Cash is Good!

I have taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to post here as I am able.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to Set Up an Ad Campaign at CMF Ads

EDITED TO REFLECT CHANGES MADE BY CMF CMF Ads has just changed the way in which you buy ads on other sites. It's a little more complicated but let me walk you through it.

You have to set up a campaign for each of your blogs. If you want to use more than one graphic from time to time, each one of those will need its own campaign. These have to be approved, so initially it is going to take some time to buy an ad, but once the campaign is set up the process will not be long.

At the bottom of your Dashboard you will see a list of your existing campaigns. If you have none yet, you will only see the link "Add New Campaign." You need to click this even if you only want to buy one ad.

You will then be shown this screen:

Fill in the blanks.
  • What should you name the Campaign? I wasn't sure, so I named my first one Campaign 1. Bad idea! A good idea would have been the name of the blog and, if you plan to use multiple banners, a way to identify which one is part of this campaign.
  • Next put in the URL of your blog that you want to advertise. YOUR BLOG, not the one you want to advertise on.
  • Upload your banner in jpg or png format. You will not be given a screen to proof what you have chosen, so make sure that you upload the correct file. It doesn't look like editing campaigns is an option, so if you discover later that you have made a mistake you will need to delete the campaign and start over.
  • Click the "Proceed" button
  • This will take you to a screen that says your campaign has been added successfully, and lets you click to return to your dashboard.

Now, at the bottom of the dashboard, if you squint at this small graphic, you can see that Just Throw Money has been added to the list, in the middle. On the far right it will say "pending." So now you wait for your campaign to be approved by the admin. It took several hours for my first one to be approved last night, but only minutes for the North Country Trail News campaign to be approved this morning. Just be aware that this may take a while, as each campaign is looked at by a real human.

Once your campaign is approved you will see the choices change as in the bottom line above. On the far right it will say "Ready for Ads" This means that you are ready to go- you can place ads.

To place ads, go back to the right of the Campaign name, and choose "Add" or "Bulk Add". "Bulk Add" is if you want to advertise on all sites under a certain price, or all sites over a certain view threshold. You choose the values. "Add" is for selecting one or a few sites to advertise on.

At the next screen you will be served a list of all the blogs in the system with a small image of their banner. The default sort is by most views. You can also sort by cheapest, and by fewest ads running. Or you can search for a blog by name or keywords. You CAN NOT serve up a list of blogs you have previously advertised on. You can now tell which Campaign you are working with, and even change campaigns via a pull-down list. It can be very difficult to find a blog by name.

Make your selections by checking "Buy Ad" on the far right. It seems as if nothing has happened. But that link will change to the word "Queued." Then you have to wonder what to do next!!!!

Return to your Dashboard.

Now you will see on the far right that "Ads Placed" has changed to a link named "Start." Click this. You will be shown a popup box that tells you the total cost of this campaign and ask if you want to start it. For one ad this seems silly. But if you did a bulk campaign the total cost can be significant.

Now at the bottom of your dashboard you will get the message "More ads may be place in about 1 hour." This simply means that you can't place any more ads with this campaign until the ads you just bought have scripted by CMF software and make ready for posting. On the far right it will say "Ads queued." When your ad begins running that will change to "Ads placed," which makes much more sense at this point, and the "Disabled" message will change back to the links which allow you to buy more ads.

I have to say that this looks nice for people who want to buy large quantities of ads, but a pain in the neck for bloggers who just want to pick a few ads to run.
  • You can still click through from a blog you like and just purchase an ad there... bingo, you're done. This was brought back by popular demand, and is not yet integrated into the campaign system.
  • They are working on a renewal feature, but currently that doesn't exist. Of course, no ads under this new system will be available for renewal for 30 days, so they have a buffer of time.
  • It is WAY too complicated to set up a campaign.

  • There is supposed to be better statistics reporting under this system. There is a sample of this in their Campaigns User Guide
  • It's nice if you want to do bulk advertising

Good luck!

Sign Up for CMF Ads

web ad income Dec 6 (4 blogs, 2 web sites, writing): Adsense $.17
Adgitize $.89
Project Wonderful $.03
Clixsense $.04
Neobux $.04
Textbroker $43.65
Total: $44.82


Ben said...


Thanks for the great guide! You were very thorough and I can see several things that we can improve. Particularly things like "Ads placed" showing up for a brand new campaign, or displaying which campaign you're working with on the Select Ads page.

