How is Google Site Retargeting is Like Santa?

Nothing on Santa, but the big guy can't possibly track this kid like Google "Site Retargeting" ads

He knows when you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve filled a shopping cart, so don’t abandon it for goodness sakes. Those banner ads you’ve been seeing on random web pages are quite smart, are they not? Perhaps too smart? Almost like they know who you are? Maybe watching you while YOU sleep? Maybe the ad contains some items you left behind, and might otherwise be sent to the Island of Misfit Purchases?
In the case of “Santa vs. Site Retargeting” let’s examine Exhibit A. To my right is a wonderfully simple and precise example of a non-intrusive (compared to e-mail spam or telemarketing) but highly sophisticated online-ad campaign by CafePress, the company that sells and markets my customized Nalts merchandise despite the fact that few hard-working Americans have yet purchased dingle.

CafePress pays Google a tiny amount of money, and Google shared a tiny portion with the site that served this ad.

Hang in there, folks. We’re building toward the moment you’ll see how it’s not for a lack of smart marketing on CafePress’ side (I had nothing to do with this ad except as a consumer). Now I’ve not yet created clever merchandise for my little CafePress Nalts store, or a significant “call to action” of my audience for this loot because, well, I’m lazy and even I don’t want to appear too pushy. That said, I certainly notice my fellow YouTubers going mental pushing t-shirts, hoodies and custom shoes).

While researching site retargeting (I mean “remarketing) I literallly came across the ad that I’ve copied into the right column. Go ahead and click it. No really, click it. It won’t bite…. It took you to the CafePress Nalts store (which I’m trying to diversify with some products that aren’t so, well, “Nalts”). If you go so far as to select and item and put it into your basket, it’s not the last you’ll see of those luxurious items.

Skip this paragraph if you’re a digital marketing dude familiar with Adwords and Adsense. For the rest? The quickest summary on Google’s Adwords vs. Adsense. Google Adwords is a tool that allows marketers/sellers to “target” ads to individual audiences. Google Adsense is a money maker for publishers or audience generates, hence how YouTube creators receive income based on their portion of the ads we viewers endure. More commonly Adsense is the marketplace vehicle for website publishers or bloggers to to receive income by inviting Google to place these ads in whatever units they prefer (horizontal, squares, banners). It’s mostly an auction model where advertisers pay small amounts by how many ads appear (CPM, cost per thousand) or are clicked (CPC, cost per click).

Google AdWords quietly launched “site remarketing” this year, and avoided the term “retargeting,” perhaps to distinguish itself from the somewhat creepier origin of this practice (which involved cookies and sometimes some breaches on personal data). In fact it shows off some very smart strategies that would normally be available to agencies or media buyers.

Here’s the key paragraph from this post that will be on the test. This CafePress ad unit to your above right is dynamically generated to EXACTLY resemble my abandoned shopping cart on Cafepress! That’s not a dumb banner ad that says “click here” or “ignore me.” It’s the friggin ghost of my abandoned shopping basket! It’s a polite reminder saying “yes, pardon me, sir… we hate to bother you, but did you want us to put these things back on the shelf or would you care to take them home? Most importantly, the ad does not know who you are. It just knows that the person using your browser at one point shopped at a store or visited a website.

Abandoned shopping carts use site-remarketing to tell you they're sad, scared and lonely.

Why is this important? Remember, folks, I’m not just a blogger and video fart guy. I’m also consulting with big brands, and trust me when I say this… site retargeting (remarketing) kicks the ass of about any other form of advertising. It’s insanely targeted, efficient, and drives a measurable ROI that is almost unsurpassed.

Let’s put this in physical terms for the few of you who haven’t dozed off. My wife and I load a shopping cart at a Marshalls stores ever few weeks, and about 30% of the time we actually buy the loot. The other 70% of the time we decide the crap’s not quite good enough for the chaotic line. Given the Marshall’s operations team’s inability staff appropriately, what if a bright Marshalls marketing executive later posted a sign on Route 611 that said, (without mentioning our names): “50% off off-season beach towels, a size 49.5 men’s belt, $35 Bostonian shoes.” I’d say to my lady, “Yeah we almost bought them there goods, honey. What say we go back for them, and pick up them kids who’ve been missing since last time we was at Marshalls?”

