Being a publisher isn't easy. You want to make money but also keep your audience interested and engaged. Finding that perfect balance between regular content and ad content is challenging and yet it should be a priority when formulating an ad-based revenue strategy.
You can’t live off content alone but then again, no one makes money from pumping ads all over the place. To maintain reader engagement, choosing the best of both worlds is critical.
In fact, choosing which ads to display is one of the most important responsibilities a publisher can have, if not the most important.
Here are 3 tips we find invaluable to delivering the right kind of ad content while keeping everybody as happy as a clam at high water.
1. Avoid ad blocking with the right channel
According to PageFair’s 2020 Adblock report, there were 765 million devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of 2019. It’s safe to say AdBlock usage (and similar software) is now mainstream across all ages. Essentially, this small, free browser plug-in can render entire audiences virtually invisible and out of reach.
Basically, it’s like a remote control for ads with a distinct ‘Off’ button. Each year, ad blocker usage is on the rise and as a result, publishers’ revenue goals are under severe pressure because advertisers audience reach is almost down to a zero in some cases. The same report showcases the failure of ad block walls, the most popular method of how publishers are tackling the issue of ad blocking, where 74% of surveyed users said they simply left rather than disabling their ad block (as required to view the content).
One great solution to ad blocking problems is dynamic email advertising with its highly targeted and dynamically delivered ads. Email subscribers are the ones who actually willingly signed up to receive your emails, so they are more invested and targeted. They perceive the content in their inbox as more trustworthy, which is why they might be more accepting to embedded ads.
Email-embedded ads also tend to be discreet (more on that in a minute...), and look natural within an email message.
2. Choose the best ad format(s)
The role of ad format in your advertising campaigns will always be an important one. You don’t want any limitations that can hamper your overall ad performance. For that reason alone, it’s important to consider which ad types work the best. That’s mostly a trial-and-error process on your part but there are some guidelines that show the most profitable ad formats from the publisher's point of view so you don’t start from scratch.
For instance, Internet users view native ads 53% more than banner ads. Add to the fact that 70 percent of consumers say they’d rather learn about products through content than traditional advertising and you get a feeling people are almost asking for native advertising without even knowing it.
Image credit: Sharethrough
In a way, that’s completely true: native advertising is everywhere these days, and it's getting harder and harder to spot. It’s even been scientifically proven that there’s more positive support for matching the ad format with that of the surrounding context in terms of the audience's perceptions of advertiser’s presence.
These advertising formats have one common theme: they are consistent with every aspect of the platform they appear on (form, style, voice, etc.). That seamless integration is what makes it so effective: native ads are consumed the same way as editorial content, with even social media embracing it with open arms. It’s just that good.
3. Pick the right ad solution for your emails
In the end, it all comes down to the right vehicle for the journey. You can’t go driving through the desert in a sports coupe: you need a jeep or one of those desert patrol vehicles. The same is true with ad content: monetizing it effectively means more than just placing an ad or two and running them.
You need advanced control over every aspect of the advertising campaign: from ad inventory to placement and everything in between, every detail must be managed, checked, and continually tested and optimized for performance.
In order to be successful, each and every publisher needs tools to make the best out of creative delivery across multiple devices. Now imagine this all within an email campaign and with far less hassle.
With the right ad solution, you can augment the existing digital marketing program with direct-sold ads placed in email newsletters and online advertising campaigns. By integrating both online and email campaigns, publishers get the necessary technology for connecting to multiple advertisers at one place and monetizing across channels at peak efficiency.
More importantly, it makes sure impressions are sold to the right users. They are engaged with contextually targeted and personalized content rich with multimedia experiences. Besides numerous targeting options, there are usually built-in metrics that make sure you have out-and-out visibility into ad performance (typically based strictly on cost per click with no circulation-based pricing and higher revenue than flat-rate.
In essence, what you’re looking for is a network that marries publishers with advertisers and takes care of your need for an ad inventory by filling out the spots. When finding the equilibrium of delivering the right ad content, it’s important to have the right advertisers that will be able to serve ads that resonate with your readers.
A reliable monetization company can ensure that your users are served with the right ads while giving publishers the option to refuse ads featuring content they don’t want or potential insertions by competitors (the best ones manually review for every ad that goes into the system so nothing can slip between the cracks).
Content matters and drives value, but so do the ads — and in pretty much the same way, too. Even the success of highly-coveted native advertising heavily depends on the ability to target a specific audience and tailor the content accordingly.
To take full advantage of this, start questioning if the advertising content you choose provides value in the same way that your regular content does. Using content as a growth tool can help create a broader narrative. If there’s anything users are more likely to engage with, its content that’s relevant to them at any given moment.
Final words about ad content
Delivering relevant content is key to keeping readers interested. It cannot be stressed enough: choosing which ads to display is one of the most important responsibilities you as a publisher can have.
Looking at it from a different perspective: the higher your content value, the less your readers will mind having that advertising content there. This entails delivering the ads through a trusted and effective channel that bypasses ad blocking, presenting it in the right format, and making sure you have the right tool at your disposal to take care of every ad-related detail down to the advertisers themselves.
Your monetization strategy should be a perfect mix of payout and user experience, and delivering the right ad content is at the heart of what keeps readers fully engaged.