Today I thought I’d take a look at some trends I’ve noticed with EntreCard. It’s been around a little over a month now and has been getting its share of cheers and jeers from the blogging community. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Is it another ill-fated blog widget like BlogRush? What’s the story?
Here’s my take on it so far along with some other’s opinions on it.
I’ve been tracking EntreCard traffic results since I installed it. I described my initial findings in this article, Traffic Analysis: Blogging Zoom vs. EntreCard. After another 3 weeks of traffic I’m still seeing about the same results. The average time on-site for EntreCard visitors is running about 1:15 and the bounce rate is at about 85%. This slight improvement was probably due to me featuring EntreCard articles on a few days. When I eliminate them the average time on-site drops to 30 seconds and bounce rate goes up to 95%.
The bottom line still is that EntreCard does send traffic but most of it is low quality traffic. The vast majority of people who visit your site using the widget are coming there only to drop their card and move on quickly to the next site. Getting them to take a break at your site seems to be tied to the articles and graphics they see up front. From what I can determine articles about EntreCard or those that are appealing to the mostly male eye have the best performance when it comes to putting the brakes on a drive-by dropper.
Also, it’s ability to advertise your site seems limited although this could be improved by having a compelling 125×125 graphic (once again, think of what captures the attention of a mostly male audience). The real problem here is that few of the graphics used work well as advertising. Most are just text or a non-distinct or confusing logo graphic that easily fade into the background visual noise.
Does EntreCard Conflict With Adsense?
Here’s something I’ve wondered about and I’d like to know if anyone else has seen something similar. EntreCard does boost your traffic count meaning that if you have Adsense your number of impressions increase which, in turn, drops your click-thru rate (CTR). This increase in non-converting traffic may cause your Adsense account to become “smart priced”.
This is what happened to me and that’s why I removed Adsense from OpTempo. It was adversely affecting the earnings on my niche sites. Now, it could just be coincidence but the decline in Adsense revenue started about a week or so after I installed EntreCard here.
I strongly suspect that Google is treating EntreCard traffic in much the same way as they treat arbitrage traffic or paid traffic, they smart price the account. This will cut your earnings anywhere from 1/2 to 1/10 of what you were earning previously. If you’re seeing 3 cent clicks where you were getting $1 clicks before, then you’ve been smart priced. If you run multiple, niche targeted sites, this can have a big impact on your earnings.
More EntreCard Trends
It seems like everyone and their cousin are either having a contest giving away EntreCard credits or are talking about someone else having such a contest. I’m not sure what this indicates so far as the overall health of the EntreCard economy but it may indicate that people have a lot of credits and no where they want to spend them.
EntreCard ‘wall’ posts are also popular. They’re kind of annoying because they take such a long time to load and are, well, kind of useless. Sam points out that this kind of linking may even hurt you in this article: EntreCard Holiday Dysfunctional Link Love That Could Potentially Hurt You.
In another article, Super Advanced EntreCard Strategy - Squeezing the Most Out of Your Chain Droppers, Sam suggests using a new advertising annoyance called “Pay-Per-Play” that plays an advertising message when someone enters your site to make the most of serial card dropper traffic. It might work, at least until advertisers complain about poor conversions.
Some people think that EntreCard serves a useful purpose, such as this post on “I’m not that girl anymore”, Unrequited Blog Love.
Others are less impressed by EntreCard’s performance such as Geoff who compares EntreCard credits to World of Warcraft gold exchanges in this article, Entrecard Credits as a Virtual Currency. Jason also sees it as a waste of time and effort: The Death of Entrecard?
What’s your take on EntreCard now that’s it’s been out for over a month?