be at the top as well, but seriously-they need to be at the bottom). And since those are typically above any bottom banner, they’ll only hit people who are just coming for the latest update, if they even get that.

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Anodyneghost said on February 18th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

I saw your ad on Oglaf and given your remarks about being surprised it didn’t transfer I felt I should point out something I’ve noticed about Oglaf’s site.

They regularly post fake ads.

Hilarious ads, but still fake ones. And they’re often in the same spots that periodically get taken up by ads for actual things. Like your comic.
If I didn’t know what it was an ad for from following your blog, there’s a part of me that would have still suspected it was a fake ad from Oglaf.

I have to wonder how many other readers felt the same.

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“Ads on bigger sites don’t get clicks because the readers are snobbish, and an ad really has to wow them to get attention?”

I used to read, like, 15 web comics a day. However, I’ve gotten down to, like, 2 or 3 that I catch up on sporadically. Once in a while, if on one of those 2 or 3 comics, I see an ad for a comic that I think might be really great, I’ll click through, but I just don’t have time anymore to devote.

I bet that there’s a lot of people who read, say, QC, Dinosaur Comics and XKCD regularly (or Penny Arcade, Sluggy and Axe Cop or whatever), who just don’t have time to read more, and so don’t. And if your comic is advertising on those sites, it has to be good enough, and align to their tastes enough, that they will either devote the time and effort to add your comic to their rotation, or to kick one of their regulars out of rotation. Those are both hard sells.

So yes, it has to wow them enough that they might think that they’ll do one of those two things in order to click through, or at least, that’s how it is for me.

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Well, I, um, read every single webcomic listed and all of them except SMBC and Dinosaur Comics on a regular basis… and I didn’t see – or worse, didm’t notice – a single one of your ads. :S So, um, failure there, I guess.

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[…] and analytic looks back, but he has taken the time to share his experiences in trying to build up readership via Project Wonderful ads. The campaign started some two weeks ago (around this page), so Bird’s got enough data to […]

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Carlos Futino Barreto said on February 20th, 2014 at 6:35 am

I think sisyphus is on to something. I read 8 webcomics regularly. I already dropped some due to time constraints (Sheldon and Drive, both by Dave Kellet, come to mind). An ad would have to really stand out and align itself to my interests for me to check out.

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I read H!AV and I have adblockers, so I’ve never seen ads on that site. I checked a couple other comics you mention here and the ads are blocked for me on those sites too. So it’s possible that some people just don’t see the ads in the first place (and, like me, aren’t aware ads exist on those pages, because we’ve used adblockers so long we forgot those are even a thing).

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I’ve heard rumors that there’s a lot of fake traffic going through Project Wonderful has anyone else heard this is there anyway to verify such a claim?

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