One thing is incorrect though. When you kick off your campaign and the controls are disabled, they will only be like that for up to 1 hour. It's not to do with whether your ads were approved by the publisher, it's simply a delay that is required for our ad processing script to create your ads. This is a big improvement for people who were used to the Network Ad screen - our biggest advertisers had to sit and wait for a few minutes while the network ad did its work. Now, we simply store the details and place your ads in the background.

We are still making improvements and I will be looking at some of your comments over the next few days. There is a discussion thread in the Talk about CMF Ads section of our forums, which will contain news of recent changes to campaigns. Please keep an eye on that thread if you are interested to know what we're up to.

Thanks again for your feedback!

Ben (Lead Developer @ CMF Ads)

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Thanks, Ben... I'll change the article to make the correction!

Glynis said...

I use CMF, but find the system a little complicated at times. It is useful for getting traffic to my blog.

Chris said...

I'm pretty upset at CMF for doing this. The older system was nice and simple and much, much better. You could see what ads you had bought. Now you have to open up every campaign and print it out so you don't buy double ads.

Starting a new campaign every time you want to place a new ad is foolish. I would like to say to CMF Ads: If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

Martin@Cornyman's Money-Blog said...

Great guide!

Complicated :)

Most things are like this if we do it the first time but will improve as soon as our brain has figured it out ;)

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Chris- There is already a lot of discussion on the CMF forum about the many issues, and I believe there are going to be some changes.

Glynis- Yes, it is way too complicated for users who just want to do a few ads.

Martin- We may learn to understand it, but if it remains too cumbersome for the return, people just won't use it.

Eli @ Business Sphere said...

I have an advertiser account at CMF Ads and at any one time I had 60-100 ads running on CMF publisher blogs.

But when they changed the way of buying ads by creating a "campaign" I found it complicated and a waste of my time having to buy ad, add funds to a campaign, etc. Instead of making easier for their advertisers to buy ads, they even make it harder.

The last time I visited my account there was a week ago when I created an alert, requesting the Admin to immediately cancel my advertiser account for that very reason.

You are right. Many advertisers were turned off by the way CMF Admin changed the manner of buying ads. That maybe one of the reasons why a lot of blogs with CMF Ads widget have empty ads.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Eli- They are making changes so that it will go more smoothly. Give it a week and try again.

turnip said...

Why so much drama over an interface change that is being tweaked daily? Only 3 advertisers expressed issues with the interface and those issues were addressed the very next day. We are still making changes to the advertising interface based upon input received from forum feedback.

The number of ads placed has remained relatively constant. It actually surged in November because of one large advertiser. Also, the number of blogs without ads has remained constant. Those few blogs without ads have to do with individual blogs assigning monthly rates far above their peers.

Again, all suggestions to improve the campaign interface are happily received. If we followed the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" mentallity, you wouldn't have had the previous interface either. CMF Ads is almost one year old, and always trying to better itself. We listen to feedback and always try to make improvements when issues are brought to our attention in the proper forum.

The Fitness Diva said...

Thanks so much for posting this.
I joined this network a couple weeks ago, and after doing steps 1 - 4, got stuck trying to advertise my widget on one of the featured blogs. I found myself going in a circle, accomplishing nothing.
I will have to come back and copy these instructions when i have the time.

I just have to ask the makers of this interface, "why so complicated???"
These people running CMF came from Entrecard, have also used Adgitize and Project Wonderful, and thus know how simple a blog marketing interface can and should be. Why, after knowing how easy it is to get an ad up and running on, say Adgitize would they create something so confoundingly confusing and difficult to manage?
Once your ad is approved, you should just be able to load up your ad, pick where you want it to go, pay for it, click and be done!
****Note Adgitize/ Project Wonderful = EASY! Learn from them!

I might try to go back and do a CMF campaign using your guide.
And then again, maybe not. Depends on if I have some time to kill. And some patience.
If it's going to take more than 5 minutes to load the ad, and you have to go through this long process every time, it is SO not worth it. Too many other players in the game that make it easy.

Thanks once again for this post!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Turnip- well, I know you think it's pretty clearcut, but it's a lot more steps, and you can see that people are not thrilled.

Diva- Glad I could help. I hope they simplify the whole thing a bit.

Ben said...

We have just introduced "Spikes", which may be of interest to publishers. They are very simple to use. Campaigns have been improved a great deal since their initial launch, but they are better suited to advertisers than publishers. Spikes should be a good compromise. Have a great Christmas everyone!

John | Make Nothing Online said...

I'm still trying to figure out a few things about the new campaigns!

1) I don't really understand what happens if I want to add ads to a campaign that's already running.

2) I don't understand the reporting.

3) I can't figure out how to select sites by category.

Not complaining, it's just not as simple as the old system :-)