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Paid Advertising for

Online Communities:

Is it worth it?

Have you considered paid advertising options for online communities that you run?

It’s safe to say that most online communities are not making a lot of money. Paid advertising has always been one of those things you don’t want to do unless you’re making more money than you pay. However, sometimes it’s a necessary step to choose paid advertising for online communities just to get them going. But is it worth it?

In this article, I’m going to explain how it could be worth it and what type of paid advertising is going to be best for your community.


Paid Advertising for Online Communities: Google Ads

Through my experiments with paid ads on Google specifically to online communities, I’ve found that ads definitely get me clicks.

I have found that there aren’t a lot of competing ads applied to keywords with the word “forum” in them. However, that isn’t always a good thing. You might think that it’s less competitive that way and that you have a better chance. The problem is not a lot of people seem to be searching for those terms and that is likely why you don’t see that many ads under those keywords.

I actually found that targeting highly competitive words having to do with the niche showed better results than including key phrases with the word “forum” within them.


Paid Advertising for Online Communities: Social Media Ads

A lot of people put a lot of praise into social media ads like that of Facebook and Instagram and they do work but not so much for forums.

In my experience, social media ads tend to work the best for internal advertised content. This would be like your social page or a group you have on the social media platform. I still get the vibe that they are ranking my paid external link lower than native linked promotions even if they claim they aren’t. Every time I have promoted a native-content post, it has done well but every time I’ve promoted external content, it has never done well.

I think advertising on social media is a waste unless you’re advertising your page on that social media channel.


Paid Advertising for Online Communities: Forum Ad Space

In all honestly, I think message forums that sell ads are the best place for you to advertise your forum.

Find a message forum that is either directly related to your niche or is closely related to your niche. If they offer ad space, purchase it but if they don’t, contact the admin and ask if you could buy ad space. This targets people who are already using forums and will likely join your forum quicker than someone who is not using a forum. And you get to help a fellow forum owner out in the process which only helps forums overall in general.

I honestly think this could be the best way for a forum to promote their community and gain new members from the promotion.


And there you have it, my take on paid advertising for online communities. I don’t think you should be discouraged to do it, but the information above should definitely help you make the best choice about what type to go through. In the end, paid ads are all about experimenting. Experiment and find your sweet spot. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with someone who would enjoy it.





Founder, Forum Tips Blog

Howdy! My name is Shawn and I founded ForumTips.Blog! I created this blog to share my 20+ years of message forum knowledge with other community administrators and moderators. Learn about useful topics here such as managing, marketing, profiting, and sustaining your message forum community!