When I'm done dropping these prices, I suppose I'll be returning Nalts' abandoned shopping cart to the shelves

To sum it up:

  1. Santa knows you’ve been bad or good, but site retargeting (er, remarketing) knows where, when, and how. It’s like a sad and lonely shopping cart that knows the “sun will come out tomorrow… bet your bottom dollar.”
  2. Santa brings you the loot… or not. But site retargeting politely follows you around until you finally say — okay, you’re right. I wanted those goodies, and I’ll just have to swallow the shipping price (I think free shipping would be more effective than the code for 15% off, which doesn’t even appear to work).
  3. It’s time to expand the old marketing truism that “it’s easier to sell more things to an existing customer than a new one.” Let’s treat site visitors — whether to the homepage or to an abandoned cart — as customers not prospects. We can serve their needs (whether they need them or not) with the efficient tools at even a small business’ disposal.

And hell, compared to elves, they’re cheaper, less likely to unionize, and slightly less creepy.

"All I ever wanted to be was a dentist... or marketer."
creepy elves

Can Google Sell Online Video Ads?

There’s been a lively debate recently among online-video enthusiasts about Google/YouTube’s capacity to sell display advertising. Sales people need different skill sets selling paid-search (automated, measurable, bid-based) versus display advertising (which is less measurable and more like selling television or print). To understand the distinction, see Google’s video; this is something we’ve been exploring at WillVideoForFood since Google bought YouTube in 2007. While Google has deep relationships with top companies and industries, it has only recently put emphasis behind non-search advertising.

YouTube’s display team (a few dozen) is rather small, and most YouTube ads are sold via Google Adwords not the dedicated team. While the display team sometimes lands some comprehensive ad buys with advertising agencies and brands, most monetization on YouTube is marginalized. The CPMs (cost per thousand) are so disappointing to some creators and online-video studios that some (from Next New Network and Revision3 to TheStation) have begun to sell their own inventory, or partner with ad networks that can attract better monetization for their views. Increasingly YouTube has provided creators and intermediaries tools to sell their inventory directly.

That said, there was some encouraging news from Jonathon Rosenberg, Google’s SVP for product management. According to this eWeek piece titled “Google YouTube, Android Drive $3.5B in Ads.”

Google’s display ad business… operating at an annualized run-rate of $2.5 billion. That’s counting YouTube ads, and all non-text ads running on Google’s network and DoubleClick networks, Jonathan Rosenberg, Google’s senior vice president of product management, said on the Q3 earnings call. “You guys always ask me (referring to analysts)… where’s your next multi-billion dollar business after search,” Rosenberg said. “There’s your answer.”

Exclusive: How Much Money YouTube Partners Make

{Update from 2013 reveals YouTube stars making $4 million plus per year}

How much do YouTube stars make each year? Oh for goodness sakes. Just like my same 5 YouTube videos (see right column of channel page here) represent the majority of my online views… It seems that most of WillVideoForFood’s blog traffic comes from people searching for how much YouTubers make. If you’re curious, read on. If you want to make big bucks, buy my book first. You’ll still be facing tough odds, but at least you’ll wander into the jungle equipped with some survival tools.


We YouTube “Partners” (or “stars” as I hate saying) are all contractually forbidden to share our revenue. But I’ve given hints and clues over time. For those of you who Googled your way here, I’m both a marketer/advertiser and a creator/YouTuber, so that gives me two lenses into this Da Vinci-Code like mystery. Davinci made me think of “Da Bears.”

I’d estimate there are have at least a few dozen YouTube Partners earning $100K per year. That’s great money if you’re in your 20s or 30s and have minimal costs in production or overhead (like 4 kids and a horrific mortgage). But it’s a rounding error for a professional content creator or network.

