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Thinking Outside the Ad
By David Fortino
Why should it be accepted that the only way to generate revenue for your site is to bombard your audience with ads that your audience eventually ignores?
Feedfront Magazine, January 2009
Far too often, publishers have come to the conclusion that making money has to come at the cost of compromising user experience. The crafty publisher has realized this and embraced new forms of monetizing their traffic that their audience actually welcomes.
Free offers such as free magazines subscriptions, white papers, software trials, podcasts and webinars have proven to be an extremely lucrative way for publishers to not only generate an incremental revenue stream, but also reward their visitors for their continued support.
Tapping into human nature and the impulse of requesting something that is free has turned the traditional revenue generation model on its head for many publishers.
Gone are the days where you constantly have to rely on selling your audience something or sending them to a site that's only going to ask for their credit card shortly after visiting.
Think about it...giving your audience a free subscription to Oracle Magazine or sending them over to Amazon to buy a book on Oracle. What do you think would perform better?
The conversion rates on free products are statistically off the charts in comparison to traditional commerce/transactional based affiliate programs. While many publishers realize this to be the case, they struggle to find ways to monetize free content efficiently.
The onus shouldn't be on the publisher to figure this out. They should partner with companies who can help in a seamless manner and start collecting the cash. Something as simple as a subtle link inclusion in a post/article could drive substantial revenues if targeted correctly.
Audit the advertising opportunities on your sites and test alternatives, such as free offers, to optimize your site. If you're running campaigns that your audience isn't interested in, you're simply willingly wasting opportunities.
David Fortino is the Vice President of Audience Development at NetLine Corporation and RevResponse.com.