5 Ways To Use In-Text Advertising On Your Forum

Recently, we examined Three E-Commerce Integration Techniques For Your Forum. The second item on that list is In-Text Advertising. The concept is that certain keywords automatically hyperlink to a relevant page where users can make an eCommerce transaction. This page could link to a page on an advertiser or affiliate site (e.g., Amazon, eBay, etc.) or it could link to an internal page in your own eCommerce store.

We wanted to offer a few suggestions when utilizing this approach:

  1. Make the links obvious so regular users can know the difference between a normal link and an automated link.
  2. Make a direct link to a page that opens in a new window instead of a pop up bubble that shows on hover.
  3. Limit the use of such links and consider only displaying them to users who are not logged in.
  4. Keep the site running fast by ensuring the links non-invasive and do not slow down performance.
  5. Track the results to confirm the links are generating revenue.

We dislike forums with too many banner ads and typical CPC banner ads are not particularly effective. (It’s better to do a direct sponsorship/partnership, if possible.) However, a judicious approach to In-Text Advertising allows site owners to generate revenue without impeding the user experience by cluttering the site with too many ads.

Some key players in this space include Viglink, Infolinks, and Vibrant Media. These services typically produce a “thought bubble” with a second link the user must click on to connect to an affiliate site.

As noted above (see #2), we prefer to implement a direct link to a new page, instead of the bubble approach which is illustrated in the picture below. And ideally, we’ll link to a catalog page on your own site. So if you need a custom in-text advertising solution for your forum, please talk to us!

in-text ad bubble example

Above: In-text add example with “pop up” bubble. We prefer a direct link to a page in your catalog instead of a link to an affiliate site and we can help you implement this solution.

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Three E-Commerce Integration Techniques For Your Forum

Building a forum community on your site gives you a home field advantage. It brings the conversation to your turf, and this allows you to monitor and analyze what users are saying. This knowledge is valuable but it does not have immediate impact on your bottom line.

Sure, the user generated content itself – that is, the stuff users are posting to your forum – can be capitalized on through advertisements, sponsorships, and brand equity but it takes time to develop this revenue stream and it may not be ideal for eCommerce sites.

We believe there is a massive opportunity for eCommerce sites to integrate their catalogs with their forum community to galvanize sales. When users are talking about subjects relevant to the products you sell, it should be convenient for them to shop in your store. Therefore, we present three techniques for eCommerce integration within your forum community:

  1. Intelligent banner ads. Display a banner ad for products in your catalog relevant to the user generated content within a particular thread.
  2. In-text advertising. In this case, keywords in the text automatically hyperlink certain to a search result in your product catalog. For example, a hardware store that sells hammers would allow users to easily search for that keyword. Example pictured below.
  3. Discounts and specials. Provide sales, discounts, or other perks to forum users. The site owner can make these special deals part of the regular newsletter for the forum or announce them via the forum directly. Perhaps the perks can be used to entice new members to join and participate in the forum.

forum community ecommerce integration

The above image shows a fancy hyperlink to a search result because a product was mentioned in a post.

Posted in Marketing Your Forum | Tagged , , | 1 Comment