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Project Wonderful 1:1 sampling and Quantcast real-time
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smbhax.com
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Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2941
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:55 pm    Post subject: Project Wonderful 1:1 sampling and Quantcast real-time Reply with quote

A couple demographic developments came along recently that may impact info you get about your webcomic--or other peoples' webcomic.

~~~~~

Project Wonderful switched to new hit tracking code which supposedly counts every single hit coming in--they reveal that previously they were extrapolating from random samples for sites with high traffic.

That random sampling and extrapolation is probably was what was causing their traffic numbers--particularly their "unique" visitors per day figures--to be inflated compared to other stat packages. If you check out the "your ad here" pages for PW ads on big sites--MS Paint Adventures', for instance--you'll see that their daily "uniques" are now about a fifth of what they were before the switch happened a couple days ago.

That ratio is about the same for the PW hit counts on my site, too, and the new numbers tally pretty closely with my Quantcast numbers--meaning PW's numbers are now much more accurate. Meanwhile, the price of ads on some of those big sites has taken a nosedive, which is nice if you're someone like me who likes to get ad bargains. :)

The switchover to the new system also killed all hit tracking my ad boxes were getting for some reason. : P Not sure why that was, as they were still dead even after I made sure they were updated to the latest code, but I switched them out with new ad boxes and those seem to be working fine, whew.

~~~~~

Quantcast has rolled out "real-time" profiles, where you can see world-mapped uniques, referrers, and top pages coming in live--I think Google Analytics has had something like that for a year or two now, but I don't use Analytics so I couldn't say for sure; anyway, if you're using Quantcast's measurement, it's kind of fun to see how many people from which countries are reading your comic at this very moment.

The biggest webcomic I know that uses Quantcast is Bad Machinery; their Quantcast real-time profile is here; unfortunately, the comic is on a break at the moment so there isn't much action right now.

I use Quantcast as well, and normally I have only a tiny fraction of Bad Machinery's traffic, but during their break my comic actually has more, so if you want more action you could check my Quantcast real-time profile. Or you could just look at the display for a site with REAL traffic--the biggest they measure currently is the Huffington Post, whose real-time display you can see here.

(EDIT: Oh yeah, just remembered Penny Arcade is on Quantcast, but apparently they've hidden their real-time stats, drat. (Back some months ago when I first found they were on there, their normal stats weren't even loading, it was weird.)

Fun with numbers!
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Ka-Ching



Joined: 09 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't pretend to understand most of this because math is my archenemy. But I like the sound of cheaper ads on the big sites... thanks for the info!
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh, that's interesting! Good to know :U
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ttallan
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Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a small panic attack when I saw my PW numbers plummet, before someone pointed out to me what was going on.

smbhax, what do you mean about the ad box code? Is there something we need to update to make the ad spaces work properly?
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smbhax.com
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
I had a small panic attack when I saw my PW numbers plummet, before someone pointed out to me what was going on.

smbhax, what do you mean about the ad box code? Is there something we need to update to make the ad spaces work properly?


If yours are still showing any kind of new daily traffic coming in--which they do appear to be--then no, you're fine. For some reason, starting on the 12th, the day after PW's switch, both my ad boxes started reporting nothing but zero uniques, zero page views--and under the "top referrers" section it just said "no data." : o

I haven't seen any other sites with ad boxes that had that trouble, so I'm not sure what it was; the only difference I can think of is that I haven't accepted any bids on my boxes in recent memory...mostly I just keep them around because I like to have the stats available for comparison purposes. >_>
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ttallan
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even knowing what's going on with this supposedly more accurate tracking of PW hits, I can't help but feel really sad and pathetic when I look at my new numbers. Where did everybody gooooooo? Crying or Very sad
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smbhax.com
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Joined: 10 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I was rather fond of my old inflated numbers--even though I knew they were inflated, they cheered me up. ;)

EDIT: On the other hand, it kind of levels the field; while I knew I had about 1K actual (non-PW numbers) uniques per day, PW showed, for instance, that a big site like SMBC had about 400K; obviously I knew that number wasn't accurate, but on some subconscious level it was still there, you know? Now their numbers are down to more like 80K, and by comparison I can feel a little better about my own tiny number. : P
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ewomack
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Joined: 05 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did this change happen over the past 6 months? Or is this something brand new? I've noticed plummeting PW numbers for months now... but accuracy is preferred so I know what I'm actually getting for my moolah. Though I hope this doesn't cause more sites to move away from PW... many already have.
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smbhax.com
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewomack wrote:
Did this change happen over the past 6 months? Or is this something brand new? I've noticed plummeting PW numbers for months now... but accuracy is preferred so I know what I'm actually getting for my moolah. Though I hope this doesn't cause more sites to move away from PW... many already have.


