Well, we all know it by now: Gridcoin is a cryptocurrency which rewards BOINC computations and there are more than four million registered BOINC users and approximately 270 000 of them have returned some results within the last 24 hours (meaning that they are very active). That's quite a large user base for Gridcoin, but most BOINC crunchers are still unaware of crypto, so the catch is: how to reach them?
Since April 2016. we have been using AdWords (Google's advertising engine) to expand our user base. Not many other cryptos are using AdWords for such purposes (since it's expensive and somewhat old-fashioned), but then again not many other cryptos have four million potential users. So the question is (and has been for some time): are we getting some results? Is AdWords giving us a good value?
That question became even more important because 10 USD per day for AdWords has been approved recently through Foundation vote, so the amount we spend has increased considerably. On January 22, CM connected our AdWords account to www.gridcoin.us, so that we can assess advertising efficiency through Google Analytics (since we certainly don't want to spend Foundation funds on sub-performing ads). By now we have accumulated over three weeks of data, so it's time to present some initial findings.
Google Analytics screenshot for our AdWords campaigns. While we can't track exact conversions, we still have some valuable info, like bounce rates and pages per session. Ad Groups are sorted by cost here.
1. Ad Group BOINC CPC
These are graphic ads displayed on BOINCstats and Free-DC. They are filtered by AdBlocker, so their reach is unfortunately limited. Bounce rate for such ads is 66% making this Ad Group our most efficient one. I guess that users who browse such BOINC statistics websites are more competitive and enthusiast (and therefore more interested in Gridcoin) than 'regular' users targeted through other Ad Groups. Willy de Zutter (BOINCstats webmaster) hasn't replied to our offers for a direct advertising deal (fourth so far) and we never had a direct deal with Free-DC, so AdWords is now our only way to reach BOINC enthusiasts who visit those two websites.
Proposed improvements and readjustments
a) I increased the daily budget for this campaign to 6 USD, so this is our most important advertising effort right now. There is a potential for an even larger budget, read on.
b) Cost-per-click is now at 23 cents. More expensive, but ensures that our ads are visible all the time. When cost-per-click is around 20 cents, our ads are displayed on the left or right side (so called skyscraper ad, dimensions 160x600, vertical orientation). With increased bids, cost-per-click rises to 35 cents and our ads get displayed on the top of the page also (top banner position, sized 728x90). Of course, top position is more prominent and therefore more expensive. I estimate that, with increased bids and purchasing top banners, we could spend up to 15 USD per day, to collect most of the clicks on BOINCstats and Free-DC. Of course, that's far too expensive now, but perhaps something to be considered in the future?
c) A steady flow of new graphic ads and slogans is necessary. New images always attract more clicks, but unfortunately that effect doesn't last long. Ads, images and banners used in this campaign are available here.
2. Ad Group BOINC Google
These are text-ads displayed on Google for BOINC-related Google searches (type BOINC into Google and a Gridcoin text-ad should appear at the top of the first or second page). This is the most premium type of advertising offered through Google AdWords and such ads cannot be filtered by AdBlocker. Unfortunately, the results are a bit underwhelming - for such clicks, bounce rate is 82% which is quite high, meaning that 82% of visitors don't interact with content on www.gridcoin.us (i.e. they are most likely not interested in Gridcoin and leave our website rather quickly). Of course, you can look at it the other way: 18% of BOINC users show some interest in Gridcoin. If we consider the total number of registered BOINC users (4 millions), that's still about 720 000 users who can perhaps be recruited in the future. Unfortunately, it's probably too expensive to recruit them through ads on Google, since we have to pay for ALL the clicks (including the bounced ones).
Proposed improvements and readjustments
a) Limit the daily budget for this campaign to 2 USD, since the bounce rate is high.
b) Reduce the cost-per-click down to 15 cents (now is around 20 cents). We'll lose a lot of impressions that way, but the cost per new user will be lower, making this campaign more affordable. Lower cost-per-click is possible for BOINC keyword, because there are no other advertisers competing with us for that keyword. For some other BOINC-related keywords (like GPUGRID or SETI at home), there are other bidders as well.
c) Reduce the bounce rate by mentioning the words "digital currency" or "cryptocurrency" more often in our ads. Cryptocurrency is probably the scariest word for the majority of bouncing visitors and ads which contain that word are clicked much less often. But the users who click such 'crypto-tainted' ads will most likely be more interested in Gridcoin, so their sessions will most likely have lower bounce rates and will be worth purchasing.
