It has been a bit over two weeks since the new advertising network WidgetBucks announced it’s launch (here’s where I posted my first impression review of WidgetBucks) and as promised here is my update on how it has been performing for me.
For those of you unfamiliar with WidgetBucks – here’s a sample ad unit to remind you.
I’ve been testing it in a couple of places and to this point have found it to have had mixed success. A few comments:
The Good Stuff about WidgetBucks
- All of the testing that I’ve been doing with WidgetBucks ad units have been on product related blogs where I think they have a much greater chance of performing well than on blog with other topics.
- I’ve been running it in a ‘split test’ with Chitika ads in one position (ie 50% of the time I display a Chitika ad unit and 50% a WidgetBucks unit) and to this point the WidgetBucks ad is earning more on a CPM basis than the Chitika unit (it’s still early days on that test though). The CTR is higher on the WidgetBucks ad but the click value is higher on the Chitika ads.
- I’ve also done split tests with AdSense and found that WidgetBucks out performed them also.
- As a result of all this – I’m earning more with WidgetBucks than I would have with ads in the same positions as with either Chitika and AdSense (and considering that they are my two biggest earners that’s pretty good).
- I suspect CTR is higher because of the animation in the ads which draws the eye to them.
- WidgetBucks have been adding new ad unit sizes and categories. They’ve also announced that they’ll be adding more options in the weeks ahead.
- Reporting is good (although having the delay/auditing does make it difficult to test and tweak ads)
The Bad Stuff about WidgetBucks
- Despite WidgetBucks staff commenting that their ads load fast – I still see them loading slowly on my blogs. They are generally the last thing to load on my pages (which is good in that they let other things load first) but it can take 1-3 seconds for them to load (some report it as being longer). This isn’t really good enough.
- Contextual Targeting doesn’t seem to have worked for me very well. I tested an ad unit in the contextual mode on my blog and it gave reasonable results in that the ads were on cameras and the site was about cameras – but I’ve rarely seen more specific targeting. What I mean by this is that if I have a page about a particular model of camera I’ve never seen a WidgetBucks ad actually served that mentions that camera. I think if they were more targeted contextually the CTR would be significantly higher – the ads would probably convert better for advertisers too.
- Ads dominate pages too much for my liking. While they do give the option to use different color schemes, even the most subtle colors make it difficult to blend ads into a page. While this probably helps with CTR it isn’t great for usability – particularly with all the animation going on. While you can easily have 2-3 ad units of AdSense or Chitika on a page to run too many WidgetBucks ads on a page would probably be quite overwhelming for readers.
- In my first impression review I said that the affiliate program sucked – they improved it which is great – however they don’t give any indication of what those earnings are until the first week of the following month. It’d be great to have some more immediate indications of not only the total number of referrals but how it’s performing. This would also give me a clearer indication whether others are earning good money from WidgetBucks.
So on an earnings from I like WidgetBucks – but on a design and reader usability front I still have some issues which hold me back from using them more.
Again – it’s worth emphasizing that different ad options will work differently on different blogs. WidgetBucks ads work well for me on product related blogs (as do Chitika) – while AdSense seems to work better for me on non product related blogs. The key is to test test test and see what works best for you.
I should also say that it’s another couple of weeks until payments come through from WidgetBucks. I don’t have any doubt that they’ll pay as promised – but while the initial earnings from it look pretty decent I can’t really review it fully until I see some cash hit my paypal account!
What’s Your WidgetBucks Review?
Have you tried WidgetBucks yet? If not click here to sign up. If so – what do you think now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to test them?