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Invision Community has a basic internal advertising feature that will help you place ads in default locations with no programming knowledge. The best way to start with ads is to try out some default ad locations visible to admins only. This way you can see how and where you place the ads. You can also test if the location is annoying or the size of the banner is not appropriate. Let's start. Default ad locations in IPS In your AdminCP go to System -> Site Promotion -> Advertisements and click on Create New. You get the screen where to create new advert. Scroll down to the selection Show the advertisement. These are default locations. Sometimes you can see more locations if you have installed third-party applications. Or the list is shorter if you do not use all IPS applications. You need to create sample image banner ad for each location to test it. But what banner sizes will fit? There are some common web banner sizes. I strongly recommend using only banner sizes that are suggested by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in their guidelines. Direct advertisers have normally banners of this size and thus do not need to create something special for your community. Also, Google supports those sizes, so you can easily test AdSense banners or use AdManager in the same locations. Download this banner set to try out different banner sizes in different locations on different devices: banner-examples.zip How to add a new banner We will start by creating a new ad in the location Just above the page header and use the Super Leaderboard 970x90px. In the example, we use location name as title. Tick Upload images to get the upload field displayed. Use Open link in a new window? for external URLs and do not use it to promote a page/content within your own community. Upload an image. Choose the location Just below the page header. In the field Shows to deselect all groups except Administrators. This way you can safely test the advertisements even on your live installation. Nobody would see the ads except you. Then save the ad and visit your community to see where and where the ad is placed. Smaller versions for mobile The ad images are resized automatically in IPS (as every image) because of responsive design in IPS themes. However, ad size of 970x90 can be too small to read if resized. In this case, you can upload smaller images of the ads. "Smaller" also means "another format" in this case. For example, you can upload 728x90 for the tablets and 300x250 for the mobile. Tick the option Upload smaller versions? and upload another ad formats. Then test your results on different devices. Suggestions for ad locations We combine the common web banner sizes and default theme of Invision Community to figure out what location is most suitable for what banner sizes. Just below the page header The ad is placed below the main navigation. The best sizes are: Desktop (Large): 970x90 or 970x250 Tablet (Medium): 728x90 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 This location is the best choice for the guests of your communities. Registered users will overlook it and most likely be annoyed by it. Just above the page footer The ad is placed just above the footer links. It stretches over the entire width of the site. The best sizes for this location are: Desktop (Large): 970x90 or 970x250 Tablet (Medium): 728x90 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 This location is suitable for registered users. They often scroll to the end of the page where the banner draws their attention. Do not underestimate this location, even if it seems to be "invisible". It can be a booster. In the site sidebar The ad is placed in the sidebar on the desktop above all blocks you may have. Viewing the page on smaller devices like tablets or phones will replace the sidebar below the content if you use default IPS theme with default settings. You can customize this sidebar in the theme settings. In your AdminCP go to Customization -> Appearance -> Theme. Click on Edit (pencil) for the theme you use and click on the tab Custom. You can change position of the sidebar from Right to the Left here. Then the content of the sidebar (including) ad will be displayed above the main content on smaller devices. So I strongly recommend it to suppress the sidebar in this case by disabling the feature Show sidebar on mobile. The best sizes for this location are: Desktop (Large): 300x250 or 300x600 or 300x1050 Tablet (Medium): 728x90 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 Using large banners like 300x600 or even 300x1050 can be very attractive for the advertisers. It depends on your community though if you have enough desktop traffic. If most of your users use mobile devices, they will not see this format. You will find another setting for this ad location in Advertisement settings. In your AdminCP go to System -> Site Promotion -> Advertisements. On the top of the list of advertisements you click the button Advertisement Settings. Advertisement rotation (circulation) controls what ad should be shown if more than one ad is enabled in the same ad location. And the setting Force sidebar to display controls if the sidebar should be shown even if there are no block content blocks but only ads. This last setting is a good idea to enable for those who do not use sidebar at all. In this case, you can sell Portrait banner (300x1050) to fill out the entire sidebar. Try it out. Fluid view topic listing, between topic rows This ad location adds a banner after the first row in fluid view topic listing in your forum. This view is deactivated by default. To enable it in your AdminCP go to Communities -> Forums -> Settings. You see three different options for Default forum view. You can change the view here and/or allow Members can choose?. Fluid must be selected to test ads in this ad location. When you select this ad location in the ad settings, you will see two additional setting fields. Show this advert after every X topic rows and Repeated 0 times. By default, the banner is shown after the first topic in fluid view. You can change this behaviour here and enter the number of topic row where the banner should appear. The second setting controls whether you would like to repeat the banner in the list. The best sizes for this location are: Desktop (Large): 970x90 or 970x250 Tablet (Medium): 728x90 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 Use this placement with caution, it can annoy your users. I do not recommend using it together with ad location Just below the page header as it can be a little overhead. It is up to you to find the best balance between usability and monetizing. After the first post in each topic This ad locations displays a banner after the first post in each topic. The best sizes for this location are: Desktop (Large): 970x90 or 970x250 Tablet (Medium): 728x90 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 As above, this placement can be very annoying, especially for the registered users. Consider displaying the ad to the guests only. After the first topic in each forum This ad locations displays a banner after the first topic in each forum. The best sizes for this location are: Desktop (Large): 970x90 or 970x250 Tablet (Medium): 728x90 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 As above, this placement can be very annoying, especially for the registered users. Consider displaying the ad to the guests only. In the Gallery image lightbox This ad location allows to display ad just before the comments to the image in IPS Gallery. You see this location only if you purchased Gallery app from IPS. The Lightbox is not used on mobile, so that the ad is displayed just below the image on the smaller device. The best sizes for this location are: Desktop (Large): 300x250 Tablet (Medium): 300x50 or 300x250 Mobile/Phone (Small): 300x50 or 300x250 This location can work if you have large galleries with a lot of impressions. There is no default solution on what sizes should be used in each ad location. It depends on banner content and ad location, not only on device. Make experiments to find the best solution for your community, your advertisers, your money and usability. The next step would be to set up selling depending on IPS applications you have.
