Before I tell you the background story and my own results so far with video ads, if you haven’t yet tried out CrankyAds, I recommend you give it a go.
It’s a free WordPress plugin you can use to handle all advertising on your blog, and that includes offering video ads to your sponsors. This means an advertiser can pay you a fee to place their YouTube video and text link to go with it on your website.
If you have never tried selling video ads, CrankyAds is one of the only plugins you can use to do this. Download it for free –
Now here’s a little background behind why I decided to include the video ad format and how I have tested it on EJ…
Why Not Video Ads?
When we were first brainstorming ideas for CrankyAds one of the key features I really wanted to offer was the ability to offer video ads.
Video is obviously a big deal online and is only becoming more and more popular. YouTube is huge, the second largest search engine behind Google (it’s incredible how you can find almost anything on YouTube). Plenty of people use video in their content marketing, to make money with directly, and of course, as a medium to drive traffic via video advertising.
With CrankyAds, I wasn’t sure what could be our killer app. By this I mean the core feature that compels people to use our service and also spread the word to others.
Once you figure out your killer app it becomes a lot easier to form a strategic direction for your company. When you know what people want and why they share your creation, you can focus development on that specific feature and also adjust your marketing to target people who need it.
I thought for CrankyAds, our killer feature would be ease of use. That was my original assumption and the main reason I wanted to create CrankyAds in the first place. Other ad managers were overly complicated, so I figured something easy to use would take hold in a certain segment of the marketplace.
However, while we were developing the first features for the BETA version of CrankyAds the possibility to include video ads dawned on me. It wasn’t too hard to create an ad zone type that allowed people to embed a YouTube video and a text link to go with it as an advertisement format.
I was pretty sure that very few other plugins or ad management tools offer this sort of ad type, so CrankyAds could be one of the first to do so. Because of this I was curious, could video ads be our killer app?
As I type this I can’t really say we have a killer app yet with CrankyAds. It’s early days still, but as we reach more people we are learning more about how they use CrankyAds. However this hasn’t stopped me testing out the features of CrankyAds here on EJ to see, for example, whether making video ads available would bring in paying sponsors.
The Video Ad Zone
When CrankyAds was finally ready for production use naturally the first place we tested it was here on EJ. I already sold banner ads and text links, but I was yet to offer any video ads.
I was curious, were there advertisers out there willing to spend money to place a video ad on my site?
I toyed initially with the idea of making a video ad zone the most prominent in the top right sidebar of EJ. However since the top banner was already selling well, I decided to leave it there and test video in a less prominent position, with a lower price to begin with.
To be honest, beyond the additional money I could make selling video ads, I was just curious whether I would sell any. I believed using YouTube as the format for the ad was a good choice because everyone has a YouTube account and knows how to upload a video, even just a basic one using their mobile device.
Video Ads Work
I’ve been using CrankyAds now for all of this year and although video ads took a while to sell, eventually I had my first paying advertisers. After a couple of months I dropped the price down to $99/month, primarily because I just wanted to see the zone being used on a consistent basis and I had yet to determine what the “value” of the spot was to advertisers.
You can see one of the current sponsors right now is this video below. If you look in my blog’s sidebar to the right you can see the video along with a text link just below it, which is how the CrankyAds video ad zone works. Refresh the page if you don’t see the ad.
Whether or not you are interested in this product, you can see that even a short less than 2 minute video like this is better than a banner ad. It gives you much more room to be creative with your ad content.
The good thing about this ad type is that it increases the video watched count in YouTube for the advertiser. This can impact things like how well the video places in search results in YouTube, so the more popular a video the better. Plus having a text link just below the video means the advertiser has a trackable, direct response mechanism to bring people back to their website after or during watching the video.
I’m still tempted to test placing video ads higher up my sidebar, or even potentially within content. Doing this means I could charge more, plus it will push the video ad format into more attention getting areas of my site. Plus I just like video more than banners, it seems less like an advertisement and more like content. Ideally video ads can be both if done right.
I want this ad format to take off because I think it can be a much better tool for marketing your products for the obvious reason – you get moving pictures and sound to promote what you do. You can place an entire content presentation in the video, or just a quick and exciting promo to grab attention. Plus you get to use your face and voice so you can develop your personal brand a whole lot better using video ads.
You can also test different videos. It’s easy to change videos any time with CrankyAds just by editing a campaign to use a different YouTube video.
Add Video Ads To Your Blog Today
The challenge right now is that so few sites offer video ads so advertisers can’t even test whether the format works. That is really why I am writing this article. I want to convince you to make video ads available to sponsors on your site today.
You might find adding video ads to your blog creates a brand new income stream. You don’t have to remove any of your existing ads, just try a new video ad zone.
Perhaps you don’t like the banner as an ad format, however you don’t mind having a video ad on your site. I recommend if you want maximum dollars and the best chance of actually selling an ad, that you place your new ad zone somewhere prominent, in the top fold of your website.
Even if you don’t sell any video ads directly to sponsors, you can tell CrankyAds to put Google AdSense in place while you have unsold inventory. You can also set-up your own video campaign, so you can use CrankyAds to promote affiliate products or your own products while you are waiting for paying sponsors.
Best of all, CrankyAds makes this process really really easy.
I recently removed the video ad zone temporarily from EJ, but an advertiser asked to run a video campaign, so I reinstated the video ad spot in my sidebar. It took me all of four minutes to create the ad zone and use the wordpress widget to put it into my sidebar (I know it was four minutes because I timed it using a conversation I had in skype with my assistant Angela – she told me about the advertiser wanting the video ad, I went into CrankyAds and created the zone, then wrote back to her in skype that it was done, four minutes later).
How To Set Up A Video Ad Zone
Here’s how to set-up a video ad zone using CrankyAds. You will first have to install the plugin if you haven’t already. You can download it and find installation instructions at CrankyAds.com.
Once you have the plugin installed, this is how you can create and configure the video ad zone.
1. Go to the CrankyAds plugin within your WordPress admin page
2. Click on the “Create New Zone” button
3. Fill out the details making sure you choose “Video” from the drop down list that says “Type”. Also fill out the advanced and unsold ad options sections if you have this information ready to go (you can copy and paste adsense code to run when you have no ads sold in the “unsold ad options” section).
4. Once you have saved your new video ad zone, go to the widget management area of your WordPress admin (or click the widget link next to your new video ad zone on the CrankyAds admin page).
5. Drag and drop the video ad zone widget to where in your site design you want the video. I have it placed in my main sidebar currently.
That’s it! You can move the widget around if you want the video to appear in different areas of your site. If you are a designer you can use the manual code from CrankyAds to place the video ad zone anywhere in your site design.
Once you have done this, go to your live site and you should see the “advertise here” default banner or whatever unsold ad option you selected where your new video ad zone is. This ad zone is also available immediately from your Advertise Here page on your blog that CrankyAds creates for you.
From this point you can see if you sell any video ads, change prices based on demand, test different video ad sizes and placements on your site until you make enough sales that you are happy. Or just use it to run video ads internally for your own products, services or affiliate promotions.
Don’t forget that your new video ad zone becomes available inside our CrankyMart.com ad buying marketplace once it has been running for a few days as well, assuming you have enough traffic to qualify for the CrankyMart (500 pageviews a month at least at the moment is the criteria).
Good luck selling videos or using video in your marketing campaign.