To calculate a particular Parner’s income, here are some tips:

  • You basically take the Partner’s total views for the month, multiply it by a fraction of a penny, and you have a rough idea. TubeMogul‘s Marketplace shows some of the most-viewed people (and their monthly views). But remember: the most-subscribed are not necessarily most-viewed and vice versa. YouTube doesn’t give a hoot how many subscribers you have (although that certainly helps drive views, but increasingly it seems less powerful than being a “related video”). In general, the commercial content is getting more daily views but the amateurs have a lock on subscribers.
  • Most ads are placed by advertisers based on total 1K views, but some is on a per-click basis (CPC text ads placed by Google Adwords/Adsense). Google/YouTube is usually paid by an agency or media buyer a CPM (cost per thousand, say between $5 and $25 dollars per thousand views), then shares some of that with the creator. This can be highly misleading, because:
    • Some views earn nothing (if they’re embedded and no ad follows it).
    • And increasingly advertisers are paying a high premium for specific content they commission, target, or hand select. Sometimes this might average a few bucks and others it might be much higher… $25 CMP was the published rate of InVideo ads and I know of specific integrated campaigns that command a higher premium from YouTube. Yey!
  • Another confounding variable: potty-mouthed creator turns away advertisers. So watch the ads on your Partner for a while. Are they premium InVideo ads with accompanying display (square) ads? Or are they garbage Adwords/Adsense ads?
  • The text ads may SOMETIMES be paid on a per-click basis, which can make them fruitless or profitable depending on people clicking and buying the advertiser’s product (the latter must occur, or a savvy advertiser will quickly stop the campaign that’s raping them of click dollars and not generating business). I was telling my YouTube buds to turn these off because they’re ugly and don’t make much money, but a few of them gave me a stern stare like they knew otherwise. So whatever… maybe they make money and maybe they don’t. I don’t get a breakdown on them, and they’re still ugly.
  • Then you have to factor in “sponsored videos,” where a YouTuber promotes a product or service for a flat fee (or variable based on views) via Hitviews or related companies. That can easily be more than YouTube shells out per month for ad sharing. The going rate here is incredibly wide: from $1K to $20K and higher per video.

So in conclusion:

  1. Do your own math using monthly views on TubeMogul and assuming some CPM (cost per thousand), but recognize YouTube takes a cut and some of the advertising inventory isn’t sold or is driven by keyword Google adsense text thingies. Maybe the creator/partner gets a few bucks per thousand views and maybe more or less.
  2. Use some of the assumptions above to calibrate your estimate if you’re trying to peak into the W-9s of your favorite “Stars” like Fred. There are now dozens of popular YouTube people that make a full-time living on YouTube revenue, and I’d guess a lot of $50K-$100K per year people. I am not among the full-timers. With a family of 6, I gotta have a day job too. But Shaycarl, Sxephil, Charles Trippy, Michael Buckley and many more… they’re full-time at this. If I was making the bucks I’m making via YouTube after college, I’d probably go full-time too. Fred? Let’s just say he’s got college covered, or a nice nest-egg.
  3. Before you get excited (or jealous), it’s a long haul to cashville. And if you start with the hope of making money, you’re doomed. You need to LOVE it, and be extremely patient as the road to loads of views is tougher to climb, and requires an ass-load of persistence. Start as a hobby and “just keep swimming.”
  4. Finally, there are two forces at odds that impact the sustainability of this revenue for YouTube amateurs. First, we’ll probably see continued competition from more professionally-produced content that fetches higher ad dollars because it feels safer to squeamish media buyers (see, I’m not calling them all dense anymore… only the ones that don’t read this vlog). But the good news is that dollars are projected to grow dramatically. Currently, as a marketer, I’d argue that YouTube is selling itself short.

How’s that? About as specific I can be without breaking my contract or confidence from my friends.