This guide explains how to set up a commerce product of type Advertisement in Commerce application of IPS. Commerce is an essential app to monetize your community. You should purchase it if your license does not include this application. How to sell ad location in Commerce First, set up at least one payment method. For testing, it would be enough to create manual payment. Later on we will see how to integrate PayPal. In your AdminCP go to Commerce -> Payments -> Settings. Click on Create New and select Manual (check, bank wire, etc.). On the next screen enter name and instructions: Manual payment method Now you are ready to create a product of type Advertisement for the location Just below the page header. In your AdminCP got to Commerce -> Store -> Products. Create a new group Advertisements and click on plus sign to add new product into the group. Choose Advertisement as Type. Product settings for advertisement Enter the Product name, tick the ad location you would like to sell and limit the banner dimensions. Setting price for advertisements Click on the tab Pricing. In our example, the advertisement costs 30 USD for 3 days. Enter 30 USD as Price and enable the option Renews? Enter 30 USD for every 3 days. Purchase price and duration Save the product. Test purchasing advertisement Go to your AdminCP and create a new member. Use the feature Sign in as [MemberName] to log in. This member is now your test customer who makes purchase of the advertisement. Go to Store in the main navigation of your community and select the product you have just created. Enter the Target URL, upload and Image and click on Add to cart. Click on Review & Checkout to purchase. On the next screen, click on Checkout again, fill the Billing information and click on Continue to Order Review. To complete the order click on Place Order and Pay. As we have only manual payment method, the order is set to status Waiting. Order awaiting administrator's approval As stated in the message above, the community administrator is now informed about the new order. The manual payment means that administrator must check if the order is paid. It can be cash, check, or any other method that cannot be tracked automatically. The community administrator must approve the order manually. In your AdminCP go to Commerce -> Payments -> Transactions. There is a transaction with status Waiting. You can view the transaction and/or approve it automatically from the list. Approve transaction in AdminCP After you have approved the transaction, you will get another notification in AdminCP. The advertisement has been created now, but is held for approval. This double approval is because of the manual payment method. Normally you would set up PayPal and/or Stripe to get payments that are approved automatically. Here you would like to review the advertisement before you display it in the community. So the last step would be to review and approve the advertisement. In your AdminCP go to System -> Site promotion -> Advertisements. The advertisement has Pending status and no title. Add Invoice ID as advertisement title and Save. Now approve the advertisement from the list. Approve advertisement after purchase The ad is now displayed in your community and will be automatically disabeld after 3 days. If you can live with manual payment, go and check all Commerce settings. In the next step you can add a PayPal payment method and play in the sandbox with it.
