B.media: what do today’s consumers have to say?

May
5

To follow up on our last post, here are some interesting findings from b.media forum. The consumer panel – including four consumers ranging from high school age to upper 20’s – provided a lot of interesting feedback on information consumption and sharing habits. Read on to see what our consumer panelists had to say…

Information consumption:

  • Nobody reads hard copy newspapers and very few read magazines; everyone goes online to find out news and information.
  • Every consumer has purchased at least one app for their phone and/or iPad. On average, tech-savvy consumers have 60+ apps downloaded to their phone but are only actively using 10-15.
  • When it comes to online advertising, brand perception isn’t affected if consumers see ads on a “bad” site; however, perception of a website’s quality is absolutely affected if the publisher shows poor-quality/irritating ads (e.g. pop-ups).
  • Very few click on ads but when they do, it’s contextually relevant advertising.

Information sharing:

  • 3b new photos are uploaded to Facebook each month but there’s a movement towards real-time photo uploads. Nobody had uploaded an entire photo album to Facebook for over six months.
  • High school kids use text and Facebook to communicate with their network, with 2x the use of text compared to Facebook. They don’t use LinkedIn and rarely use email (other than Facebook’s email platform).
  • An estimated 20-30% of high school kids use Twitter. When they do, it’s to post “random” comments and follow celebrities.
  • High school kids haven’t yet been exposed to Quora; young adults use it to find information but rarely, if ever, post questions or answers.
  • Young adults primarily use Twitter and Facebook for communication. Tech-savvy consumers are increasingly turning to Twitter to communicate because they are overwhelmed by the amount of “friends” and Facebook requests (e.g. Farmville).
  • Every consumer and almost every b.media attendee has changed their Facebook privacy settings.

And for those of you who haven’t yet watched our b.media video, enjoy!

b.media forum from Lijit on Vimeo.

Lijit Study Shows Publisher Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80%

Mar
2

Over 15,000 sites on the Internet use Lijit’s advertising services, on-site search tool, and other widgets (analytics widget, recent readers widget, related content widget). Analytics are built into all of our tools but we do not sell the data. Instead, we feed it back to our publishers to help them better understand their audience and monetize their site. We also aggregate the data and use it to optimize CPMs and fill rates for our publishers.

Over the last few weeks we ran a detailed analysis to see what widgets are most often deployed on publisher sites across the Lijit network. We compared 2009 and 2010 data to identify market trends. Outlined below are some of the most interesting takeaways.

Background:

  • 2010: 735,834 sites surveyed, 84.8% with widgets installed (13,541,022 widgets)
  • 2009: 744,848 sites surveyed, 84.7% with widgets installed (13,826,562 widgets)

Key research findings:
The Lijit Top 50
Below is a list of the top 50 widgets and tools implemented on publisher websites. The adoption of social media widgets – including tools used for social networking, micro-blogging, bookmarking, and photo sharing – grew 80% from 2009 to 2010. Widget adoption specifically related to Facebook and Twitter almost doubled, growing from 6.96% to 11.86%.

Additional analysis revealed the following trends:

  • Many content and engagement tools joined the Lijit Top 50 list for the first time in 2010. These tools include Twitter’s image sharing service, LinkWithin, Wibiya, and Tynt.
  • Related content tools to keep readers on-site longer didn’t make the list of Top 10 tools in 2009 but are now being used by 3.68% of sites surveyed.
  • Online advertising services continue to track at a 20% adoption rate; however, new monetization tools used in affiliate marketing programs such as Skimlinks, Infolinks, and Amazon saw a 16% increase in 2010.
  • Audience analytics tools from Quantcast are becoming much more prevalent. Over 44% of the sites that use analytics use Quantcast to gather reader data, representing a 15% year-over-year growth.
  • Website commenting systems now integrate social media components. Disqus, used on almost 75% of the sites that use a 3rd party comment provider, now supports social media commenting and sharing on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Twitsteps, a Twitter-powered commenting system, now ranks the second most widely used commenting system after growing 356% in 2010.

