December 15, 2015
I’ll be the first to say it, online publishers have a lot on their plate—they need to deliver quality content and build an audience all while focusing on the most important aspect, that is, actually making money. Unfortunately, readers unhappy with obstructive and annoying advertisements have annihilated most traditional content monetization strategies. With that in mind, I’ve outlined four innovative, non-intrusive tools that promise to kick any publication’s content monetization efforts into overdrive.
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest marketing trends, you know that interactive content is taking the digital marketing world by storm: there’s online quizzes, fact cards, polls, celebrity bios, calculators, and tons more options that marketers are using to engage and understand their audiences. But what about publishers? If publishers could capitalize on the high engagement rates that interactive content offers, and serve advertisements that are actually entertaining, enjoyable and useful, imagine just how much money publishers could rake in—I mean, Buzzfeed, the King of Interactive Content, made more than $100 million dollars in revenue in 2014!
That’s where Carambola comes in. It has an algorithm that is able to recognize the context of a publisher’s web page and place relevant, native interactive content advertisements accordingly. For example, if you’re skimming through an online parenting publication and reading an article about how to care for your newborn, you might see a Carambola powered quiz on the side titled, “Do You Have What It Takes To Become A Super Parent?” And knowing just how eager new parents are to prove themselves, there’s no doubt this advertisement wouldn’t perform well. (Of course, that’s the purpose of interactive content—to play on the visitor’s likes and wants). And each time a visitor engages an interactive unit, that’s money in the publisher’s pocket.
It’s been about a year since Google launched its alternative solution to those obnoxious paywalls—you know, those pop-ups that ask you to pay money to read an article? But now, about a year later, with hundreds of online publishers enjoying its benefits, it’s safe to say that Google Consumer Surveys just work, plain and simple. Basically, market research companies looking to gain consumer insight come up with online survey questions and pitch them to Google. If the questions are accepted, Google displays one of them on let’s say, AdWeek’s site, asking the visitor to answer it (something non-intrusive like, “when shopping for new clothing, what trait do you consider the most important?”) in order to gain access to AdWeek’s content. Once the visitor answers the question, he’s able to view the content, the market research company is charged $0.10, and AdWeek and Google each receive $0.05. Oh, and publishers can serve up to 10 questions, by the way (that means more money). Recently, publishers have learned that visitors are much more willing to give up non-intrusive consumer data than however much money in order to read a few articles. Ultimately, Google Consumer Surveys are a relatively easy way for publishers to monetize their content, and also a relatively cheap way for market researchers to learn about consumers.
It’s true, Outbrain has been around for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s successful—I’ll call it the “oldie but goodie” of the bunch. I’m sure you’ve seen on Facebook, for example, that once you click on something like “Chandler Bing’s 15 Best Jokes”, Facebook recommends you check out similar articles and videos about “Why HIMYM Will Never Replace Friends.” Well, Outbrain does pretty much exactly that. It’s a content discovery platform that offers online publishers a way to promote their content. But at the same time, Outbrain is a little bit more than that. It doesn’t just serve visitors additional content based on relevancy like Facebook does, but rather it recommends content that their algorithms have learned visitors will actually enjoy. Essentially, it serves articles based on engagement rates, not just click-through rates and similarity.
According to their business model, if visitors are engaged, they’re more likely remain on the site for longer periods of time, and there’s a higher chance that they’ll click on an advertisement—thus, generating increased ad revenue. Either the publisher is considered a “host site” and receives the recommendation engine for free, or the publisher is an “external site” and pays Outbrain to display their content on the host sites. Either way, publishers receive increased traffic and prolonged engagement, meaning the chances of generating increased ad revenue are higher.
Images are key to an engaging article—after all, they say that content with relevant images gets 94 precent more views than content without. In fact, whoever said don’t judge a book by its cover clearly wasn’t around in the Internet age, because I’m sure your eyes, like everyone else’s, are judging this article based on the images surrounding my text. It’s for this reason that GumGum, having recognized the potential of visual content, created an in-image advertising platform for publishers.
Basically, GumGum places advertisements along that first main image you see on editorial content. Because, like I mentioned earlier, your eyes go straight to this leading image the moment you open an article, GumGum is confident you’ll notice their advertisement, giving publishers the certainty that some of you (though hopefully most of you) will click on their advertisements (and of course, that means lots of money). What’s more, their platform’s algorithm is designed to display advertisements that also match the context of the image it overlays. It’s less intrusive because it doesn’t disrupt the editorial or obstruct the image, thereby providing visitors with a more enjoyable content experience.
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