Results of our ad buy on Daring Fireball and The Deck

Dec 20

Premium ad networks sell the idea of ‘cost per influence’ – that buying space on their network gives you access to influencers who may otherwise not see your work.

We launched our first iOS app this November. Being new to this space we had a problem: although our stock market app Tapfolio was designed by some amazingly talented people and brought something truly unique to the category, we did not have the connections or the influence to get it noticed at launch. We needed to reach tech influencers and well-connected early adopters with an ignition-style campaign.
It’s tantalizing to imagine a thousand-dollar click – reaching a journalist who wants to talk about your app, or a Twitter-maven with tens of thousands of followers – that makes the whole ad buy worthwhile.

Here’s a breakdown of the traffic we received from premium ad buys on The Deck and Daring Fireball.

When looking at our click levels, keep in mind that our product is only for users with iPads and an interest in stocks and finance, and our ads make that very clear; if we had promoted a more generally-applicable product, we probably would have had even more clicks.

The Deck

The Deck’s rate card is $USD 8,300.00 / mo. This gives you one of 33 monthly ad slots, with only one The Deck ad shown per publisher page. According to their home page, they serve over 100,000,000 impressions per month, so your ad buy should get you at least 3,000,000 impressions (for a maximum CPM of $2.77).

We bought a one-month run on The Deck for November 2011.

This campaign drove 3,637 clicks to our site, which means an average cost-per-click of $2.28 and a click-through rate of at most 0.12%.

The ads received more clicks per day at the start of the month, which could be due to The Deck’s audience getting blind to our banners, but without data on impression levels and distribution to calculate a per-day click-through rate, we can’t be sure.

If you’re interested, the banners we rotated in this campaign are here (as numbered in GA graph above):


Daring Fireball

On Daring Fireball’s sponsorship page, the price for a one-week sponsorship is $USD 6,500.00. This gets you an entry (written by the sponsor) in to the DF RSS feed at the start of your sponsored week, and a thank-you to the sponsor in the Linked List at the end of the week.

We sponsored Daring Fireball for the week starting November 7, 2011 with the following ad text:

Tapfolio is animated and interactive, not your typical stock market app. A true native iOS experience, its graphs allow you to neatly swipe, pinch and zoom through your portfolio and markets.

Build your portfolio in mere seconds. Visualize your cost basis and gains/losses instantly with real-time overlays. Designed for interactivity, Tapfolio lets you manipulate graphs directly – no artificial 5-day or 3-month time windows. Compare up to five stocks over any arbitrary period with a tap, or follow indices and gold price with another tap.

Tapfolio is a new breed of stock market app, and only for iPad.

This campaign drove 4,870 clicks to our site, for an average cost-per-click of $1.34. You’ll notice two prominent spikes during the week – one at the beginning when the RSS mention goes out and one at the end when the blog is updated with the thank-you to the sponsor.


The ad buys spurred tweets from all corners of the world, and started conversations with well-connected people who would have taken months to reach organically. Even though these are premium, hyper-targeted publishers, the cost-per-click is in the same neighborhood of our performance advertising campaigns. On The Deck, the CPM is extremely low – they’re not exaggerating when they say “the CPM for a buy here would be priced well below industry norms”.

There is some overlap between the two ad buys, since Daring Fireball is also part of The Deck so you will show up on DF without directly sponsoring Gruber’s site. We definitely received more feedback from DF’s audience after our direct sponsorship started so our money was well spent.


While our product was not a perfect fit for this demographic, Tapfolio still intrigued their readers due to our unique angle of bringing gaming technology to ‘boring’ finance apps. A more traditional finance app would likely get much less traction. For an easy way to see if your product (or service) would work I recommend looking through their existing advertisers for any overlaps or complements to what you do, and seeing if they are a repeat advertiser.

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