This guide helps to set up PayPal in Commerce application of IPS and to test purchases, renewals, commissions and withdrawals safely. The payment method applies not only to Commerce products. You can use it throughout the entire community and in the 3rd party applications. There are some examples: Subscriptions (a feature of IPS Commerce application) Downloads (IPS application for selling digital products) Paid Clubs (IPS application to build paid membership clubs within your community) Donations (a feature of IPS Commerce application) Referrals (a feature of IPS Commerce application) Classifieds System (3rd party application) Links Directory (3rd party application) Pay to pin or feature any content (3rd party application) Printful Commerce Integration (3rd party application to sell merchandise products) Raffles System (3rd party application) Crowdfunding (3rd party application) VideoBox - Video & Livestream Sharing Platform The best way to test PayPal payments is to use a so-called "sandbox". This is a test environment of PayPal that does not affect real payments but act as it were. With sandbox, you can test and optimize all screens and messages sent out by PayPal and Invision Community. Unfortunately, you cannot use PayPal sandbox if you host on IPS Cloud. Prepare PayPal sandbox To play with PayPal you need access to Developer Dashboard. If you don't have an account there, click on sign up. For testing you need a PayPal application, at least one business account and one or more personal accounts. Later on when you go live you will need a real app and a real business account on PayPal to be able to receive the payments and create payouts. In your Developer Dashboard go to My Apps & Credentials. Pay attention to the switcher between Live and Sandbox. Sandbox/Live Switcher in PayPal Select Sandbox. You will find a Default Application already created there. Use this application for testing or create your own. Click on the application name to see credentials. Note your Client ID and Secret. You will be asked to enter these credentials in Invision Community later on. Choose My Account on the left side menu and scroll down to the section with permissions. You need to enable the permission for Subscriptions. PayPal Permission for Subscriptions Follow instructions on PayPal to enable it. Prepare Invision Community for sandbox Now we configure the sandbox in Invision Community that you are going to use test environment and test accounts. You need access to FTP to edit or create a file constants.php. Add the following line to it: \define('NEXUS_TEST_GATEWAYS', TRUE); From now Invision Community will use sandbox for PayPal payments. Do not forget to remove or uncomment the line later on. In your AdminCP go to Commerce -> Settings, choose the tab Payment Methods and click on Create New. Select PayPal in the list of Payment Methods and fill out the form. Enter PayPal sandbox credentials These are Client ID and Secret you have noted from the Default Application in the PayPal Developer Dashboard. Play with PayPal accounts Sandbox business account will receive the payments from personal accounts. Each time you test the payments use one or different personal accounts from the PayPal sandbox. Then log in with your sandbox business account to check the payments.
In the last guide, you have learned default ad locations in your Invision Community. You have read what ad sizes are recommended to use in different locations and for different devices. You have created some ads and have tested them as administrator. Now, it's time to figure out how you can sell them. There are some settings for duration and conditions you can define in AdminCP for each ad. Duration and conditions for the ads Theoretically you can sell duration, impressions and clicks. Practically you will offer only duration. Never sell impressions based on Invision Community stats! Invision Community counts page loads with the ad instead of real impressions of the ad. If you place your ad into location Just above the page footer, IPS count the impressions even if the user does not scroll down. So every time the page is rendered, one impression is recorded. Normally ad networks count only impressions for the ads visible on the user screen device. Nobody would like to pay for something that is loaded in background but never seen by the user. If you would like to sell impressions, you must use Google AdManager or another ad server platform. Sell clicks with caution! Selling clicks does not let you predict running time for the ads. It depends on the banner message, design, ad location, etc. whether the user will click on it. Remember, there is no click fraud protection in IPS. The only sane option is to sell duration. Define start and end date. Deliver stats of impressions and clicks for the ad after the campaign has finished, only if you understand how impressions and clicks are counted. Where to get stats for your community? Direct advertisers would like to know some metrics from your community like: monthly impressions monthly unique users geographical location of your audience average age and gender (male / female) of your users traffic sources These stats are not available in IPS itself. To get the metrics I strongly recommend to use web analytics platform like Google Analytics. You can even give your advertisers guest access to your Analytics account so they can pick the stats they need themselves. How to calculate banner prices? Unfortunately, there is no default answer to this question. The prices depend on what your community about, user activity, guests numbers, geography, audience, etc. There are two strategies you can run to answer this question individually. Let advertisers decide what they are ready to pay. Create a page (if you use Pages) or topic (if you use Forums) and describe what ad locations for what duration you offer. The advertisers can contact you by email and suggest a price depending on their budget. Find out what you earn in each location with AdSense. Integrate AdSense ads and gather stats on every individual ad location. Double your AdSense earnings and set them as a price for direct advertisers. Is AdBlock Blocker useful? There is a 3rd-party application called AdBlock Blocker. This app detects some browser plugins like AdBlock Plus, AdGuard, uBlock, Ghostery that block your community ads. It depends on your audience of how extensively they use AdBlock plugins. The best way to figure it out is to install the app and compare your earnings. AdBlock Blocker application The author of the application promises: It displays a message that disable all website features until user disables his AdBlocker. Because of different settings in the app, you can set up the message less aggressively. E.g. allow to dismiss the message, remember the selection, totally hide the content of the website, adjust the message size, place it in header or footer area and so on. The price of the app is pretty fair and you as of today there is no renewal fees. Buy once, use forever. No advertisements for power users They produce a lot of impressions and are a kind of "blind". They do not click. They worsen your CTR (click through rate) and are often annoyed. Displaying ads to them can have a negative impact on their community engagement. Identify your power users and automatically promote them to the Power User group using promoting members feature of IPS. E. g. your promotion rule can have following criteria: members with last visit in the last 30 days over 100 content items over 10 reputation points last posted within last 7 days joined over 60 days ago If all of them are true, move the member to Power User group and excluded it from in the ad settings. As side effect, it can even increase engagement in your community if you make this promotion public and promise ad-free experience for those who push your community.