HiPenpal.com is an international penpal website that facilitates the exchange of messages between people from different countries across all ages. Since its inception in 2006, HiPenpal.com, a Korea based company, has grown its membership base to 180,000 and has gained popularity in the United States and Japan.

Today, we’re going to highlight HiPenpal.com’s mobile journey, which has resulted in more than 50% of their total AdSense revenue coming from their mobile site.



You’ve been a publisher with AdSense since 2006. How did you find out about AdSense and what has your experience been to date?

I got to know about AdSense when I was web-surfing through foreign websites. At that time, I managed various websites but because I did not have an ad sales team, I had a hard time with ad orders. However, with the help of AdSense, I no longer had to worry about this. I didn’t have to manage orders and still received good quality ads through AdSense which allowed me to focus on content management. The biggest advantage with AdSense, is that the ads are highly relevant to users, which has resulted in high user engagement and high earnings. All of my businesses depend on Google AdSense for revenue.  I’m very satisfied with the service and revenue that AdSense has been able to provide because it has replaced the need for an expensive sales force.

When did you first build your mobile site and how has this affected traffic and user satisfaction for HiPenpal.com?

In the 2008, I revamped HiPenpal.com and created a mobile site along with it. At that time, since most users had feature phones, the site was not actively used. However, since 2009, with the spread of smartphones, the usage of the mobile site has been steadily increasing. Currently, 40% of our total traffic is accessing our mobile site and the users are extremely satisfied with it.

What things did you consider when building the mobile site and what type of investment was needed to make this happen?

In the 2008, I didn’t know much about mobile web development, so building the initial site took about six months. I wanted to make sure that the site displayed perfectly across all mobile phones and browsers, so I focused heavily on the structure of the site. There are cases when your site displays perfectly on one type of mobile device, but is distorted on another. In order to prevent this, I used a mobile web emulator or browser plug-in to perform quality checks during the development of the mobile site. Before launch, I checked the mobile site on the actual mobile devices. I invested in several devices with different operating systems in order to perform bug fixes and improve quality.

Additionally, I tried to simplify the navigational tree structure, so that people could easily access the desired pages with a simple operation. Most importantly, I was able to attract more mobile traffic by adding mobile-specific content.

How did users respond to ads on your mobile site?

We implemented mobile ads in 2008 and then upgraded to the smartphone-specific ad unit in 2009, when it was first launched. The 300x250 medium rectangle is positioned towards the bottom of the page, so that it will not distract from content engagement. On the other hand, the 320x50 mobile banner is posted on the top of the page, so that it would attract more attention.

Because smartphone ad units are now integrated with general AdSense for content (AFC), AdSense implementation has become more convenient.

We have not received any feedback about the mobile ads on the site, which I’m guessing means that users are not being inconvenienced by this implementation. Our users are very vocal when they find that the ads are distracting to the use of the site.

How does mobile revenue compare to your overall monetization?

Mobile revenue is increasing proportionally to the growth of mobile users. Currently, 40% of of total traffic (over 50% including tablet impressions) is coming from smartphones and resulting in over 50% of total revenue.

The 300x250 medium rectangle is generating the majority of revenue today, due to its high user engagement. Initially, I hesitated in implementing this ad unit, due to its large size, but now highly recommend it to other publishers. Since December 2009, the monthly revenue has increased about 100 times.

What advice do you have for publishers who have concerns about implementing mobile ads?

I believe that publishers who have concerns about mobile ads are actually hesitating about managing a mobile web site. However, mobile is a technology that cannot be ignored, more and more users are accessing the Internet through mobile devices instead of the PC. In my opinion, ignoring mobile is the same as ignoring half of the users. Furthermore, ignoring mobile web ads is the same as throwing out half of your revenue. If you don’t want to miss out on half of your revenue opportunity, do not hesitate. I encourage you to start from today.


Posted by Junho Jung, Publisher Relations Specialist