Welcome to part 2 of Under The Ink’s Master Class on Advertising!
In the first section you all learned the merits of not giving up: pushing forward with the understanding that advertising is a long term commitment. There are, in that respect, many ways in which you can go about achieving your goal. Today we’re going to look at a number of those methods. We’re also going to teach you how to recognize when those methods aren’t working, by showing you how to keep a strict eye on your statistics.
SECTION 1: WHERE TO ADVERTISE
Tricky! So tricky. The internet offers you a plethora of options and so few of them are made readily apparent. Every one of them boasts that they’re the best. And of course they will: they want you to run to them. Keep that in mind! Just because something says it’s good doesn’t mean it’s good for everything. We’re going to cover a few of the top options here today to give you a taste of what each one is best used for. Some of these options are free and some, well, not so free. We’ll indicate that, so don’t worry!
Twitter: A tried and true for webcomic creators. It takes long commitment, but the bonds you can make here are worth it and the readership you’ll build is hands down the most loyal. Twitter requires hashtags for reaching out to a wider audience but can be effective if used correctly. The more hashtags you basically heap on, the more chance you have of being noticed. Some would say using too many hashtags is in poor taste, but those people don’t know marketing. The more categories you can reach, the better of a chance you have of being noticed! Make your original message without the hashtags if you must, then quote it and add the tags to the quote message. Twitter now, however, will also compartmentalize tweets without the use of hashtags! Anything you type will reach out just based on the words in the tweet! So don’t feel the need to use a hashtag for a word you’ve already mentioned in the original message. Use: Free!
Tumblr: More difficult to manage than Twitter due to the fact that finding new content on it is hard. It has to fall into your lap by accident, or users have to actively search it out. Finding it through reblogging is possible, but rare. The hashtag system is something I could write an article about on its own just to ensure you can all use it effectively. That said, it’s possible to use it for advertising and it does make a decent comic host if you utilize the appropriate themes. Like Twitter, your top chance is to spam hashtags. Don’t use random or strange ones, though. People simply won’t find you here based on those. You will need to utilize popular tags in order to be recognized. People here are very familiar with the webcomic scene, however. You could get followers if you play your cards right. Use: Free! The best themes require payment.
Facebook: This is a double-edged sword. The actual payment based advertising if you own a group or a page and wish to reach out to the world at large is… actually decent. The prices aren’t bad. I recommend it if you want to attempt to draw in readers that have not necessarily read webcomics before. But expect to pay for it compared to other services like the one I’m going to mention next. This one will hinge entirely on your own ability to sell your product effectively, considering the money you will dish out for advertising. My recommendation? Go smaller first, find out what works and then work your way up to the paid advertising campaigns of Facebook and similar sites. In the meantime you could host a group on the service (though without advertising they tend to not do so well unless the webcomic is already fairly popular). Use: Groups and Pages are free! Advertising is a paid service.
Project Wonderful: This is the small time compared to Facebook (unless you go to the more popular end of the categories). Some ‘sites’ on here offer free advertising campaigns as long as you renew them every few days. Some as little as $0.01 per day. But here’s the catch: you can be outbid. Everything on Project Wonderful works on a bidding system. It’s essentially a giant auction, and what you’re bidding on is ad space. Nothing is guaranteed. The good thing is that if you lose out, you don’t have to pay for a full day of advertising! Only the amount of time that your ad was up on the website that you placed your bid on. I highly recommend this site, though. It’s a large scene for webcomic creators and readers who already know the genre. Use: Free for some bids! Paid for others.
There are many other options for advertising webcomics on the internet. We also recommend checking out indexing sites such as: TopWebComics , Comic Rocket and the brand new but amazing Archive Binge! You can also contact other webcomic sites to do banner swaps! And, dare we say, submit to review sites for recommendations? We at Under The Ink are always looking for more!
SECTION 2: STATISTICS & GRAPHS
Keep a tight eye on your statistics to know if your advertising is effective.
And we don’t mean the statistics on just your main comic site! Those are important and certainly factor into the overall information gathering, but you also need to look at the graphs and information that you’re gathering from your ad campaign sites! These are the most ignored pages by creators and so many wonder why their projects continue to not get the attention they deserve. Creators need to give their ad campaigns a little lovin’ too! We’re always taught in life that you need to give something to get a little in return, right? This is just as much the case for advertising. So buckle up: it’s time to read some stats and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Performance, performance, performance.
That’s a word you’re going to get sick of hearing in your own head by the time the month is out if you follow this part of the article correctly. Watch how your ads perform every time you start a new campaign. Note at the end of the first day how many views it got. See if it earned any clickthroughs. As in: did anyone visit your site? See where the majority of your viewers come from: what countries. This will come in handy when we’re done here.
Reassess at day 3. Then day 7.
Did views go up? Down? Stay consistent? What about visitors to your site? Where did most of your viewers come from? Also, what days did most people see your ad?
Let me break down why we need to consider these questions:
Did views go up or down? Visitors? If they went up over time then that is excellent! It means the visuals of your ad is effective and nothing needs to be changed. If they went down then people potentially find the ad boring or unappealing. You may need to reassess your approach to the subject matter. Or perhaps you have chosen a poor location to advertise. Try another location/site.
Where did most viewers come from? This is super important! It may dictate when and how you update your comic, or when you advertise based on the timezone of your top viewers! If you yourself are not awake during that time, you may need to set the comic to update automatically for you, but that’s ok as long as your viewers get it when they find it most convenient! The same with advertising!
What days? By observation and research, Monday has been concluded as the best day overall to advertise. People are less than enthusiastic about the start of the work week and are prone to buying into distractions! But that doesn’t mean it’s the best day for you to advertise! So what days ended up being the best from the campaign? When did the most people view your site? Those will become the days you’ll concentrate the most of your efforts on!
Chart and note the performance of your ads as you manage campaigns over the next month. See what works, what doesn’t and pull together a cohesive advertising plan that suits the needs of your specific webcomic! Every comic is different, therefore I can’t suggest a one-size-fits-all solution. Tips, tricks from the industry and battling it out with statistics and determination are the best medicine!
Next on Master Class: Advertising Visuals & How To Wow The Crowd!