Sina Weibo launched another newsfeed ad product, called the “Window Recommendations”, partnering with Taobao last week. About 3 to 5 pieces of ads featuring Taobao goods would be pushed into users’ daily news flow. When any user posts content linked with Taobao’s product page, a detailed display of that product would be generated automatically.
Since late last year, Sina Weibo has tried to shift monetization focus from brand display ads to an in-stream advertising model. Earlier this year “Fensi Tong”, a sponsored-story timeline ad product, was launched. With the pricing models of CPM+CPE, Fensi Tong charges RMB 5 for per thousand impressions and also charge customers RMB 0.5 for per effective interaction. The tracked interaction includes forwarding, following of the link and the publisher, or saving the ads with a minimum bid at RMB 0.01 per action. Sina executive said that was ten times more efficient than the display ads.
As Sina had revealed, this cooperation with Taobao is based on the database of users’ social network and interest graphs. Through the ads contents filtering system, Sina Weibo is able to analyze the short links with its partners. Furthermore, based on the analysis of users’ e-commerce behavior data, the recommendations and pushes would be more accurate and effective. As to the revenue shares of traffic diversion to the e-comm partners, currently Sina has not revealed the numbers yet.
It is noted that among the top 10 short-link sharing data on Weibo of 2012, Taobao covered 8.2% of the total, and hit the first place in short-link click rates (Taobao for 7.6%, Tmall for 0.5%).
Sina Weibo’s whole input of 2012 added up to $1600 million, while the revenues was only $ 66million, according to its annual financial report. Of the total annual revenues, 77% came from advertising, which was over $ 50million. Value-added services like games and membership subscriptions contributed 23% of the whole revenues.