Back in February 2013, the Lab introduced advertising on Secondlife.com. The move brought a mixed response from users, some positive, some negative. In March, the programme was extended to include the SL Marketplace, and the Lab indicated they’d be adding advertising to all their web properties over time.
In extending the advertising presence in March, the Lab’s blog post commented:
These ads are a great opportunity for advertisers to reach the large, global audience that visits the Second Life web properties every day, and we want to extend that opportunity to Second Life merchants as soon as we can. For Merchants, advertising on the Second Life web properties will be a new way to get their offerings in front of potential customers, while at the same time making the ads extremely relevant to every Second Life user who sees them.
The Lab has now started contacting merchants to offer them the opportunity to make use of the banner space on the various Second Life related web properties – Second Life.com, the dashboard (/My Account – what you see when logged into Second Life on the web), the Marketplace, etc.
The programme is called Advertise with Us, and there is an official FAQ on the subject.
Space can be purchased on a campaign basis, based on number of impressions, and the marketing can be geographically targeted – so a campaign can be specifically targeted by language, for example, or by region.
Two sizes of ad are available:
- 728×90 horizontal top & bottom
- 160×600 vertical right side
However, there is a bite to the offer. The minimum expenditure for a single campaign is $1,000 USD (L$ payments cannot at this time be accepted), with individual advertising costs as follows.
Adverts across more than one property can be purchased as a part of a campaign, and merchants can specify their requirements via the Advertiser Information Form, which must be submitted in advance in order for a merchant to signify interest in the scheme and receive further information / instructions from Linden Lab (no payment required at the time of submitting the form). All ads must conform with the Ad Unit Guidelines.
There is no upper limit to campaigns, so long as the minimum fee of $1,000 USD is met, and campaigns of $10,000 or more can be invoiced. Additional requirements are outlined in the FAQ.
While the minimum cost of a campaign may seem expensive, the cost per 1,000 impressions is roughly equitable to charges made by Google for banner advertising. With a high monthly number of uniques (estimated at around 350,000 for properties such as the dashboard / My Account and the SL Marketplace), the advertising might be seen as highly targeted at an audience liable to have an interest in products and services on offer – assuming they are not using browser-based ad blockers.
For further details please refer to the links below.
4 thoughts on “Lab opens website advertising to SL businesses and merchants”
Is that a $1,000 per month minimum requirement?
No. It’s $1,000 per campaign – and a campaign is measured in terms of number of page impressions (purchased in batches of 1,000). These in turn are dictated by a range of factors: number of other advertisers using the web property, frequency with which your ads will be shown (in this case no more tha 4 times per 24 hours per individual viewing the web page carrying the ad), number of people viewing the pages carrying the ads, etc. See CPI online advertising.
OK, so the cost per impression is market rate. That $1000 minimum fee is a quarter-million impressions, for one website that, I suspect, relatively few SL residents use. And back when SL published such figures, only a few hundred accounts were successful enough that $1000 was not a huge payment in terms of income percentage (October 2010, positive flow of over $1000 about 1200 residents, not sure how this takes into account tier payments.) Now, they do talk about millions of impressions per month, and showing to an individual user no more than four times per day, but the number of users per day…
I can see why they don’t want to say quite that much, it’s an indication of how successful they really are. I hope, if you are talking seriously to them, they will tell you more about the numbers, but it’s something that, I reckon, doesn’t add up for more than a few businesses in SL: too big a minimum. Advertising is a gamble, and you should not bet what you cannot afford to lose.
“one website that, I suspect, relatively few SL residents use”
That’s something of subjective statement. While it is true that secondlife.com / the dashboard pages may not be that widely used by established users, the Marketplace and the feeds certainly have comparatively high volumes of traffic and see extensive daily use, as do the forums. So there is the potential for value to be had here.
However, I do agree that it is caveated with a big “if” or two. The first if is whether a merchant / business has the cashflow where $1,000 can afford to be spent on such a campaign, which even if it does go towards the more attractive web properties, may still be of questionable value, because so much depends on the second if – and that’s if users actually get to see the ads or not, given many of us operate with ad blockers in place.
In this, as you’ll likely recall, matters weren’t helped by the questionable quality of the initial ads displayed on the web properties, which at the time stirred considerable discussion on the use of ad blockers.
Hence why I did refer to the offer coming with a bite. While I actually think trying to draw-down revenue through the websites is potentially worthwhile (and leaving aaside the thought that it might perhaps have been done more creatively), I do think the initial $1,000 is asking too much of the majority of SL businesses. As such, it might have been better for the Lab to have offered more of an enticement / looked to have balanced the MOQ to better reflect the pockets of a broader cross-section of SL businesses.
That said, I can see some that will perhaps find it worth an initial punt. If it weren’t for the fact I’m one of those who has an ad blocker on her web browsers, I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see SL land ads from certain businesses popping-up as I travel through the SL web properties during the course of the day.
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