Monopoly Money

One of the great things about InfoBarrel is their monthly contest. It allows IB’ers (the seemingly self-bestowed label given to all InfoBarrel writers) the chance to spend countless hours toiling over a keyboard at a small chance of winning a $100 Amazon gift card. I understand that $100 is $100, and I’d gladly spend it. But I’m just not so sure about spending an entire month killing myself (an admittedly slow writer) to win. Although I’m new to InfoBarrel, I feel that my sentiment towards the monthly contest is shared.

Luckily, InfoBarrel seems to use the term “contest” a bit loosely. The $100 gift card is actually not the only reason to participate. There is also the chance to increase your ad share on your articles. This is the only reason that I have recently made an effort to write consistently here.

InfoBarrel Monthly Contests

Before I tell you why you should participate in the monthly contest, it might be helpful for me to explain it a bit. The explanation on the site is a bit difficult to follow. Here it is in a nutshell:

The Contest: You write articles and submit them normally to the site. Each article is given a point value based on the amount of words:

500+ words: 1 point

800+ words: 2 points

1000+ words: 5 points

The sum of your points at the end of the month is your score in the contest. If you have the most, you win.

This is what I would consider the contest. Everything else is kind of confusing, because it really has nothing to do with the actual contest, even though it’s explained on the contest page.

Ad Share: The “contest” also allows you to earn more ad share by writing articles each month. If your point total (calculated the same as above) is over certain thresholds, our ads will show more often on your articles. The thresholds are:

20 points: Increase ad share by 5% for the next month

30 points: Increase ad share by 10% for the next month

Not only this, but you can earn an additional 5% of ad share by writing articles that on a topic that is specified by InfoBarrel each month for the contest. For example, this month (Aug ’11) is “Back To School”. Each article I write on the topic of “Back To School” earns me an additional 1% of ad share (up to the 5% maximum). This is where the real beauty of the contest lies. If you play your cards right, you’ll have a 90% ad share every month. (Note that you have to send InfoBarrel an article with the links of your themed articles before the end of the month. See the IB Monthly Contest page for more info.)

Writing for Ad Share

Let’s face it. Most of us are not going to dedicate the time to win one of the monthly contests. It’s nice to think that we would, but if you’re anything like me, you’d start off strong then die out. I know this is what I’d do, so I haven’t attempted it. However, writing for ad share is a great way to increase your monthly earnings.

Let’s do some math to see how this works out:

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Your estimated monthly earnings can be calculated by a very simple formula. We simply need to find our total monthly pageviews (how many people see our articles) and multiply that by our ad share (how many people see our ads). We’ll take that result and multiply it by out estimated Click-Through-Rate (how many people click on our ads). This is finally multiplied by how much we earn per click (CPC). IT might be a little easier to understand if I write it out:

Estimated Monthly Earnings = (Monthly Pageviews) x (Ad Share) x (CTR) x (CPC)

Now let’s plug in some numbers. Keep in mind that estimating earnings on InfoBarrel is difficult, so I’m just picking nice easy numbers.

Let’s assume all of your articles get 1000 pageviews per month. Let’s also assume that you have not written any articles to increase your ad share, so it sits at the default 75%. We’ll assume a Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of 1%. We’ll also estimate your CPC to be $0.50. (These numbers may be much higher in real life, or much lower.) Let’s plug these numbers into our formula:

Estimated Monthly Earnings = 1000 x 0.75 x 0.01 x 0.50

According to this formula, you’d have made $3.75 that month. Now let’s see what happens if you write enough articles to achieve a 90% ad share for the month. We’ll plug in the same numbers, just changing the ad share from 75% to 90%:

Estimated Monthly Earnings = 1000 x 0.90 x 0.01 x 0.50

This returns your monthly earnings as $4.50. That’s a 20% increase! In fact, no matter what your pageviews, CTR, or CPC, you’ll experience a 20% boost in revenue!

Disclaimer: Obviously this is an oversimplification of a very complex system. As with anything online, you’re mileage may vary.

How To Write For Increased Ad Share

So now you know how it works, and what the benefits are, but how do you plan on writing for increased ad share each month. It’s simple!

As we’ve already seen from the point system above, 1000+ word articles give you the most bang-for-your-buck (or time, in this case). With that in mind, we’ll focus our efforts on writing articles over 1000 words. It’s not very difficult to write longer articles if you’re writing about something that interests you, or you know well. So to increase your monthly earnings, all you have to do is:

Write 5 articles on the monthly contest topic

Write at least 1 or more additional articles on the topic of your choice

With only 6,000 words, you can increase your article presence and boost your earnings by 20%! You will have to keep track of your monthly ad share on your own since InfoBarrel does not have a feature to do it for you. This is pretty easy to do if you just keep track of your articles written each month in a spreadsheet and update it at the end of each month.

More Writing = More Money

This is going to be my strategy moving forward with InfoBarrel. I’m not going to try working my butt off for the monthly contests, but I will participate with the goal of increasing my ad share. Hopefully, I’ve provided a clear explanation of the process to you as well. If not, then feel free to ask questions!

If you haven't started writing for InfoBarrel yet, then go ahead and sign up! (It's free) Happy writing!