I know some of you peeps know more than I do, so feel free to comment below anonymously or not. Da bears.

How to Buy Advertisement on YouTube

It took me quite a bit of research via Adwords (advertisers buying ads) and Adsense (publisher tool to make money) to discover how to buy ads on YouTube. If you want to place an “Invideo” ad (one that sneaks up along the bottom) or other ads, you’ll need a lot of money.

According to Google’s Adwords help, Direct YouTube advertising contracts for US advertisers targeting the US require the following cost commitments. You’ll need to contact an advertising representative, and can learn more on this site on YouTube.

    • YouTube General: $50K or greater spend on YouTube within 90 days.
    • YouTube Brand Channels: $200K or greater spend on YouTube only.
    • YouTube Contests: $500K or greater spend on YouTube only.
    • YouTube Homepage Roadblock: $175K/day flat fee plus a $50K incremental spend on Google and YouTube over 90 days ($225K or greater total spend). Premium flight dates may require a higher initial flat fee.

But what if you ant to advertise on YouTube for less?
Fear not! (And select “more” below for details)

    1. Follow the sign-up wizard instructions to create your campaign until you reach the ‘Target ad’ section.
    2. Select List URLs from within the Target Ad Site Tool.
    3. Enter ‘youtube.com’ in the text box.
    4. Click Get Available Sites
  • If you’d like to advertise on YouTube for a lower cost commitment, you can sign up for Google AdWords for as little as $1 CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) for targeting the entire YouTube site, or $2 for targeting specific YouTube content categories. To get started with AdWords, visit https://adwords.google.com and begin by creating a site-targeted campaign. You can then follow these steps to target your ads to YouTube pages.

    These “run of site” or “run of category” ads deliver impressions but are easy to ignore (hence the price).

    I think I might try some ads just for fun. I figure if I have to look at a Fred ad on my videos, I might as well try to see if I can get one of mine on his channel.

    Continue reading “How to Buy Advertisement on YouTube”

Will Knol For Food: A Weird Blend of WordPress, Blogger, Ask.com, Wikipedia and eBay

Thanks to MCase (loyal WillVideoforfood reader) for pointing out Knol. This is Google’s answer to Ask.com or Wikipedia, where you can write about a subject and share in advertising revenue if anybody cares to read it (and is so bored by it that they click the text ads and stop).

Here’s my knol biography, and I’ve placed a few articles and my eBook inside. I’m not asking you to go rate them 5 stars, but I would like you to remember that Nalts introduced Knol to you (2 years from now, when the term “knolling” is as pervasive as “googling”).

A Knol (see site) is an “authoritative article about a specific topic.” Anyone can write one like Wikipedia (although you can’t edit them). And readers will decide if it’s authoritative or hog wash (like how we score eBay sellers and buyers).

Knoling solves a need — we uninformed humans want vetted, credible content.  Google helps us find it sometimes, but we still don’t have a scalable social network infrastructure for weeding out the accurate from the crap. And don’t talk to me about Squiddo, people. There are probably more people using Twitter right now, and the gap from early adopters to mainstream is wider than my ass has grown since I developed spondylolisthesis and a fractured sacrum… clearly caused by my day job (and not those pratfalls you make me do).  

Of course there’s got to be a “what’s in it for me” for subject-matter experts to knowledge share-  I wouldn’t have knoled my articles this morning just to be nice, or on the chance that these will get views more than my blog. I am chancing on some meager Google adsense revenue. Maybe it’s the next YouTube (which is non trivial) and maybe it’s the next Amazon affiliate program (which is non profitable for me anyway).

Now here’s the million dollar question. Will it Knol get us indexed better on Google? TechCrunch called this out back in December, and this move put Google further into the content business (which is like being the broker and seller in one). What cracks me up about this TechCrunch article is that it doesn’t point out a similar situation. It’s, um, called YouTube?

Knol It All (www.knolitall.com) is already squatted. Puns are the second-lowest form of humor (after sarcasm), though.