This is the October 2020 update for my Outdoor case study site. Check out the September 2020 update, and archive of past updates here.
These are the topics that I will discuss in this update:
- Traffic and earnings stats for October
- My display ad setup structure
- Planned improvements for November 2020
- Hiring a developer for Google Analytics automation
Let’s get to it.
- Revenue was $6,250 (comparable to $6,320 in September)
- Email list brought in $1,086 (compared to $1,267 in September)
- 70 new articles added (compared to 50 in September)
- Multiple display ad providers implemented
- E-commerce products were not uploaded and optimized
- Not much traction with brand outreach for advertisement
- Monetization of Facebook Groups did not happen; not enough time
📊 Traffic Stats for October
Since this is an outdoor site, I am starting to see traffic, conversions, and revenue decline. This is expected.
Here is a comparison between October and September 2020:
The large peak in October was due to my Amazon Prime day promotions. I did a very detailed write-up of that in this article.
Without that traffic boost from Amazon Prime, the traffic would be lower overall.
The next few months will have traffic and revenue drop.
Here is a breakdown of traffic by source:
- Facebook: 2,942 (compared to 2,501)
- Twitter: 1
- Pinterest: 1,647 (compared to 967)
- Reddit: 8
I am not seeing the crazy inrush of traffic that social media can provide, which is unfortunate. I will monitor 3 more months to see if there is any growth and then make a decision whether continuing makes sense.
💰 Profit and Loss
Here is the P&L chart:
- Revenue: $6,250.85
- Costs: $3,028.21
- Profit: $3,222.64
For the costs, I spent $2,432 on content, $167 on my VA fees, $325 on social media VA fees, and $21 on purchasing gear for my writers to review.
The site to date made $21,453 in profit. I purchased the site in May 2020 for $23,000.
I should break even by next month, or the following.
Monthly revenue breakdown
Here is the percentage-based revenue breakdown for the site so far. We can compare this month-by-month to see how my site is doing in terms of diversification.
Let’s compare this to September:
It’s clear from the charts that Amazon commissions as a percentage are decreasing. This month 33% was from Amazon compared to 49% in September. The total revenue is fairly similar. This is a big win!
📅 October Improvements
📈 Display Ads Setup
I’ve been testing various ad network providers over the course of the last 2 months. I can finally share the results of my providers and ad placements.
- Display network: NeworMedia
- Sidebar Top Right: 300×600 desktop, 300×250 mobile
- Sidebar Middle: 300×250 both desktop and mobile
- Sidebar Bottom Sticky: 300×250 both desktop and mobile
- Footer Sticky: 728×90 desktop, 320×50 mobile
- In-Content (after 6th paragraph): 728×90 desktop, 300×250 mobile
- Video network: Ex.co
- Muted auto-playing video for desktop only
- End of Content: LockerDome and NeworMedia
- NeworMedia: 728×90 desktop, 300×250 mobile
- LockerDome: 6-block content ads
- These are being 50/50 split tested to find the winner
As you can see, I am very strict with my ad setup and placement. I treat display ads as residual income so it cannot significantly deteriorate user experience.
Let’s go over how the performance has been.
➡️ NeworMedia Review
They allow for customization of where ads will show. Their ads do not drastically slow down page speed like Ezoic does. The ads are not “in your face” for the user.
Here are the results across October:
The revenue isn’t high. However, it’s ramping up as the ads get time to settle. Also, I treat display ads as residual so I try to find the balance between user experience and revenue.
Is Newor the highest-paying ad network? No. Will I make more if I go to Ezoic? Yes.
The reason I do not use Ezoic is fewfold:
- Horrible page speed load times
- An extensive amount of ads. Yes, I can reduce that but then it’s the same as Newor’s payouts. Ezoic pays nicely because they add two times more placements than other networks.
- Having to pay out of pocket to join their “premium” ad network, and get the page speed plugin. That’s bad practice.
For the time being, I am sticking with NeworMedia. There may be a time in the future I go to Ezoic (if I really get the urge to earn more revenue) but it’s not anytime soon.
