Wikia has grown its traffic 42 percent year over year and now boasts 47.6 million global unique visitors per month, according to recent comScore numbers. As its audience has ramped up, the collaborative publishing platform is trying hard to appeal to a broader swath of advertisers. And there are signs it’s succeeding.
Founded in 2006, Wikia hosts 339,300 enthusiast “sites” about a range of topics, including TV shows, movies, and especially video games. The content is hosted on Wikia.com subdomains, such as gearsofwar.wikia.com and zelda.wikia.com, allowing the company to monetize them through direct sales and ad networks.
Best known for gaming content (51 percent of traffic growth has accrued to game-related sites), Wikia’s advertising base reflects that association, with Sega, Nintendo, and other game publishers among its regular ad buyers. The company claims to have more than doubled the number of advertisers in February 2012 versus February 2011, but won’t disclose actual numbers.
Wikia’s first custom ad was for Microsoft and Halo in August 2009. Custom ads can be created by the advertiser or co-authored with the Wikia community and Wikia staff. With features like polls, video and social sharing buttons, Wikia claims they achieve click-through rates two to four times higher than standard IAB ad inventory.
Sega used Wikia to promote Shinobi, a video game series that was returning with a new release after a long hiatus. Sega launched a custom editorial on the Sega wiki and ran an interactive widget that housed a voting and sweeps unit.
By targeting specific competitive titles and the Sega and Nintendo fan base, the voting widget received almost 90,000 votes and the pushdown video units received over 1.1 million views. What’s more, the banner on its editorial recap article received an almost 1.3 percent CTR. Sega also targeted pages of similar titles with page takeovers, pushdown video units, site entry takeovers and targeted flash/rich media banners.
Stephanie Hong, senior media planner for digital agency Mediasmith, said, “It’s not about just going after gamers, it’s about going after a community that is engulfed in their gaming storylines and [that] will express likes and dislikes of these titles to their peers.”
Sony Pictures has also used a variety of formats to advertise its films on Wikia. For the movie “Anonymous,” it used the site to stir the debate about whether Shakespeare was a fraud, says Yvonne Ip, associate media director at media-marketing consulting firm Universal McCann. Sony received close to 1 million video completes and rich media interactions as a result.