Typical Gridcoin text-ad displayed on a Google search for "BOINC" (on top of Page 2 in this case. Page 1 costs more, of course)
3. Ad Group Crypto CPC
These are graphic ads displayed on crypto-related websites (sorted by number of impressions: eobot, coinmarketcap, coinwarz, bitcoinwisdom, themerkle, cryptocoinsnews, cryptomining-blog, cryptoage, multipool.us and lots of others, there are plenty of crypto-related websites out there). Some ads are graphically the same as seen on BOINCstats and Free-DC, but slogans are different. Bounce rate is high (78%) but the cost-per-click is only 5 cents, so we are collecting a lot of cheap clicks here. Even if we recruit only 3-4% of them in the end, this campaign is still effective for its price.
Proposed improvements and readjustments
a) Those websites are receiving a lot of traffic in total (Google's estimate is 20 million impressions per week). So, there is literally no limit on how much we could spend on this. Currently, it's at (rather negligible) 2 USD per day, since advertising on BOINCstats and Free-DC is probably more important for us at this point. But if we spent 10 USD solely on this campaign, we could collect approximately 200 clicks. With a bounce rate of 78%, that's still approximately 45 visitors familiar with crypto and studying Gridcoin. Could be worthwhile.
b) There is a lot of potential in advertising Gridcoin on crypto-related websites, because we have unique features which are different from almost any other crypto out there: getting rewarded for scientific research, CPU/GPU/ASIC work rewarded equally, mining on Android is possible. Our slogans will therefore always be noticed.
c) This is our most demanding campaign, we are competing with a lot of other advertisers here and it's very important that our ads are visually attractive. Animated HTML5 banners usually have highest click-through rates. I have created some, but a professional effort is probably needed if we intend to spend more USD on this in the future.
Typical Gridcoin 728x90 banner displayed on crypto-websites. So it's the same image as before, but with a different message. Of course, "Rewarding BOINC computations" wouldn't mean much to a person not familiar with BOINC, but "computational science" is catchy for any crypto-miners tired of Proof-of-Work.
4. Ad Group Fah CPC
These are graphic ads displayed on folding.extremeoverclocking.com. That's a [email protected] website (not BOINC), but they click our ads too. The idea is that some of the [email protected] crunchers might be persuaded to switch to BOINC and start earning Gridcoins. Same banners as on BOINCstats and Free-DC, but different slogans. If you know some other popular [email protected] websites, let me know and I'll check if we can target them too. Bounce rate is at 73%, higher than on BOINC-related websites, but still acceptable. Some [email protected] enthusiasts are obviously interested in Gridcoin.
5. Ad Group Fah Google
This was just a small experiment, displaying Gridcoin ads for [email protected] related Google searches. We got three clicks, all bounced. So it's probably not worth it and this campaign is suspended.
6. Ad Group GPUGRID
And finally, these are Gridcoin text-ads displayed on www.gpugrid.net (GPUGRID is a popular BOINC project). Unfortunately, only text-ads are supported here and the ad is placed on the bottom of the page, so it looks bland and it's hard to spot (and easily blocked by AdBlocker). Can't do anything about it, GPUGRID folks designed that layout. So we are getting only a few clicks and most of them bounce, but they are cheap, so I keep it running. Do you know any other BOINC project website that is using AdWords? Let me know and we'll target them.
At the bottom of the GPUGRID webpage, you can often find a Gridcoin text-ad, conveniently displayed in some thin grey font. Be sure to turn off your AdBlocker first.
So, of course, we could spend thousands of dollars on AdWords and get thousands of clicks. But the trick is to find a nice balance between the cost and actual benefits. Many BOINC users are still skeptical about crypto and leave quickly when they see the word. Gridcoin is currently undervalued. Gridcoin Foundation is not unlimited (and our AdWords campaigns are financed from the Foundation). I would say 10 USD per day is an optimal budget in such conditions. But as we grow and progress, we should consider increasing our AdWords budget too. Hundreds of thousands BOINC users are out there, interested in science and technology, running their favorite BOINC projects on their powerful hardware... and with some financial means to pay for all that. They just need to see our ad.