Categorized | Exit Exchanges

Promotions: Marketing and Sales 8.9. Exit Exchanges

An exit exchange works pretty much the same way as a banner exchange―in this case, however, what you’re trading are pop-unders or exits. A pop-under is a pop-up with manners. Standard pop-ups load in front the page the user is really interested in; pop-unders very courteously load beneath the page. So the user is not interrupted and may not even know the pop-under is there until the top browser window is closed. Miss Manners would be proud.

But sometimes pop-unders can be more powerful and intrusive. Rather than a dinky little ad, a pop-under could come dressed as a full Web page. Pop-unders can also be coded to load only when the user closes the generating window. Pop-unders that exploit these more powerful features are more properly called exits. If you attach your site as an exit to another site, this is what happens: a user goes to the other site and moseys around a bit. Unbeknownst the user, your site has also loaded in a window below. When the user closes the top browser window, shazam!, they’re staring at your site. For this reason, exits are not measured in impressions or clicks, but visitors. There’s nothing for the user to click―they are right there on your site like any other visitor.

Like banner exchanges, exit exchanges typically operate on a 2 to 1 exchange. For every two exits that users download from your site, you’re allowed one exit on another exchange member’s site. The exit exchanges make their money by selling that extra exit impression.

Exits are very tricky marketing tools. Users in general don’t like their computers hijacked this blatantly and find exits aggravating. However, exits can work phenomenally well on a narrow range of products, topics, and customers.

You should proceed cautiously with exits. Context is vitally important for exit advertising―far more important, in fact, than for any other format. You are, as an advertiser, temporarily taking over somebody else’s computer, so you should be certain that your site is a close match to the generating site.

You should never specify as an exit page any page which has another exit attached to it. This traps the user in an endless series of exits, a complete waste of everybody’s time and money. Only deal with exit exchanges that load one exit per visitor per Web site. If you sign up with an exchange that throws users into endless hamster wheels, you will indeed get tons of “visitors” to your site. Thing is, all these visitors will be “visiting” for fractions of a second as they furiously try to close the endlessly generating Web sites.

You should always buy before you try. Exit adservers, networks, and exchanges like to differentiate themselves from other Web advertising by claiming that they produce “visitors” rather than “impressions.” Technically, this is true, but the quality of the “visits” can be pretty low. You need to analyze the conversions―sales, contacts, leads, or registrations―that an exit campaign or exchange is generating.

How many exits should you buy to figure out if an exchange is worth joining? A 2:1 exchange will increase your site traffic by 50% (yeah, it works, trust me). So if your site is generating 5,000 visitors per month, an exit exchange will add 2,500 visitors to that base bringing your total monthly visitors to 7,500. So you should purchase 2,500 exits and measure the bounce in your site’s leads, contacts, or sales. Total cost of buying before trying: about $40 to $70 per exchange.

One final note about these folks. The exit exchanges we list below are highly reputable and respected in the advertising industry. They are straightforward exchanges. Some less reputable exit exchanges, however, also allow you to earn exits by setting your browser home page to their service. Every time you open your browser, a member Web site loads into the page. Each time that happens, you earn extra exits. Convince your friends and relatives to set their home pages to the same exit exchange, you earn even more exits. And so on and so on. These services are simple pyramid schemes. They produce dramatic upticks in your visitor count, but the numbers don’t mean anything. If an exit exchange offers a “home page scheme,” don’t let the door hit you as you run out.

8.9.1. Exit Exchange

These folks invented exit exchanges and remain the most reputable exit exchange network in a sea of sharks. They also own many of the patents on the underlying technology and license these to other companies. Most importantly, Exit Exchange offers the broadest set of site categories (308) and largest network of sites (100,000) to help you precisely target your site’s exits. Exit Exchange offers a 2:1 exchange ratio (50%) in addition to a paid exit pricing model. Again, buy before you try. You can purchase 1,200 exits for $19 and 10,000 for $119, some of the lowest prices in the industry.

Most significantly, Exit Exchange offers a streaming media alternative that works just like an exit. When a user opens up a page on a member site, your video or animation loads in the background. When the user closes the browser window, the video is loaded and ready to play.

Exit Exchange also offers popunder ad creation and design as well as virtual adserver services (see section 8.11). Unlike many virtual adservers which typically require you to sign on for six months to a year, you can purchase virtual adserver services for a limited time to run a single campaign.

8.9.2. w3exit

w3exit is an exit, banner, and button exchange service with a 2:1 exchange rate (50%). You choose the type of exchange you wish to participate in―exits, text ads, banners, or buttons. Like a banner exchange, w3exit requires that you know enough about coding to insert a line of code into your home page to access the exchange.

The financial model works exactly the same as a banner exchange. Half the ads served are paid ads. Because of this, you should buy before you try. You can easily specify a certain number of exits to occur over a month―say 1,000―and then measure the effectiveness of the service in producing conversions from those visits.

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