educational

Open Source Traffic Management Options

Stephen Yagielowicz

The task seems simple enough: provide relevant, valuable statistics about where your site’s visitors are going when they leave your site; whether it is to an advertisement, sponsor program, traffic trade or other destination; along with how much money that visitor was worth in comparison to his or her cost.

While adult affiliate programs, aka sponsors, each offer their own stats reporting, differences in the methods that individual programs use to count clicks (or visitors from your site to theirs), skew the results when you try to compare the productivity and profitability of one affiliate program over another.

Fortunately, it does not have to be difficult or expensive, as adult webmasters have a wide variety of available options for getting a grip on their traffic and revenues through Open Source advertising serving and outgoing click counting tools.

For example, program A may only count unique visitors to a site’s join page, while program B may count all visitors arriving at its website. The difference between these figures is huge, with program A seemingly performing much better, showing a sales ratio of, say, 1:1,000 (or one sale per 1,000 visitors) — while program B reports one sale in 10,000 visitors (1:10,000).

While on the surface, this makes program A appear to perform 10 times better than program B, this may not in fact be the case, but merely the result of comparing apples to oranges.

In fact, program B could be dramatically outperforming program A — but unless a website owner counts their own outgoing clicks, they will never know the truth of the matter, or understand how much money they may be losing.

Here, differences between raw and unique visitors can become blurry, as one visitor may require several visits to a site before making a purchase. The important thing to know is how much a visitor to your site is actually worth, enabling webmasters to compare their monetization channels across an even playing field.

With a handle on where departing website visitors are going to and how much they are earning for you by doing so, further testing can be used to increase revenues. For example, proven methods such as automated ad rotation, which when coupled with split testing, will reveal the best offer to present in a given ad zone (such as a top-of-page banner ad or a sidebar widget). If you have the automated tools to make it work, it provides a competitive advantage delivering the difference between success and failure.

These are common techniques for more established, professionally run websites, but still lacking on many smaller sites and affiliate promotional channels; which is too bad, given the power of these tools, their easy accessibility and the range of uses to which they are suited.

For example, an affiliate promoting a webcam site may wish to discover which niches his audience prefers, as a way of maximizing referrals and sales. While this may be an easy guess when the affiliate runs a teen concepts blog, for instance, it is less clear when the site is a multi-niche tube representing all types of genres. Remember, just because you run a niche site, it doesn’t mean that all of its visitors are devoted exclusively to that specific niche.

Here, the ability to echo the cam site’s niche selection tool on to the affiliate site, with the addition of outbound link tracking on each niche link, will give the affiliate a superb insight into his traffic’s wants — not only boosting the affiliate’s income, but also allowing him to improve his site for increased sales.

For those trying to promote a white label cam site, this tip may make all the difference in the world in regards to your sales and overall profitability.

If this all sounds good to you, the next question is likely to be “How can I do this on my website?”

Fortunately, it does not have to be difficult or expensive, as adult webmasters have a wide variety of available options for getting a grip on their traffic and revenues through Open Source advertising serving and outgoing click counting tools, which can range from homebrew scripting to the use of redirects and other coding techniques.

One easy option is to use Google Analytics (GA), which is already employed by many adult website operators to monitor various aspects of their incoming traffic flow. Using this popular tool may involve the setting of outbound links as events within GA, using a brief JavaScript delay (half a second is enough) to ensure that the event has time to fire and be recorded. Google offers a brief tutorial on enabling this (support.google.com/analytics/answer/1136920).

Of course, the Google tool is limited to counting clicks and displaying metrics about them, and lacks any ability to display or rotate advertisements.

For this task, which is much more complicated, one premier solution is OpenX (www.openx.com).

According to the company, OpenX is a global leader in digital advertising technology and services, enabling digital media companies to manage and maximize their ad revenue. Its unique platform combines ad serving, a real-time bidding (RTB) exchange, yield optimization, and content valuation to deliver the highest revenue across every desktop, tablet, and mobile screen. 94 percent of the top 100 brand advertisers and 53 percent of comScore 100 publishers work with OpenX, conducting 125 billion monthly transactions with 12 billion daily bids from buyers.

Yes, it will work for you too — and as an Open Source solution, it is free to use — with a WordPress plugin and one-click install by many web hosts, making it easy for users at all levels. Individual accounts let advertisers monitor their performance on your site, while robust reporting allows website owners to make the best decisions about their revenue streams.

Simply set up your various ad zones and place the creatives from your sponsors and advertisers into the system, and you will now have your own means of comparing apples to apples, while properly valuing your site’s traffic.

It is also an easy way to enable a site to sell advertising directly in a mutually verifiable environment that benefits both the buyer and seller.

Of course, the GA approach can be integrated with OpenX to provide more insightful metrics that are incorporated with your current stats reporting, for a one-two punch that reveals the information that savvy marketers need to know.

If you want to make more money from your adult site, this is a good place to start.

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