GeekZone (www.geekzone.co.nz) offers its visitors technology news and articles, updates, a platform for discussions and blogs to its members. The topics range from computers to mobile technology to home theatres! Launched in 2003 by Mauricio Freitas, the website is confluence of technophiles who share their ideas and discuss issues pertaining to latest technology and may even review on the new products. It is one of the most popular websites in New Zealand. Though, the visitors come from all parts of the world, around forty percent of the traffic come from the United States.
Back in 2003, when this website was launched it was difficult to share content so Mauricio wanted a platform where people can find all the news at one place so he started to post informative and valuable content which he found across the web. Later, he came up with a forum which evolved into technology community wherein people can share their views and thoughts, ask a query and get to know like-minded people. The traffic on the site was growing and Mauricio decided to monetize it so that he can pay his hosting bills and went for Google AdSense and so managed to open up a new stream of revenue for himself. As per Google Analytics, GeekZone had 633,000 unique users and over 1 million page views in December 2006.
Business Objectives of GeekZone
For all content publishers on web, the biggest concern is how they can generate more traffic to their websites and how they can make more money out of the content which is being published there.
GeekZone was receiving high number of visitors and page views on its website as the content which it offered was superior. Mauricio saw a huge opportunity in monetizing the traffic on www.geekzone.co.nz. With that objective in mind, he began looking for ways for monetize the content so that he could generate a source of revenue. Back then, being a small market, New Zealand did not offer him enough interested advertisers on his website and selling advertisements required both effort and time. The other advertising options which were available had a high chance to impact the website negatively as the options like web banners, pop-ups and data collections may seem intrusive and distracting to the visitors.
“We found that we spent a lot of time micromanaging these other accounts for a small amount of revenue,” says Mauricio. “We also found that ads were not really relevant to our content, or they were in a pop-up format that was too distracting.”
Strategy adopted by GeekZone
After weighing numerous options, Mauricio came across AdSense which is an online advertising program offered by Google to the content publishers who have partnered with the Google Display Network and enables these publishers to host and display ads of a third-party website. The products and services of these third-party websites are contextually and thematically similar to the content of the website publishers under Google Display Network. The ads are sorted and maintained by Google by using its technology. Once GeekZone set up the AdSense account, the company started hosting ads for various website publishers. Ad of various shapes and sizes and their placement on the website was tested expansively and the one with higher performance was selected eventually. The color of the ads was also modified so that it may merge well with the look and layout of geekzone.co.nz and did not appear out-of-place. With these flexible testing and optimizing features offered by AdSense, GeekZone hosted the ads which performed well in terms of adding to its net revenue. The ads which appeared on the GeekZone website seemed a part of the website to the visitors as he was reading a content which shared the same theme as the content of the hosted ads had. Also, the reporting offered by AdSense enabled GeekZone to regularly monitor the performance of the ads hosted on its website and optimize it consistently. By using Google Analytics, he could spot exactly what kind of content can generate the best revenue, and integration with Google Ad Manager enabled Mauricio to manage his inventory smoothly.
Result achieved by GeekZone
AdSense has proved to be extremely effective for GeekZone and it started registering positive results since it began its partnership with Google AdSense. Mauricio left his day job in 2007 as income was coming through. As the site grew, he started partnering with local advertisers and running their campaigns together with AdSense through Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP). The integration between AdSense and DFP into a single tool made the management much easier. AdSense proved to be a reliable and valuable revenue stream and GeekZone depends heavily on it. It gave Maurice the security he needed to switch to career of his choice and dive into publishing full-time. No negative impact was seen in the incoming traffic to the website and even the visitors had option to block or turn off the ads, people rarely did that. GeekZone was being paid for displaying the ads and each time a visitor viewed or clicked those ads. GeekZone has been with Google AdSense since 2003 and now 60 to 80 percent of its revenue comes from AdSense. Even the registered members of the GeekZone can make money from AdSense.
“Our users can enter their own AdSense code in their blogs to show a leaderboard and link unit,” Freitas says. “We also create a channel when a user writes content for us and use this specific AdSense code. Then we use channel data to calculate money owed to them and pay them each month.”
Those website publishers who have managed to garner a steady and significant number of visitors coming to their websites can consider Google AdSense as one of the most effective ways to earn money by monetizing the traffic. They can be paid by choosing to display the ads from the third-party advertisers. All they need is to become a part of Google Display Network and set up an AdSense account. Publishers can customize and tweak the ads by utilizing the flexible features of Google AdSense. As the ads blend well with the content and layout of the website, visitors do not find the ads of the third-party distracting and ads get the attention of the visitors. Newspapers, video websites and other mainstream media publishers have become part of AdSense to earn significant revenue by monetizing the content which they are publishing on their website on a daily basis.
Image Credit: Facebook page of GeekZone