It was a collaboration with over 200 marketers each running individual experiments in identifying the best of the best ways to leverage Facebook’s newsfeed. During the few years that we ran these websites, we collectively identified many ways to increase newsfeed visibility, but here’s my favorite one because this was the easiest to execute and had the highest reward.
We identified that Facebook distributes new domains on it’s platform with a much higher weight than domains with history. As the new domains receive some feedback in the next few days, their distribution is also limited. But there was no easy way to launch a new website everyday, with all sorts of advertising approved, and unique content in place. So as a quick fix, we resorted to using new domains but only as redirectors. This wasn’t a great solution to this problem, and obviously came with some caveats. So we looked further and eventually identified the perfect recipe to leverage this.
On running another experiment, we identified that sub-domains are also considered as fresh domains with no history as far as the Facebook’s algorithm is concerned. At the same time, subdomains do no require fresh approvals from the ad networks and exchanges. We also do not have to use redirectors, and Facebook referral headers stay intact.
Using this simple trick, we were able to boost our traffic by up-to 800% and were able to provide an environment that the influencers preferred due to extra-ordinary results and revenue-share.
One of the things that we frequently do as a startup is that while solving many problems within our own startup, we often come up with solutions that we feel can be also be provided to other startups.
We obviously do not make all solutions available to other startups, especially the core solutions that keep us competitive. But we don’t shy away from offering services that do not affect our core competitiveness.
Today, I wanted to share a story of how we ended up creating an ad network, despite having nothing to do with wanting to run an ad network in general.
One of the problems that all content websites want to solve is maximizing the juice out of their pageviews and visits without affecting usability and user experience. Since our websites heavily depended on driving traffic out of influencers, it made our primary audience acquisition a paid source. And our survival game was to maximize the revenue per each visit to be able to stay competitive for the paid audience acquisition.
During the process, we ended up testing 100s of different advertising partners, networks, RTB platforms etc. In the end we were able to create our own advertising waterfalls that out-performed most independent exchange bidding solutions.
Doing that not only increased our RPMs but also prepared us in offering this advertising solution to other publishers. Many of our publishers saw significant increase in their revenue, and we also created a significant side revenue stream without doing additional work.
As a bootstrapped startup, it is the responsibility of founders to explore all additional revenue sources like the one explained to create a sustainable growing business.
One of our content websites was a gallery website featuring images as “top 10 this” and “top 20 that”. It was an interesting website because bounce rates were super low ( below 20%) due to pagination in galleries and average page-views per user were over 8.
But we were always looking for ways to increase the page-views even higher. This was a website where quantity mattered more as the site had little text and the ad-rates were generally lower, so our focus was on increasing the page-views.
We ran A/B tests and decided to change the pagination heading from “1 of 23” to “1 of 24” adding an increment of 1 to the actual size of galleries. The idea was to trick the user into thinking there is one more photo in the gallery. But on clicking next, the user would end up on the next gallery eventually creating an infinite gallery loop for the user.
The following day, we saw 38% increase in our revenue and our PV/user went from 8 to 12. It’s not an example that I’m very proud of, but it showcases the power of A/B testing and psychological changes you can make to exponentially boost your revenues.