so i had 20 bucks burning a hole in my

account and decided to do a little test. which is more effective –




while certainly unscientific, i purchased 10 dollars worth of impressions from each adserver, ran the same “copy” on each [i went with the phrase – “ all intertwingled. all the time.” [no, it’s not going to win any awards, but once it popped into my head, i couldn’t get it out, which i figured meant something]] and started to watch the click-throughs roll in. it should be duly noted that from a rigid ROI analysis

are already fighting an uphill battle against


since your 10 bucks only purchases 3,333 impressions versus 5,000.

the very preliminary results, based on less than 500 impressions served, are starting to come in and it’s looking like the
mefi textads

are a better value – returning a click-through-rate [ctr] of 3% versus

paltry 0.4%. it’ll be interesting to see if the the
mefi textads

continue to deliver 10 times the click-through rate of

and what, if any, conclusions can be drawn from the results.

of course there are confounding factors galore, but one effect could perhaps be derived from using the word

in the “copy”. perhaps the not-so-obscure reference to ted nelson hints at an important demographic difference between the average


visitor. or maybe

has intuited a more
general theory with the observation

that “[textads] are probably more effective on a site with a more cohesive community, like Metafilter…”. or maybe i’m drawing too many conclusions from too few data.

i haven’t made up my mind whether or not the ads are “worth it” from a rigorous ROI perspective – or even it that kind of analysis makes sense in this situation.

personally, i view the ads as being closer to getting your name mentioned on the air during a public radio fund-drive than a mechanism for driving traffic to your site. i’ll probably buy a few more impressions, if for no other reason than to support services that i find valuable. i guess this puts me squarely in the “donation advertiser” demographic.

there has been one unexpected result – monitoring the ad results could become very, very addictive. not from a “funneling eyeballs to the site” perspective, but rather from the opportunities that arise from the “democritization” of running micro-ad campaigns with subtle variations. it’d be interesting to run competing $2 campaings with a “rival” blogger to see who gets the best click-through-rates. then again, maybe just coming up with that idea is adequate proof that i really need to find more constructive things to do with my time and money.

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