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How I Monetize Mobile Traffic on My Blogs

Over the last few days, I’ve been experimenting with monetizing my blogs for mobile readers who view mobile versions of my sites.

Those who read ProBlogger on an iPhone, Android phone, Palm, or Blackberry Storm will know that you’re given the option to view this blog within a theme designed for mobile devices. I use WPTouch to serve this up—it’s a WordPress plugin that I’ve found incredibly easy to use. I have it installed both here on ProBlogger and on Digital Photography School.

I had to switch it off recently while making some server changes, and I was amazed how many complaints I received. It seems a lot of readers these days read my blogs on mobile devices!

WPTouch offers a lot of great features that I won’t go into here, except to say that it lets you customize your display far beyond what I’ve done to date.

One feature that I will mention quickly is that the plugin offers those who view your blog on an iPhone a way to actually add a web app to their iPhone homescreen. This will increase the number of people checking out your blog on mobile devices.

One of the other great features WPTouch offers is the ability to monetize your mobile theme with advertising. Once you’ve got it installed on your WordPress blog, all you need is to open up the WPtouch area, and look for the Advertising tab.

wptouch-advertising.png

In this view, you can select a variety of options. You can see here that I’m testing AdSense, and that I’ve put the ads below the header (you can also put them in the footer), and that I can select a variety of positions for them.

I did try the ads in the footer area initially, but they end up so far down the page that I doubted they’d ever be seen (note: it’d be good to have the option to display ads in the header and footer).

The ads are not the prettiest in the world, but here’s how they look on both the home page of the theme, and in individual posts.

wp-touch-ads.png

The ad position is prominent, yet they don’t completely take over the page, and the ads are contextual—all a good recipe for performance (at least, it is in theory).

WPTouch also gives you a way to use AdMob ads on your blog, or even to show custom ads (so you could advertise your own products or sell ads directly to advertisers—something I’m yet to test.

I’ve had these ads working on the ProBlogger and dPS mobile sites for a few days now, and the signs are promising. Obviously their success on your site will depend a lot on how many readers you have and how many of them are reading your blog on a mobile device. However, already I’ve seen my ads earning more for each day of my test than I’m earning through RSS ads with AdSense.

In fact, the eCPM that I’m seeing is around five to six times what AdSense earns on normal ads on my pages. While the actual traffic numbers to my mobile site aren’t as high as traffic to the blog via computers, I’m excited to see the potential of this tool.

I’m averaging around $30 per day so far in earnings from mobile visitors, so the WPTouch plugin paid for itself in 24 hours. While that revenue figure isn’t huge in comparison to other earnings on my blogs, it adds up to over $10,000 a year. That’s $10,000 which was gained simply by installing a plugin and adding my AdSense account—certainly some low-hanging fruit that I’ve been overlooking.

Note: This post contains affiliate links to WPTouch.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I’ve been using WPTouch on one of my websites for about a year now and have been very happy with it! Great plugin.

  2. hey Darren, that’s an interesting, little-covered topic amongst bloggers nowdays. Sometimes overlooked. Thank you for sharing your tips with us here.

    You really put me into “re-thinking” mood about this opportunity. And I think I will give it a try for my blog.

  3. Ishan says:

    That’s interesting. $10,000 per year is a big amount and especially when it does not involve much work on your side. I have tried free version of WP Touch and it is a good plugin. I will get premium version once I start to get good mobile traffic.

  4. WpTouch is a great plugin for wordpress bloggers to get their site working on mobile devices.

    The free version works just as well.

  5. Darren this awesome bro, I will be getting this up and going today..I wanted to do something like this with my blog a time ago

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  6. Michael says:

    Love WPTouch, I’ve used it since I started my blog. Another great feature is easy commenting – like I’m doing right now! The home screen tip is new to me though, thanks!

  7. Mobile Phone Ideas are the future!… This could be a weekly feature Mr.Rowse!…

    ;]

  8. Silvino says:

    $30 a day is huge ..that’s $1.25 per hour :)

    Really liked the fact that they aren’t completely blended within the visual field.

  9. HomeList says:

    Amazing what a little plugin combined with massive daily traffic can accomplish. /jealous =)

  10. Jarlin Paul says:

    Very useful information, Darren. Thanks for sharing

  11. dotCOMreport says:

    WPTouch is a really useful tool. I agree with @Codrut, there is a lot of overlooked income to be made from monetizing mobile traffic; thanks for sharing this.

  12. David Guion says:

    I’m on Blogger, but you have persuaded me to set up AdSense for mobile devices there. It can’t hurt. Some friends are urging me to move my blogs to WP, and some time I probably will. You have provided another reason.

  13. Joshua Noerr says:

    I noticed you did this the other day. I am an android user, and just loved the way it looked on my phone. Mobile connectivity is definitely where things are going, so thanks for the heads up!

  14. One of my blogs recently got okayed for Chitika finally, but unless I have it disabled via Abine or something, I wasn’t getting any kind of display from their panels like I’m used to with AdSense – guess I need to take another look at it…

  15. Hi Darren,
    I had never heard of this plug in. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
    For what it is worth I just got an email announcement from Aweber today about a new plug in they have to easy web form creation in WordPress. Nice idea – It inspired me to write a short review of it to bring it to peoples attention since I am a big fan of Aweber’s service.

    I can see you use Aweber. What do you think of the new plug in?

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    David

  16. Carlos B says:

    Nice review. Seems like a good plugging, and I do like the way you site shows up on my phone.

  17. Russell says:

    Great advice. I have just begun a gaming news/tech blog on Blogger and wondering if they have any applications like what you are talking about for WP? Thanks. Love all your info!

  18. Mike says:

    It is shocking how fast and frequently mobile users are appearing in the traffic stats. Something big is happening here, like a mobile revolution! As always we must adapt to change and monitize!

  19. Gerri says:

    I sent you and email about this topic a few months ago that was very similar to this post (it was just about mobile traffic) but I didn’t get a reply. This post answered the question (in a roundabout way) and then some.

  20. This is an excellent idea for bloggers. Will be installing WP Touch on my blog.

  21. I think this ads will only serve those in the US, Canada and other developed countries. But a huge population from countries such as India, Nigeria will be left out because they still use stale mobile devices, not iPhone, iPod or iPad. I think such regions be considered also in the ad serving.

  22. Raj says:

    I have been looking for plugin for my blog on mobile devics. This post really helped me. After checking this article in my laptop, I checked your blog in my iPhone. It is really very cool. Thank you for the article. By the way, I am posting this comment, through my iPhone.

  23. That’s a good one Darren, thank.

    I used to use WPTouch on one of my blogs but I did not know about the mobile AdSense option. This was one of the reasons why I turned WPTouch off. Facepalm.

  24. It strikes me how fast the web is shifting to mobile. I think the success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad have a lot to do with this (and I don’t mind in the slightest). Thanks for an excellent post as many people are thinking about how to tackle this!

  25. I had used it ago. Perhaps removed it. Will reinstall it. Admob is new to me. Will use it too.

  26. Kat says:

    wow, thanks for the great info. I’ll definitely have to check WPtouch for mobile on my website. Currently I am working with Altitude Digital Partners to fill my remnant inventory- takes the pressure off of me so I can focus on my content!