Ways to monetize your site content and images, without pissing off your users

… and other impossible missions in online business.

Effective ways to monetize without intrusive banner Ads

Site and app monetization is a serious problem for entire industries. Here’s a few tips to start.

Other than traditional display advertising, what can we do as publishers to make money from content wisely? Should we be treating it in the way we have done so until now, with regular display advertising? Here’s a few concepts which are changing that, and making ad-technology more engaging to users. Some of this is new, some of it isn’t.

  1. Content recommendation

Content recommendation is what you see when you usually browse the bottom of news sites and meme blogs — “recommended from around the web”. The added value here is that what your users will see is probably real content based on the context of the page, which means more relevant hits. The downside is that you will have to do some mild compliance to ensure you don’t get pushy ads disguised as content.

Advantages: Added income, does not interfere with banner revenue, or so they claim. Added value to site in the form of content exploration. Real user value. High eCPMs — competitive with your banner revenue model if you have some.

2. Rich media

Rich media comes in many forms. In a way, it’s the old and less evolved cousin of Native (see below). Rich media is interesting for both mobile and desktop since new concepts are being tested there and it revolved around finding custom display concepts as opposed to regular banners, which take a fixed part of real estate on the site.

Advantages: Added income, but it might interfere with banner revenue, what is called in the industry ‘cannibalism’. High eCPMs — competitive with your banner revenue model if you have some. Customizable forms and a great way to get very creative with advertizers.

3. Native Advertising

Native advertising is an umbrella concept for advertised content, wrapped in regular site or app interface design. It can come in many forms, from an entirely promoted section of a site (much like what is commonplace in sites like Buzzfeed, or parts of a site, like you see on several other examples below). Two notes to mention here: you will have to work hard to implement a good design, but if you have a content site with a working UX, it’s likely to pay off and conversion will be rewardingly high.

Advantages: Highly customizable and very engaging, but it will probably compete with your regular banner revenue.

4. Paywalls

You know what, we’re not gonna bother talking about that. Unless you’re the New York Times it’s probably a non-starter. And while certain news sites have had some luck with this concept, it remains a contested issue within these companies to this day. Safe to say, works on a very small percentage of your users, but fosters amazing loyalty. Even successful blogs that do operate based on paywalls or subscriptions, have to invest heavily in monetizing their free content.

5. Commerce

E-Commerce is not a new trend at all. In fact, books selling pioneered internet commerce before advertising made digital dollars (queue eye brows, begin comment discussions). Many site with content often find great ways to both enhance their brand, or extend their community interest with recommended affiliation of products (much like Cnet or other tech sites do when they recommend product to you). They then get a cut of purchases, and are often transparent enough to mention this in their articles. Some don’t, and are called out for it often.

Other sites choose to go direct to consumer and create their own products and curated stores featuring gadgets, fashion accessories and cool art. There are great examples out there.

But how do you do that? mostly by finding good suppliers and building a store with popular services like Shopify, Woo, or more enterprise solutions.

Pixter.me offers this solution with a one click experience, to publisher with little to no knowledge in the world of commerce, who want to get a start on their enterprise. Consider this article of ours as a friendly introduction to the idea of dropshipping.

Remember, never alienate your visitors, and your growing community. Even if you’re short on cash, you never want to lose your fans. They are, at the end, the reason you matter as a business.

Stay classy.

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