GooGle AdSenSe CASe Study Neopets doubled its Google AdSense earnings through optimization. Business The Neopets website first launched it in November 1999, and rapidly attracted “We’re pleased with a passionate following. In June 2005, drawn to the site because of its unique Google as a company, offerings and target audience, Viacom International’s MTV Networks – which also and with the Google runs Nickelodeon and Nick.com – acquired Neopets. AdSense program. Our next step is to experiment with Today, Neopets has a membership of more than 30 million virtual pet owners around the world. The online network generates more than 5 billion pageviews per month and AdSense for search, where is available in English, Japanese, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Spanish, we think there’s even more French, German, Italian, Dutch and Portuguese. Although it is primarily a youth- revenue potential.” oriented network, Neopets reaches a broad demographic, with approximately 40 percent of members under 13 years old, 40% of members 13-17, and 20 percent Chris Davis Vice President of Sales over 18, and a broad age mix making up the remaining audience – all spending an average of 6 hours per month on Neopets.com. The site offers everything from message boards, games, and shopping to the Neodaq, a fictitious stock market. Approach Among Neopets’ top priorities is earning revenue on the billions of pageviews it draws every month. Chris Davis, Vice President of Sales, wields several strategies to help Neopets capitalize on its loyal following. Among the most powerful tools is User Initiated Brand Integrated Advertising – activities or games built around advertisers’ products and services that help build relationships and generate revenues with About GooGle AdSenSe Neopets visitors. “User Initiated Brand Integrated advertising is the biggest chunk of our revenue,” explains Davis. “But we realized it wasn’t taking advantage of all of Google AdSense is a program enabling our pageviews.” online businesses to earn revenue from serving ads precisely targeted to their site. Through AdSense, website publishers can also provide their visitors with site search and Google web search, earning “We are always extremely careful about advertising on our pages revenue through Google ads on the search results pages. AdSense publishers are a because of the age of most of our members. There have been no part of the Google Network, which includes inappropriate ads from AdSense – the quality has been excellent. many of the Top 100 MediaMetrix sites such as AOL, About.com, Amazon, We’ve also found that the ads are very targeted. AdSense helps us Ask.com, and Lycos. provide useful information for members that engenders loyalty.” For more information, visit https://www.google.com/adsense/. To reach more Neopets followers, Davis began investigating contextual advertising options, including Google AdSense. A top priority for any ad program he considered was ensuring that it would deliver ads that were correctly targeted and relevant to the content on the site. Even more important, ads had to express a community feeling and meet or exceed Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requirements. With these goals in mind, Neopets began running Google AdSense ads. Davis and his team began with AdSense on a heavily trafficked page where members go to feed their virtual pets. After a successful initial test, they began running AdSense ads throughout the site. GooGle AdSenSe CASe Study Results It was very easy to get started, Davis says, but what impressed him most about AdSense was how appropriate the ads were for his target audience. “We are always extremely careful about advertising on our pages because of the age of most of our members,” says Davis. “There have been no inappropriate ads from AdSense – the quality has been excellent. We’ve also found that the ads are very targeted. AdSense helps us provide useful information for members that engenders loyalty.” From the beginning, AdSense has been a key source of revenue. Davis estimates that AdSense ads on Neopets garner roughly 50 million impressions each day. Davis and his team have since optimized their AdSense campaigns to achieve even better results. They used channels and A/B testing to discover that bolder colors that made ads stand out worked better than blended colors. After making these changes, Neopets doubled both its clickthrough rate and revenue. “It’s worth the effort to test and experiment. We’ve found that our optimization efforts on AdSense have had a substantial positive impact on revenues,” says Davis. By adding site targeting to the AdSense mix, Davis noticed several positive outcomes. Site targeting drew more brand-name advertisers and more rich-media ads that his users respond well to. Even more impressive was a dramatic increase in revenues. “Our overall revenue doubled as a result of site targeting,” says Davis. “Now, site targeting accounts for 30 to 40 percent of our AdSense income.” In terms of AdSense features, Davis appreciates the ability to block competitive ads and quickly change ad formats and colors to maximize income. He also likes the excellent service from the Google AdSense team and informative Google blogs that help him work through questions or issues. “We’re pleased with Google as a company, and with the Google AdSense program,” says Davis. “Our next step is to experiment with AdSense for search, where we think there’s even more revenue potential.” © Copyright 2006. Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.