Gridcoin Advertising (3): Assessing the efficiency of our AdWords campaigns

in gridcoin •  3 years ago  (edited)

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, 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.


              Typical Gridcoin 728x90 banner displayed on BOINCstats and Free-DC

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 (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, 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 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 (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.


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Excellent, now we just need a large [email protected] news story to boost BOINC Searches! :D

That would warrant an immediate increase of our AdWords budget :)

Am i reading this right? 1285 clicks for $150? That's terrible.

I tweeted ~100 times this past month, and received around 99,500 views, with an engagement rate of around 1%. I expect with Gridcoin having 5x the followers I do, we could expect even more ridiculous numbers. (For the record, because I know people will mention it, like 1% porn posts.)

We need to start advertising to people that aren't already looking for Gridcoin or BOINC.

The people we want to get a hold of aren't more nerds... we already got all the nerds. lol. We need to reach the youth, the "millenials", the gamer kids... and the youth is intelligent. They don't like being advertised to.

"The best type of marketing, is marketing that doesn't feel like marketing; it makes the people feel like they a part of it." - Hopsin

"The best type of marketing, is marketing that doesn't feel like marketing; it makes the people feel like they a part of it." - Hopsin

Sounds like word-of-mouth marketing which we can't perform, no?

I do think advertising to our core userbase (BOINC, crypto) is a good idea. Advertising to youths is difficult because they may run up large electricity bills (hence the 18 age requirement on world community grid).

I think social media usage is a great advertising opportunity for Gridcoin, Steemit is also a great method of advertising Gridcoin to new (non-core) users.

Paid advertising is expensive, that's just how it is.

Hey, @vortac --> Was there a noticeable increase/spikes in team membership at any point during the advertising campaigns?

I have been monitoring our team memberships at BOINCstats for some time now, but there were no spikes. But average new users per day seems a bit higher now than in December (when we were still at 5 USD daily). I am going to create a chart, to track down the numbers. Anyway, with such mixed results and difficult to measure benefits, 10 USD per day is a wise limit for the time being.

marketing without doing the necessary pre-tasks for it, is wasted money or let's say milder: not ideal

Look at the most recent feedback by a BOINC admin we got (and he should be quite technically on a good skill level):

for yoyo the Gridcoin install was troublesome
if we make marketing, the environment should be ready for it (startup wizzard, UI improvements, ...)

I'll post more while reading

We certainly shouldn't spend too much. But with advertising, we have increased chances of recruiting some people who might help us with things you have mentioned. 10 USD per day seems like a reasonable amount to me, but perhaps I am too optimistic. Maybe we should have a poll about how much should we spend on AdWords per day - 0, 2, 5, 10, 25, 100 USD...?

  ·  3 years ago (edited)
  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Better not press this too hard. Both BOINCstats and Free-DC have chosen AdWords for a reason - it's almost fully automated, reliable, proven and brings a steady income. Any changes (such as direct advertising deal with us) are extra workload at best and potentially damaging to their AdWords income at worst. We had three direct advertising deals with Willy so far, he has helped us a lot.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

"type BOINC into Google and a Gridcoin text-ad should appear at the top of the first or second page"

nothing shown on the first 3 pages. I guess my adblockers do a good job here

from experiences I saw ads only in these cases:

  • reddit ads
  • on boincstats special banners
  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Budget for ads on Google search was recently reduced to 2 USD per day. Such ads are now appearing much less often. Today we got 292 impressions and 5 clicks from Google, spent 1 USD so far. AdWords engine tries to spread our 2 USD across the whole day.

hi vortac, how does grid coin pay? or where do you check earnings? does your pc, have to be on all through or let's say you are using your ipad for instance. does it work on ipad? how do you check earning? are points equal to gridcoin?

  ·  3 years ago (edited)
  1. Gridcoin pays for your completed and validated BOINC work. Grossly oversimplified: more BOINC work=more Gridcoins
  2. You can check your earnings through your wallet, of course. Or online, through a block/network explorer. Most popular now is probably
  3. Your PC doesn't have to be on all the time, but of course, the more you use it for BOINC, the more you earn.
  4. BOINC and Gridcoin Wallet don't work on iPad, unfortunately.