My first Project Wonderful campaign

So in my "thoughts on a promotion idea" post SGL suggested I consider starting a "campaign" on Project Wonderful. Campaigns are ad blitzes where you tell PW how much money you're willing to spend for how long, give it some parameters, and then it goes and automatically has you bid on any ads in the PW network that falls under your guidelines.

I had about $36 in my PW account, so I decided to try a campaign for 5 days. It started Sunday, ended today. Here's how it worked out for me.

I put in $30.00 and set the duration for five days. This means that if the advertising went beyond $30 before the five days ended, it would end prematurely. I also put a daily cap on total bids of $6.00. This meant that there would be no danger of the campaign ending prematurely.

At the end of the campaign:

My ad had 186,800 hits. 90,174 were "unique" (basically unique hits track first-time viewers. If someone runs into the ad multiple times, they are only counted once for unique hits).

Of those 186,800 hits, the ad was click 97 times (clicking the ad takes you to 93 of those clicks were "unique" (I assume this means there were 1-4 visitors who clicked on the ad more than once.)

The click through ratio for my ad was 0.05%. If you count only unique hits, the click through ratio is adjusted to 0.1%, which is better. Though not great.

The total cost of the ad run was $23.26. Which is only 78% of what I budgeted. Not bad there. Essentially this means I wound up paying 24 cents a click. That's a bit rich for my blood. However, I was pretty broad about where I targeted my ads, and if I were more focused on specific audiences I might do better.

Many thanks, Ubersoft. That's really valuable, interesting information, as I've been considering project wonderful myself.

Can I see the banner you used for the ad? The presentation, I imagine, would affect the number of clicks.

Also, is there any indication of whether the people who clicked went on to read beyond the first page (If your site doesn't offer hard stats, then perhaps the number of views on chapter 1 vs. chapter 2, etc?)

This is the leaderboard ad I used:

As for stats, it's tough to say. This week a number of things happened:

1. I fixed a few site issues my comic readers had been clamoring me to fix for a loooong time.

2. I had to take my site down on Wednesday for an emergency security patch because while it hadn't been compromised yet, it was obvious from the logs something (probably a bot) was trying to exploit a security hole the Drupal team had just emailed everyone about a half hour before.

3. The PW campaign.

4. On the 16th Fiona posted a great review of Curveball on WFG (thanks Fiona!)

So item one had a lot of old comic readers essentially discovering a bunch of features on the site they didn't know about -- site archives, storyline archives, etc, which meant there were a LOT of people going through comic archives (proportionally speaking, my comic audience overwhelms my fiction audience. Roughly 0.06% of my visitors read Curveball). Item two meant that anyone clicking on the banner ad on Wednesday got a maintenance screen and my apology.

There was a definite spike in readership this week, but was it from the campaign, or from the WFG review? I honestly can't say. My gut is that Fiona's review was more helpful because a) it was posted at an audience predisposed to reading fiction online and b) she put the story in a context that would make people think "so do I want to give this a shot?", whereas the ad (I suspect) made people curious because Garth Graham is a great artist and CB looks cool in that picture.

Huh I never heard of Project Wonderful. This is super handy. Thanks so much for sharing, Ubersoft.

I am not at my computer so cant dig up stats but .1 is not bad for general advertising. I get better rates from sites that have more in common with mine.... Best I've seen is about 1 percent . Click throughs also have a lot to do with ad location/ visibility and sometimes competition from other ads on the page. You want your ad to look more enticing than everyone else's.

Well it's all on the same site. The different domains redirect to specific areas of the site so: is the splash page redirects to redirects to

that kind of thing. But because of the disproportionate # of people who are interested in the comic over everything else in order for Analytics to give me any useful information about the fiction area alone I have to set up customized reports that filter out a lot of other information and I haven't got around to doing that effectively yet.

I played around a bit with Project Wonderful. I found that although it was initially great for pulling readers through and keeping them there (with the right ad targeting), the benefit tailed off after about a year of intermittent engagement with PW. My theory would be that the same readers are washing around the webfiction world, so after a while of seeing the ads, they knew they weren't interested and stopped clicking - even if I mixed the ads up a bit. SgL, you might have a more informed view on that theory? :)

I only ever used extremely targeted ads pointed at medium to high traffic webfiction sites. In terms of both click throughs and sticking around, MeiLin Miranda's website was far and away the most useful - partly because of dovetailing content (high/low - or at any rate not urban - fantasy with some sexiness *G*), and partly because that ad spot picks up the whole digitalnovelists community. :)

Suz - that is pretty much what happened with me and webfic sites as well. Google Analytics showed that of the people who continued to click, maybe 70% of them were returning visitors.

That said, the actual number of webfics that offer advertising space numbers about a dozen. Of that most get a few hundred visitors a day (hence overall views). The most popular on the network (webfic as we understand it) is Tales of Mu which scales to about 1000 visitors a day (probably a few thousand impressions) and is still active.

Average price to advertise has been a few cents up to about 35 a day on these sites. This is kind of expensive when compared to webcomics.

If a new story comes into the network, I usually will give it a shot (why not), but I consistently pay more attention to other types of sites with similar genres.