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Is Contextual Advertising Viable on a Blog?

There has been an increasing amount of debate recently over both the ethics and viability of blogging commercially. The focus of this post is not to enter into the question of ‘should bloggers add income streams to their blogs’ – rather I want to examine whether it is a financially viable alternative.

I know of many bloggers who have added contextual ads to their blogs expecting to make a fortune only to discover that it can be a lot harder than it looks – on the other hand I suspect there are a lot of bloggers out there who could actually make some reasonable money from their blogging without too many modifications if they just tried. Let me show you how….
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Price Rise Fuels Online Ad Increase

‘Online advertising grew 2.5 times as fast as overall U.S. advertising in the first three quarters of 2004, according to data released by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Online advertising in the U.S. totaled $5.59 billion for the first three quarters of this year, up 25.8 percent over the $4.45 billion measured over the same time period in 2003. That growth was well ahead of the year-over-year increase of 10.3 percent in overall U.S. ad spending to $102.47 billion from January through September, from the $92.90 billion spent in the same time period in 2003. The figures come amid other signs of stabilization within the online advertising market in recent weeks….’

Read more at Studies: Price Rise Fuels Online Ad Increase

Pay per Click Advertising Trading

A lot of Bloggers are earning good money as a result of being publishers of pay-per-click advertising but those that are making the most out of it are also bringing traffic to their blogs via the same method.

It sounds all wrong when you first think about it – why would anyone spend money on getting readers to their site in order to get them to click an ad to earn money? Wouldn’t it cost more to get readers than you’ll make from it?

Well it all depends how clever you are really. Let me explain a little…
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Affiliate News: Pay Per Lead/Click Program Reviews

Affiliate News has put together a very useful resource that reviews 9 Pay Per Lead/Click Programs

If you’re looking for ways to add an income stream to your blog using this type of approach this might be a good starting point.

Ad Placement – Where do Readers Look on a Blog?

WebProNews also has a good article on Ad Placement on websites:



‘Advertisement drives the revenue of the Internet industry. Learning about the science associated with successful ad campaigns can only benefit you and your site. With this in mind, a study performed by Eyetrack III attempted to determine which sections of a webpage the human eyes focus. Eyetrack accomplished this by creating mock pages containing text and advertisements. Test subjects then reviewed the documents while Eyetrack monitored where their eyes focused….

“Advertising placed on top and in the left column of the page was viewed most. Ads placed at the bottom of the page were viewed least.” On their first mock-up page, 68% saw/focused on ads that were positioned in the top left of the page; conversely, ads appearing at the bottom of the page were only viewed by 14% of the test subjects….

researchers found that ads that blended into surrounding editorial content on a news homepage attracted people’s eyes more often than ads that featured contrasting colors or designs.’

Read more at Ad Placement You’re Getting Warmer

Internet Advertising Comes of Age

‘Volatility may no longer be the watchword of online advertising, according to DoubleClick’s third quarter serving trend report.

“What’s most surprising is it’s no longer surprising,” said Kathryn Koegel, DoubleClick’s director of research and industrial development, who chaired the survey. “With such a new medium, we have often grown accustomed to big changes quarter to quarter. Now we’re seeing signs that things are stabilizing. Online marketing is now reaching a kind of maturity.”

As a case in point, Koegel referred to rich media holding steady at 43 percent of total ads served for the third quarter, a level it has consistently held for most of 2004.

Click rates, too, remained stable for rich media and non-rich media alike. Rich media ads have stabilized at 1.17 percent, a full five times the rate for non-rich media ads. Overall, the average click rate was 0.62 percent for the third quarter, an uptick of 11 percent from the second quarter.’



Read more at After Years of Turbulence, Internet Advertising Comes of Age?

Fastclick Reviewed – Advertising suitable for high traffic Blogs



Fastclick
is a revenue stream that will be suitable for some highly trafficked blogs. We trailed it recently on our Olympics blog and found that with the levels of traffic that we generated at the height of the games that it out performed all other revenue streams on the site including Google.

They offer a range of ads – mainly paying on a per impression basis. Pay outs depend on the ad size, style and content but are generally very very small. As a result a blog with only a small amount of visitors would probably find it more hassle than its worth to register and run with.
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TypePad Blogs to get Contextual Advertising

Kanoodle and Six Apart (makers of Typepad and Moveable Type blogging systems) are partnering together to offer Typepad bloggers the opportunity to run contextual ads to their site – and thereby add a revenue stream to their blogs. This is similar to what Blogger blogs can do with Adsense – however it seems that this new system will be a little more seamless and integrated into the Typepad blogs. It will be interesting to see how many TypePad bloggers utilise the system due to go live in the first quarter of next year. For more information see the following press relase.

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Ad Networks for your Blog

I was just reading a thread over at SitePoint Forums on where someone ask which is the Best Ad Network?

Someone answered with this list which I found really helpful. I’ve filled in the links of some of those mentioned.

Tier 1: Tribal Fusion, Fast Click, Burst, 24/7 Real Media
Tier 2: Casale, RealTechNetwork, Max Online, RightMedia, Rydium

Tier 3: BUDS, JoeTec, RealCastMedia, GorillaNation, ValueClick

Tier 4: FocusIN, EzzPublishers, BannerSpace, ClickXchange, Adtegrity, BraveNet, Undertone Network

Tier 5: ValueAd, CompactBanner, Adinfinity (same company), ClixGalore

They write in explaining the list – ‘based on rates, difficulty of becoming accepted, and quality of advertisements. Tiers 1 – 3 are, overall, good ad networks. Anything below three either means their ad quality, ease of entrance into their network, or questionable business in the past is in question.’



What ad providers have you tried? What additions or changes would you add to the above list?