When we talk about making money online on this blog, we usually do it from the publisher’s perspective. Today is a little bit different, because we’re looking at it from an advertiser’s perspective. At the same time, you also have to realize that these go hand-in-hand. After all, you might be paying for advertising to draw more visitors to your site so that you can make more money, right?
Google AdSense is easily one of the most popular platforms out there, but you can waste tons of time and buckets of money tweaking your ad campaigns for utmost efficiency and effectiveness. MixRank is a service that helps you minimize that wasted time and money by spying on the competition. Let’s get down to the review and see what it does.
Spying on the Competition
If it works for someone else, it could very well work for you too. That’s why it’s always a good idea to pay attention to your direct competition. MixRank does exactly that, but with a very specific focus.
It doesn’t completely break down their marketing plan, but it does take a look at how your competition is using Google AdSense. After you provide the domain of another company, MixRank scours the web to see where its AdSense ads are being displayed, getting the exact ad copy and ranking the published ads based on a number of factors.
In doing so, you gain several insights into the competition’s campaign, seeing exactly how small tweaks to the wording can make huge differences in how often the ad is displayed and how effective it is in driving traffic.
Breaking Down the Text Ads
When you submit a domain to MixRank from the homepage, you are given the first page of results. If you want to get more information, you need to register for an account. That’s free right now, but MixRank may charge for a premium service in the future.
In my example, since I’m a freelance writer, I looked up the ads for Freelancer.com. Shown above are the top four text ads that the site has placed through AdSense. Seeing more ad creatives would require signing up for that free account.
Going through this list of active ads, you see the exact ad copy, as well as the maximum number of publishers running this ad in the last month, the last time this ad was seen on the web, the number of times the ad has been displayed on various publishers’ sites in the last month, and the average position in AdSense.
You can also sift through the other tabs on the left to gain more insight into ad reach and the best performing ads. The “keywords” and “demographics” tabs aren’t ready yet, but they’re being planned for a future update.
Checking Out the Top Traffic Sources
And that’s not all. Learning what kind of wording is more effective is certainly useful, but you might also want to know where the ads are being the most effective.
Scrolling down the results page, past the banner ads section, you find a section for traffic sources. This allows you to see not only which websites are displaying your competitor’s ads, but also other critical information about these sources like the number of uniques in the last month and the average position the ad had on these sites.
Why is this important? If you find that one of your competitors is doing very well advertising through a certain site, it may be worth your while to approach that site for a direct advertising opportunity. Since Google takes a cut on AdSense, you could find a middle ground that makes the publisher more money, yet costs you less money to get the same or similar ad slot.
Reduce Your Trial and Error
Considering that it currently doesn’t cost you a dime to use MixRank, it really doesn’t make much sense for you not to use it if you are an active advertiser through Google AdWords/AdSense. Take a look at what your competition is doing, adjust your ad copy accordingly, and even reach out to those top traffic sources to see if you can get an even better deal on some really great and converting ad space.