➡️ Ex.co Review
In my EasyWins.io database that has 100+ proven strategies to 10X growth, one of the easiest wins is adding a video ad service to your site. These ads sit usually to the bottom-right side of your site. They are out of the way from the actual content.
Here is what the video looks like:
Here are the October results for the ad:
I added the video ads on October 20 so it will need time to ramp up. The video ads make anywhere from $6-$8 per day.
Pros of Video Ads:
- Ads sit to the side of the page away from the user
- Does not impact page load speed by much
- Videos are relevant to the audience (most of the time)
Cons of Video Ads:
- Some impact on user experience as no one really likes auto-playing ads
- Mobile video ads take up 30% of the screen. I’ve disabled mobile video ads for this reason.
My media manager at Ex.co stated that I would receive 30% more revenue with mobile ads enabled. I opted to disable. This is because I have popups to collect emails and show offers. With mobile video ads ON, the popups get covered resulting in a bad user experience and very minimal email conversions.
Overall, I am happy with Ex.co. They made an exception for me to join the network since they usually require 1 million pageviews. Alternative video providers include Ad Thrive, MediaVine, Ezoic Videos (beta), and NeworMedia. Most high-tier providers have a video option.
➡️ LockerDome vs NeworMedia Split Testing
I’ve covered the details on LockerDome, which is a contextual ad provider, in this update here. I like them because they show relevant ads, and the ads are interactive for the user.
The issue with LockerDome is that the network is performance-driven, whereas most display networks are driven by views; not performance. This results in LockerDome manipulating the CPM to ensure their clients get a profit.
I am running an active split test at the end of my article (related posts section).
Test: See if NeworMedia’s 728×90 horizontal block beats LockerDome’s ad.
Both ads are being shown 50% of the time using Ad Inserter Plugin.
The current results are as follows (so far):
- LockerDome CPM: $2.31
- NeworMedia CPM: $2.26
It’s way too close to call!
If it remains this way into December, I will opt for LockerDome as having revenue diversity is one of my main goals with every business I get into.
If you like these strategies to increase growth, make sure to check out EasyWins.io. I cover 100+ strategies that you can compound together to push your sites to the next level!
🔥 Amazon Prime Day Promotions
I did a multi-day traffic push to Amazon during their Prime Day events. Traffic was generated via direct, RSS, email, Facebook groups, and Facebook ads.
Check out that detailed write-up here.
The results were as follows:
- Total Revenue ($): $841.27
- Total VA Costs ($): $30
- Total Facebook Ad Costs ($): $67.25
- Profit: $744.02
- My Time: 7 hours
Overall, this was a successful campaign that I will replicate and apply during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and the runup to December Holiday season.
🏗️ Outdoor Agency Update and Brand Manager
As stated in last month’s update, I hired a Brand Manager.
The Manager outreached to 100+ brands in October. Many of them replied with interest however after reviewing the pricing, they decided to move forward.
My goal with this is to generate revenue from social shoutouts. I see my social profiles as an untapped resource for additional revenue that does not directly impact my website.
Any extra revenue from social shouts just helps the bottom line.
In November/December, the Brand Manager will offer significant discounts for social shoutouts to see if their is any traction.
📆 Plans for November 2020
Here are the planned improvements:
- Large push for Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions
- Put out another 50+ articles (more if possible)
- Research a new shoulder niche that I am seeing traction in
- Improve conversion on new pages getting traffic
🤖 Plans for Automation
I am a big fan of automation. In November, I plan to hire a developer to create a Google Sheet partnered with Google Apps Script.
This Google Sheet will tie into Google Analytics, and it will track the pages that get traffic above a certain threshold (e.g., more than 50 pageviews, bounce rate more than 80%). The sheet will create a list of pages that hit the threshold and have NOT been optimized.
When you are adding 50+ articles a month, it can get difficult to track which ones are starting to get traffic.
This automation tool will highlight these pages so my team can focus on them.