Referring traffic
Three main categories of referring traffic data were analyzed: 1) search engine traffic; 2) organic traffic (defined by sites linking to each other); and 3) social media traffic. A deeper look at referring traffic from social media sources verifies that both social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter as well as social sharing tools such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are being used to drive traffic to publisher websites.

Referring traffic to websitesSocial media traffic to websites

For additional insights into our research analysis, please read our press release, “Lijit Networks Announces Results of 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis.”

Our methodology:
Our definition of “widget” is “any regularly-occurring functionality on a website powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the site owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.”

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the publisher but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets automatically added by the hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that publishers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted. We may include support for these in the future.
  • Our crawl is “centered” on sites with the Lijit widget (ad tags, site search and other Lijit widgets). Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls and other linked sites. This may skew the overall results since research originates from sites within the Lijit Network.

Come join Lijit at the Forum and Communities Conference in San Francisco

Feb
11

Are you interested in learning more about how to create and manage online communities?

Then come join us at the Forum and Communities Conference in San Francisco next Wednesday, February 16. Todd Vernon, Lijit’s founder and CEO, will be speaking on a panel titled “Technology and Community” along with executives from eBay, VigLink (a Lijit partner), and CloudFlare. The panel will be moderated by Dan Gill, co-founder and CEO of Huddler.

During this one-day event, a team of experts will provide guidance on how to effectively engage with communities, give tips on how to maximize the value of communities, and offer insights into new services to try and trends to watch out for. Click here for additional details on the event. We hope to see you there!

DNA of a Lijit publisher

Jan
21

We recently conducted a survey of Lijit users to learn more about the products, services, and resources we can provide to help our publishers engage their readers and monetize their site.

There was a bunch of interesting information we learned from the 180 surveys we received. Below is a snapshot of our findings.

Who uses Lijit? There was a surprisingly even breakdown between those who write for fun, those who write to make a little extra money on the side, and those who do it for a living:

How do you consume information? We wanted to see what tools our publishers use to learn about their craft. What did we find out? Publishers are hungry for almost any tool – both online and offline – as long as it helps them get better at what they do! Here’s a breakdown in order of priority:

How can Lijit help you become a better publisher? The number one thing our publishers asked for from Lijit was tips for promoting content. Over 70% want to learn more about SEO and social networking. The next most important thing? Staying up-to-date on Lijit news and learning how to better leverage our tools and services… now that’s music to our ears!

What are we doing to help? We’re working on a newsletter, videos, and other tools that provide Lijit news/tips and best practices for promoting your content, monetizing your site, and better engaging and understanding your readers. Stay tuned for more information…

What put a big smile on our faces? An astonishing 70% check their Lijit stats at least once a week! Lijit search stats provide helpful information on a site’s readers – who they are, where they’re coming from, what they’re searching for. For those using our ad services, ad stats provide details on fill rates and CPMs so you can optimize revenue.

What was the biggest shocker? In a world consumed by social media, when it comes to getting company updates over 60% want to receive information through email. Email was the chosen method of communication over our blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed. It looks like email isn’t going the way of the dinosaur after all!

What other takeaways? We’re proud of our publisher partnerships and thankful to those who provided comments on Lijit. Our product team is reviewing your feedback and will be rolling a bunch of it into our 2011 roadmap.

If you didn’t take the survey and have some thoughts you’d like to share, please give us a shout. Thanks for your support!

Discover amazing products and earn money with OpenSky!

Sep
10

We wanted to take a moment to introduce our publishers to OpenSky, a new and free platform that allows you to sell products you choose directly to your audience.  Like Lijit, OpenSky helps you deepen your relationship with your readers.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Browse their catalog to discover products you’ve never seen or look for old favorites.
  • Select which products you want to feature.
  • Connect with suppliers to ask about discounts or free samples.
  • Sell products on your site.
  • (Or buy any product for yourself at a special insider’s price.)

For every sale you make, OpenSky splits the profits, 50/50. Plus, once a sale is made, you don’t have to do any work. OpenSky takes care of all the order processing, fulfillment and customer service.