They have? Anyway no, it's new, happened on June 11th. The previous post linked from the one I linked explains that the inflated estimate system only applied if your site had high traffic: the example numbers they give are a site with 100 hits per day vs a site with 50,000---the one with 100 per day would have had accurate hit counts shown, whereas the 50K one would have used extrapolation from random sampling, which was producing inflated numbers. But now every site, even the high-traffic ones, have every hit counted.

My site's hits--particularly the "uniques" count--were inflated, and I was probably around 15K page hits per day so the random sampling cut-off was at least that high. You could probably get an idea of just how high it was if you go and look at publishers through PW's interface and see at what traffic point the counts dipped suddenly between 6/11 and 6/12.

Oh who am I kidding, I'll do it... Hm actually it gets a little hard to tell. For sites with around 1.5K page hits per day (last week average) there's still a pretty clear drop in "uniques" from 6/11 to 6/12; for sites with traffic lower than that it gets a little fuzzy, although even down to sites with like 300 hits/day it looks like a number of them have seen a bit of drop in their PW numbers since 6/11-12-ish.

~~~

Hm getting back to that "cause more sites to move away from PW" comment, I suppose it's worth wondering why PW made this change now (and from the sound of their blog, it wasn't cheap or easy), particularly since it would obviously lower bidding enthusiasm a bit. But they might see being able to show accurate traffic numbers as a prerequisite to being able to attract larger advertisers.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rasputin Catamite is partially moved for the Skyscraper ads, and it's doing a lot better on Comic Rocket ads than it did on PW. Rasputin Barxotka is only still on PW because Juicy Ads performed worse, and the content is too risque for AdSense and Comic Rocket ads.
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smbhax.com
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah I see Comic Rocket has a little ad revenue calculator thingy

https://www.comic-rocket.com/ads/publisher/signup/

where you punch in your monthly page views and they tell you how much CR ads would have got you--although they don't have any way to break it down by number or size of ad boxes. Currently the amount they claim they could have earned for me is about 40% lower than what I got from one Google ad at the bottom of my site. Probably higher than what I could have got from PW, though.
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vaslittlecrow



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

smbhax.com wrote:
Ah I see Comic Rocket has a little ad revenue calculator thingy

https://www.comic-rocket.com/ads/publisher/signup/

where you punch in your monthly page views and they tell you how much CR ads would have got you--although they don't have any way to break it down by number or size of ad boxes. Currently the amount they claim they could have earned for me is about 40% lower than what I got from one Google ad at the bottom of my site. Probably higher than what I could have got from PW, though.


If you can do AdSense, it's the best option, really. RaspCat can't do it because of the gore. Comic Rocket seems to have a slightly higher tolerance for it as long as it isn't too full of gore or porny.
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interestingly, the PW shift seems to have actually raised the rates on my site's adspace, at least for the time being-- the last three or four days have had a much higher going rate than the months before (not that it was ever particularly high, but anyway). Probably this is just a result of more people striking up campaigns to take advantage of the lower rates on high-traffic sites-- increased rates on low-traffic sites is an interesting side effect, haha. One of the benefits of keeping a button ad active, I guess. XD

Hm, I didn't know comic-rocket offered its own advertising service! I've been starting to use them a little more (been using it to collect up all those webcomics I've been intending to read for ages but never quite got around to it, and so far I actually have managed to finish two or three of them thanks to their bookmarking system!)-- maybe I will look into that as well, though I don't think I'd switch over just yet.
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Lo (Aquapunk)



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewomack wrote:
Did this change happen over the past 6 months? Or is this something brand new? I've noticed plummeting PW numbers for months now... but accuracy is preferred so I know what I'm actually getting for my moolah. Though I hope this doesn't cause more sites to move away from PW... many already have.


I've been hearing that a number of advertisers using PW have slowly been leaving over the past year, so that means less meaningful competition for your adspace. I don't have any links to back this up, but I know I've -heard- from a number of sources that there's been an exodus going on.
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Novil



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can assert that there were at least several weeks at the beginning of this year where bidding amounts were generally very high. It is true, however, that the bidding amounts in the last two months or so were quite low.

It is also true that some of the largest (webcomic) websites have left Project Wonderful or reduced the number of banners on their site. On the other hand, new websites are constantly joining and there is still a massive number of mid-sized websites. It’s clear that it takes more time to correctly advertise on those sites, but one can also make an even better deal.

There is also this one huge Minecraft website which makes almost $1000 on a single day! This alone accounts financially for many of the websites that have left, or even all of them.

Several of the largest advertisers in 2009 or so are no longer using Project Wonderful because their own websites are dead. Bengo and Tony of “Calamities of Nature” come to mind. Maybe Project Wonderful needs to advertise a little more for itself to attract new publishers Wink.

I can only say that the success of Sandra and Woo and Gaia would not have been possible without Project Wonderful. I spent a lot of time on my advertising strategy, but it absolutely paid off in the end.
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