March was an insane month for MissBiziBee. Kaitlin had near record gross revenue, record net revenue, and crazy demand after a huge Facebook fan page shared one of her Etsy items with their audience.
It definitely caught Kaitlin off guard, but she powered through it and managed to maintain her sanity. Let’s dive into the details!
The quick stats:
Traffic: 13,724 unique visitors; +3.4% m/m
Gross Revenue: $6,894.04; +11.4% m/m
Net Revenue: $5,007.65; +10.9% m/m
The Chart Porn:
As you can clearly see from the first chart, the slower holiday season is in the rear view mirror. Things have ramped up for Kaitlin and she continues to put in some really solid months. Blog traffic also ticked slightly higher this month.
Miss Bizi Bee Traffic Breakdown
March traffic was a bit higher than February overall. But if we’re being completely fair Kaitlin did have the benefit of two extra days. If that was accounted for there really wouldn’t be an increase in traffic. But I always tend to just look at the full month compared to the last.
Here’s a look at the different traffic channels compared to February:
Organic traffic is still top dog and had a slight increase over last month. But the big driver was direct traffic where Kaitlin saw a nearly 38% increase over last month. It’s great to see that people are coming directly to MissBiziBee. This means Kaitlin is creating content that people find valuable enough to come back for.
Unfortunately, social traffic tanked 28% in March. I honestly don’t know enough about the ebbs and flows of social traffic to understand why this would happen. But I get the feeling that it’s largely unpredictable. Since most of Kaitlin’s social traffic comes via Pinterest, I’d just assume fewer people are pinning her stuff. But maybe that’s too simple minded.
As always, referral traffic is really too small to sway the numbers in either direction.
The good news is that traffic is at least steady, but I’d really like to see it growing more. As we all know, more traffic means more revenue!
Miss Bizi Bee Revenue Breakdown
A huge chunk of Kaitlin’s revenue came in an avalanche of orders in just one day. It took us both a while to figure out where the demand was coming from, but Kaitlin was able to find a link on Alternative Disney’s Facebook page that pointed their fans to one of the shirts in her Etsy shop. More on that craziness in a bit.
Of the $6,894.04 in revenue here’s how it broke out by channel: Etsy (93.22%), Amazon affiliate links (6.28%), Amazon Ads (0.16%), AdSense (0.16%); Digital Revenue (0.14%) Commission Junction (0.03%):
As always, Etsy was the biggest revenue driver in March. But it was pretty hectic. Check out this graph of Kaitlin’s shop views:
The power of social influencers! Now check out this graph of Kaitlin’s revenue during the month:
Kaitlin started throttling Etsy on and off during the first part of the month in an effort to have more time for herself. But that plan went right out the window on March 14th when she received nearly $2,000 in orders.
She had to turn her shop off just so she could ensure she delivered her products on time. When she turned it back on from March 18-19th there was still pent up demand. It took her to almost the end of the month to get back to any kind of normalcy.
I’m re-titling this section of the report because we have a few new additions to Kaitlin’s revenue streams. Instead of just talking (mostly) about Amazon affiliate income, I’m going to group all of these guys into “blog revenue” and take them piece by piece.
In the middle of the month I started tinkering with Kaitlin’s blog. I did three things: added Google AdSense, began experimenting with Amazon CPM ads, and tested some potential Amazon affiliate link optimization.
Amazon Affiliate Links
Let’s start with the biggest blog revenue driver first. Amazon affiliate links put up their second best month ever with a total of $421.22 in earnings.
Looking at earnings compared to blog traffic, MissBiziBee actually earned $30.69 for every 1,000 unique visitors:
This could just be random, or it could be due to some slight optimization I did on Kaitlin’s most popular post, her guide for rustic wedding ideas. All I did was take some boring text links and turn them into nice looking image links. Take a look at this screenshot:
But before I made this change I did something pretty important. I created a separate Tracking ID in Amazon to isolate clicks from these affiliate links from all other links. Here’s what happened during the month:
The line to look at here is the “rustic-wed-burlap-imgs-20”. It doesn’t look that impressive until you start comparing it to the other two lines.
For example, the new image ads had 48 orders from 151 clicks or 0.32 orders per click.
The tracking ID that Kaitlin uses for almost everything (I have no idea what that first one is) received 0.094 orders per click.
That’s a difference of 3.4x or 240%!
Now, this isn’t the most scientific a/b test. These certain products could simply be more popular than most products Kaitlin links to. There are probably several other variables not being considered.
But… it’s interesting, right?
And when we consider Kaitlin’s RPM (graph above) was $30.69 this month, higher than it’s been since October, it makes you wonder… was this bump due to this optimization?
It’s certainly possible. And if it seems like it is, it would be pretty valuable to go through Kaitlin’s most popular posts and optimize her links in all of them. My plan is to keep observing these links for at least another month before taking on that task.
On March 12th I setup AdSense on MissBiziBee. It was something we’ve talked about testing for a long time, but hadn’t had the time to do it. I finally sat down and tinkered enough to get things up and running.
My efforts earned Kaitlin a whopping $10.93…
Yeah, not exactly making bank via display ads. Sadly, I don’t think this is going to get much better. There will most likely be a bump in next month’s earnings simply because the ads will run for the full month. But I’m not ever expecting AdSense to be a big revenue contributor.
Amazon CPM Ads
On May 16th I started testing Amazon CPM Ads against Google Adsense.
My efforts here earned Kaitlin another massive payday: $10.98.
The savvy reader will notice that Amazon CPM ads earned more for Kaitlin than Adsense while being live for a shorter period of time.
I noticed the better earning power with Amazon too, so I’m doing some a/b testing on positioning to double check which earns more. I’ll review the data hopefully at the end of April and see where we should be focusing our efforts. But my gut says it’s Amazon.
The nice thing is you can actually run both Amazon and AdSense on the same page. There are some things to consider when doing this, so I’m not sure if we will right away. But it’s definitely an option.
In short, if you’re hoping to start a blog and monetize it with display advertising think again. It’s not going to earn you much unless you have massive amounts of traffic.
But hey, something is better than nothing right?
Miss Bizi Bee Expenses Breakdown
Once again Kaitlin’s expenses fell in line with expectations. This month her expenses represented 27.36% of her revenue, a tad higher than February:
We’re still not to the point where blog revenue is pushing this ratio lower. But that’s the overall goal.
Looking Toward April
I had been encouraging Kaitlin to pull away from Etsy a bit. Afterall, she’s now more than six months pregnant, we have a puppy that requires a ton of attention, and she’s a bit burnt out simply handling customer requests, questions, etc.
But Kaitlin insists on continuing to push pretty hard. And to be honest, the extra income is a huge help for us right now.
But hopefully there’s no craziness with a flood of orders and Kaitlin can keep a sane pace throughout the month. It was pretty overwhelming for her to have more than 50 orders in here queue!
Beyond that, Kaitlin will be focusing on posting new content to the blog and just plugging along on that front.