OpenSky is free and easy to use. Take a test drive… join today and start selling in less than 5 minutes.

The future of search

Aug
31

Seems like every day I see another article talking about the “Future of Search”. In every article “Search” refers almost exclusively to the Reader (you and me) and how we use Search. Nearly everything anyone has to say about Search seems to always relate back to the reader:

  • What am I looking for?
  • Did I find it or not?
  • Was it presented to me in a unique and compelling way?
  • Is my location taken into account?
  • My social network taken into account?
  • Images? Video? Audio? Were they also available?
  • How about maps? Or discount coupons?
  • Did the Search learn from my prior searches or click behavior?
  • Is anything going to unseat Google as the dominant search engine?

The problem is that this Reader-centric equation is only half of what Search really is. In a literal sea of websites that are NOT Google, Bing, Yahoo!, eBay, or YouTube there is incredible value in Search that appeals to the Publishers of those millions of websites.

Think about it from a Publisher point of view. Search is a powerful insight into the intent of an audience of readers. In fact, site search on all of these millions of websites is largely an afterthought. That’s crazy when you think that a little search box on your site is the place where your readers assert direct and explicit intent against your content. Search is perhaps the most interactive and data-rich portion of your site and it’s also one of the most overlooked.

  • What are my Readers looking for?
  • What are they finding? What are they not finding?
  • Are they clicking on my site content, my Twitter content? My other sites?
  • Do they engage with intent on my site? Or simply read and exit?
  • Do they see and interact with results from my social media?
  • Do they gravitate to other media content like photos, videos, audio?
  • Do I show them related content from my network of sites? And if so, how often do they click through to those sites?

The points above illustrate incredible Publisher-centric information captured from the intent of your audience. The amazing part? Lijit is the only company tackling this Publisher-side value equation with Search. We do it for free, with easy customization, with no restrictive obligations, and no exclusive contracts. We focus 100% on Publisher-side value that helps these Publishers engage and better understand their audience of readers. We feed this data back to our Publishers through real-time actionable analytics. Oh… and if our Publishers want us to make them more money, we do that too; with no restrictive obligations, and no exclusive contracts. Does it get any better than that?

Lijit takes on Formula Drift and the Las Vegas heat

Aug
25

Ouch.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting sin city itself, Las Vegas, for the first time in my young life. However, I wasn’t there to blow through my life savings ala Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation,” or to tie the knot with the, uh, “exotic dancer” I met just hours prior. No, my intentions were elsewhere. My eyes and ear and rental car were pointed about 25 miles north of the Vegas strip to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was there, among the gloriously desolated desert I was to witness a one-of-a-kind car racing event: After Dark – Round 5 of the Formula Drift series of competition.

What’s drifting, you ask? Well if you haven’t seen the second installment of the Fast and the Furious, here’s a little background direct from Wikipedia:

Drifting refers to a driving technique and to a motorsport where the driver intentionally over steers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels through turns, while maintaining vehicle control and a high exit speed. A car is drifting when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle prior to the corne apex, and the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g. car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa), and the driver is controlling these factors. As a motor sport, professional drifting competitions are held worldwide.

Hope that clears things up. At any rate, my purpose was to watch these immensely beefed-up cars careen around cones at exponentially high speeds, shooting clouds of tire smoke into the 112 degree desert sky and showering spectators in bits of rubber. Aside from the tents of the various event sponsors, including MotorMavens.com, on of Lijit’s premier publishers, there was little I could do to escape the heat. Read: I was a sweaty mess close to 100% of the time. But what a perfect catalyst to help make said bits of tire stick to my skin, no?

So long, tires.

