Advertising comics

Discussion in 'Creative Discussion' started by Bakertoons, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Bakertoons

    Bakertoons 4-Stripe White Belt

    So I'm wondering if anyone tried advertising comics on sites like TopWebComics or through Project Wonderful. Has it brought pageviews? Is it effective?

    Any other places where you can advertise comics and get good results?
  2. JamieMe

    JamieMe Administrator Staff Member

  3. Polyak Attila

    Polyak Attila 4-Stripe White Belt

    I do some paid Project Wonderful and Google Adwords advertising for Tales of Midgard. I'll do a quick rundown of the paid traffic on here, maybe that'll be helpful for you. Before we'd jump into anything, let me present you with... Numbers. Mainly on site traffic and the budget for the paid clicks. For reference, I used data from July 1 - July 31. This post will have a bit of online marketing specific language to it, so before even the numbers here are the needed definitions in spoilers.

    Click: A Click usually refers to the action of a user seeing your ad and clicking it. Pretty simple, right?

    Session: Sessions are user interactions with your site within a given timeframe. For example a user visits your homepage, clicks a link, scrolls down there, clicks another link and after reading for a while closes the tap. This is one session. It's important to note that in advertising you can have multiple sessions for a click (or even 0 sessions for a click, but that usually does not happen) tho the session and click count are usually rather close to each other.

    Target(ing): Targeting here more or less means choosing where your ads appear, for example in case of advertisement in search engines this can mean keywords, or in case of banner ads a specific adbox on a specific site. You could also mean the target audience, that is the people you want to reach, by targeting.

    Bid: Many ad networks have (usually automated) auctions for deciding which advertiser's ad appears in any given ad spot. Bid is simply the amount you're willing to pay. Project Wonderful and AdWords both have their auctions, albeit they work rather differently.

    Conversion: A specific action that you want your users to takes, for example, buying a product or subscribing to your newsletter.

    General traffic data for Tales of Midgard:
    Total traffic: 6100 Sessions
    Total traffic on comic pages: 5564 Sessions (91.21% of All)

    Traffic by sources:
    Project Wonderful - Paid: 3406 (55.84% of All)
    Project Wonderful - Free: 186 (3.05% of All)
    Google AdWords: 163 (2.67% of All)

    Project Wonderful Monthly budget: $45
    AdWords Budget: $5.6 (No set budget, had about $100 that I wanted to spend on other webcomic related things but didn't, so I set up an Adwords account several months ago and I've been using that ever since without any extra payment on it. For July this means $5.6 spent, but that was not a budget per say.)

    Before I'd go into any details on the spendings and advertisement efficiency a small clarification is needed for the free PW ads. Yes, you can advertise for absolutely zero money on PW, but it's a lot of work. I set up different measurements for paid/free PW traffic. In case of paid ads I mean ads where it is possible that I'll pay for the views/clicks on my ads, but it is still possible that I get free views there. The free ads are always free. The numbers above represent the actual numbers I paid and the actual number of sessions I got, not the bids I used for potential impressions. Whats more, as you might have guessed, the data above is aggregated, in all sources, there are multiple ads on multiple targets.

    So for actual experience with these ad networks. I started using Project Wonderful a lot earlier and spend a lot more on it than on AdWords. I'm not entirely sure if that's good or not in the end, but Project Wonderful shows pretty good results as an advertiser. Before you'd read on, please note, that in case of AdWords I set up an account for it once, optimized it, set targets and that's it. Now... As an advertiser you do_not_want_to_do_that. You optimize your campaigns over time for the best possible results, however since I started with PW first I had resources prepared for that, not AdWords.

    Comparing raw numbers PW seems to do a lot better than AW. 3406 sessions for about $45 is great, I mean that is 1.32 cents for a session which is pretty good. It is a lot better than AW which is about 3.44 cents per session. That is still not horribly expensive, but that's not exactly cheap considering we're talking about webcomics (in different industries these prices could easily be a lot higher). Now the difference between the two platforms... PW is easy to get into, but has some deapth to it if you are willing to spend time on it, more than I initially expected, but it's still not too complex. You have different biding methods, you have a form of automated advertising system, and you can play a bit with ad formats as well, but the most time-consuming thing is choosing target sites. AW is also surprisingly easy to get into, but if you really want to get the most out of it (meaning cheaper and better-converting clicks) you might want to dive quite deep into it. I for example know that I'm not using all of the potential in it, as a matter of fact, I'm not using the bits that would be the best for webcomics, because I don't have AdWords compatible banner ads. When the banner ads I use on PW were made they were made Project Wonderful friendly and had a new brand with zero brand value in mind. Naturally, Tales of Midgard is neither new, nor has zero brand value now, but Liz (who made the banners) doesn't have enough time to make new ads, and since the current ones were meant to introduce Tales of Midgard with the main character, not with the comic name well... Tales of Midgard (as words or as a logo) is not on them, and you need to have what you advertise on the ads for AdWords. Anyways I'm getting off track here, so... With all this in mind I'm not sure about session prices on AdWords even if I had proper ads to use the display parts. I currently only use the search ads, and those could be further optimized as well. Using display ads and optimizing search ads would surely make the bids go down, but by how much? I have no idea. If I had proper ads I'd most probably take my time to optimize there as well and compare the two networks properly.

    The other topic that needs to be addressed is reach. PW is a rather small ad network, while AdWords is a gigantic ad network. The more potential sites the more you can choose from and in the end, the better you can target your ads to find the most relevant audience. If you don't want to spend a lot and you don't need a lot of traffic this is not an issue, but if you want a lot of good traffic you'll most probably either need a bigger network than PW (a lot of ad networks are fine not just Google's) or a lot more money. Of course, nothing stops you from advertising on several networks at the same time, but that also means you'll have to optimize on different networks, or in other words even more work.

    To be fair with the two networks the amount of time I spend with them matters a lot. I put work into PW, and I do not put work into AW. Unsurprisingly, PW performs well, while AW is so-so for me.

    tldr; You can buy clicks for a few cents each if you have an okay basic setup. PW is easier to learn, has a smaller reach and you have fewer options there as an advertiser. Still, unless you want to dive really deep into AdWords I'd recommend Project Wonderful over it for comics.
    StickFreeks and ShaneWSmith like this.
  4. GoldenPlume

    GoldenPlume White Belt

    Wow the above post has said everything so well, there's not much for us to add.

    PW is less expensive than AW and is MUCH easier to use in our opinion. PW however has a limited reach so if your spend is over $100 a month, you're going to find you will run out of places to advertise at that are cost effective. AW you can blow through money in no time.

    We're getting results with PW all over the board from as low as $.005/click to $.04/click depending on the site. We automatically cancel any ad that goes over $.04/click once it passes $1 in spend for that site.
    AW we can get as many clicks as we want to buy at around $.05/click. If you start going less it gets harder. About $.035/click or less you won't get much of anything. We've gotten some $.02/clicks but its less than 10 a day.
    TopWebComics offers a $1/daily sponsorship (30 days minimum). It runs around $.032/click. Everything else at TopWebComics adwise isn't recommended.
  5. djwaglmuffin

    djwaglmuffin White Belt

    How do you all feel about twitter ads and facebook ads for reach? Even as a supplement PW and AW.
  6. GoldenPlume

    GoldenPlume White Belt

    Twitter is a definite no for ads for us. $5 per CPM and a terrible engagement rate.
    FB is another definite no due to bots and fake likes. It ended up costing us about $30/click for real people. But that was 2015 and maybe they've fixed that... though probably not.
  7. Shaneoid

    Shaneoid Purple Belt

    I'm not sure how much this'll work for everyone, but if your comic has specific hooks that fall in to a niche then try getting folk to promote your work outside of webcomics. For example, Queerty made an article about my webcomic Night Twink which got me a shed load of hits and subs (for free!). I'm not sure how it'll work for comics which, whicle potentially awesome, still just fall within their genre, but branching out to people interested in the subject matter may help.
  8. Bakertoons

    Bakertoons 4-Stripe White Belt

    That's always a good planning. I'm trying to promote my comics to people who loves cats. In another words, trying to attract the kind of people who watch cat videos all day.

    Just want to say thanks for the detailed response! I had good results with PW the limited times I used it. Perhaps I should invest more into it for later.
  9. Polyak Attila

    Polyak Attila 4-Stripe White Belt

    I never used either for ads, but I know people who use facebook ads with surprisingly good efficiency. I have yet to hear of anyone using it to advertise webcomics, but I've seen print comic ads there and I can only assume that they were worth the money. Facebook does have rather robust demography and interest based targeting options, which is an opportunity. Facebook is basically user data heaven for advertisers. Based on that I'd think that you can get pretty efficient there if you know your own comic and readers, but this is still only guesswork on my end.
    djwaglmuffin likes this.
  10. scythe

    scythe White Belt

    With Facebook you can avoid all the bots by not including countries where there are a lot of click farms, like the Phillipines and Indonesia, but when you do that, the price goes up and the reach goes down dramatically. I'm not convinced Facebook ads are salvageable at this point.
  11. djwaglmuffin

    djwaglmuffin White Belt

    Ah. yeah, I was just wondering if either platform was worth it.

    And they seem to be paying for impressions, not actual clicks. I think impressions can happen organically without the need to pay for them as long as you engage on a regular basis.
  12. Polyak Attila

    Polyak Attila 4-Stripe White Belt

    There are loads of ways you can pay for ads generally. A few of the payment methods:

    CPC: Cost Per Click (often mentioned as PPC or Pay Per Click)
    CPA: Cost Per Aquisition (cost per conversion)
    CPM: Cost Per Mille (cost per 1000 views)
    CPD: Cost Per Day

    Naturally, there are other ways you can pay for advertisement, for example, you pay for PR articles on a per article or per word basis, or whatever, but the above-mentioned ones, mainly the first three, are the most commons.

    In case of FB you can have CPC and CPA ads. There might be CPM, I don't know about that. In AdWords you can have CPC, CPA and CPM ads, tho there are a few ad formats which I don't know, so there might be more ways to pay as well. Project Wonderful has mostly CPD ads, but you can also use CPM as your measurement for spending and you are always shown per day costs alongside per 1k views costs.

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