The event was anything but lackluster. I had the chance to meet the drivers, including Rhys Millen (of the Rod Millen family), Chris Forsberg, Tyler McQuarrie, who took home the gold, and the riotous, Mad Mike Whiddett driving the beastly Mazda RX-8 sponsored by Team Need For Speed and closely tied to a personal favorite site of mine, Speedhunters.com. Further than the drives, I had the pleasure to actually meet, face-to-face, with the heads of Team Need for Speed/Speedhunters and their acclaimed videographer, Will Roegge and photographer, Linhbergh. And isn’t it always better to put a face to a name? I got to do just that, too, when I shook the hand of Antonio, one of the masterminds behind the aforementioned, Motor Mavens.

Hopping from tent to tent, checking out the latest products from leaders in the industry, pounding NOS energy drinks (probably downed close to 4 gallons in two days), handing out Lijit shirts, collecting loads of free swag, I didn’t stop moving from the times the gates opened at 4PM until they closed at around 1:30AM each of the two days. Although I only got to check out the casino in the Golden Nugget, the hotel I called home for the weekend, I am not a big gambler and that side of Vegas wasn’t alluring to me. I did pull the lever on one $1 slot machine. Then I called it a day.

The flags flying high at the Motor Mavens booth.

The flags flying high over the Motor Mavens booth.

A rollercoaster weekend of networking, burning rubber, 112 dry heat, over-air conditioned rooms, carnival-style food, meeting some of the best and brightest in the drifting world, rental car radio and my phone dying when I really, REALLY didn’t need it to saw me returning to Denver exhausted, slightly more broke, two lungs filled with tire smoke, and feeling accomplished. Will I be back next year? Heck yes! Will I be trying to attend more local Colorado-based automotive events? YOu better believe it. So, if you see me, feel free to say hey. I may even have a bag of shirts with me if you are lucky.

The BlogFrog Launches Their Frugal Living Community

Aug
9

We’re all about supporting local. We’ve worked with The BlogFrog before by featuring the online Boulder company that allows bloggers to create instant community on their blogs, by letting readers connect, interact and share content. BlogFrog is like attaching a social network to your blog.

Well, we’re featuring them again because they just launched their Frugal Living Community!

To get the community going, The BlogFrog launched The Dream Team (many of which, are also using Lijit’s custom search, stats and advertising – see the crossover?)

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s The Difference Between an Advertising Network and Lijit?

Jun
7

Note: The following is a post from Todd Vernon, Lijit’s fearless leader and CEO.

Since the beginning of the year Lijit has been aggressively talking with Ad Agency’s and Brands about leveraging our publisher base to reach targeted audiences in the mid and long tail of publishers.  Our position has always been that audiences in the mid and long tail are much more engaged than the glossy publications at the head of the publisher chain.  Delivering search technology and data to our publisher base allows us to see what consumers are interested in which is valuable to our agency partners.
Read the rest of this entry »

Build Websites Easily With Jigsy

Jun
4

Establishing an online presence is imperative for businesses and these days, even having a blog or website for an individual is becoming customary. Your ideas become your resume and portray your experience which can give way to career opportunities, professional and personal relationships and new avenues to learn.

With that being said, albeit necessary, creating or building a website is easier said than done. Enter: Jigsy: the easy website builder.

Jigsy, (originally Viviti) was established in 1997. The fundamental concept behind Jigsy is to provide a simple yet powerful website builder that is suited to the needs of novice users, and professional designers.

Jigsy’s range is vast:

Now Jigsy serves personal blogs, small business websites, news portals, bands, churches, pet groomers, artists, musicians, and… well, you name it. People are flocking to Jigsy by the thousands and we’re pleased to keep on doing what we do – enabling people to create and maintain great looking dynamic websites.

Jigsy’s pricing is affordable, their templates (175 + available) are easy to use, they offer all in one hosting, they have a great support team and even send renewal notifications to ensure your website is always updated. Check out some of their featured website users and even Thelo, our Director of Business Development created a Jigsy website, Bluebird Surf.

Their product and support offerings are unparalleled:

We believe in spreading the good word and cool stuff since Lijit has great friends who offer really neat services. Jigsy is one of those neat services with our seal of approval. Check them out on Twitter @JigsyBuilder, their company blog: http://blog.jigsy.com/ and of course, their website http://jigsy.com.