Game of Ads

As a content creator, you most likely have a love/hate relationship with advertisements.  The revenue they generate allow you to keep creating, but there is no doubt about it, they compromise your audience’s experience.

Ironically, ads are content, too.  Some of them are extremely well done, enjoyable, and informative too.  I’ve personally discovered some of my most favourite products and services via simple online advertising.   But, most ads are merely a nuisance, and if they aren’t targeted to your likes, can be easily ignored.  Chances are you don’t remember the ads that were displayed the last time you visited your favourite news outlet online, and you didn’t click on them.  And that’s a problem.

Photo by Jonalyn San Diego on Unsplash

Personally, I think the worst ads don’t fall into any of the categories above.  Poorly performing ads that hijack your browser or consume so much computational power that they reduce your device to a scrolling stutter of unresponsive windows and tabs you can’t close are the most frustrating for me, and it’s for this reason alone, that I usually try to figure out a way around seeing them.

The Internet has waged the same war against ads since the inception of online advertising, in a cat-and-mouse game of how to get eyeballs on ads, and how to avoid eyeballs seeing them.  Modern ad blocking techniques are more sophisticated than ever with this arms race extending past the browser and to the network level via specialized DNS servers and even some consumer grade routers.  Most ad blockers are easily installed as an extension to your favourite browser, and it’s often the first thing a user does when they get a new computer or mobile phone (Apple even introduced Content Blocker support in iOS 9).  Blocking ads is no longer a niche activity only nerds or computer savvy individuals do, it has gone mainstream.

Ad blocking aside, the amount of online content available has grown tremendously, and the overcrowded market ad marketplace is saturated.  Even though ads are shown everywhere, content creators are getting less and less money for each impression or ad click-through.  This has led to too many ads and ad networks in an effort to recoup revenue via volume versus value.

Most ad placements are via an automated process, and as a result, tons of ads are placed on websites, including those of questionable or low quality.  Advertisers know this and have become less willing to pay more.  Because publishers are displaying so many extra ads in an attempt to cover their lower revenue, consumers have resorted to ad blockers even more.

Compounding this are the demographics of users and the shift in consumption devices.  Mobile is beating desktop.  70 percent of time online is now on mobile.  Mobile ads are still worth only a fraction of what a desktop ad sells for, as most advertisers are unwilling to spend much money on mobile ads, as typically, users don’t see them as often.

Photo by Bruno Gomiero on Unsplash

All of the above is a problem for anyone relying on ad revenue for their income.  So what can you do to fight back?

At QUID, we think micropayments are a great way to help retain revenue in the short term, perhaps even grow revenue over the long term, while accomplishing a bunch of other cool things:

  1. Your audience can support you directly, either by purchasing content for pennies, or by donating what they feel is appropriate for the content you’re giving them, versus hoping that they’ll click a targeted ad banner placed on your site.
  2. You get to focus on creating, not ad placement.  Spend your time pumping out better content, and less time worrying about optimal ad targeting, dealing with ad networks, and click-throughs.
  3. Improve your consumers experience.  They’re probably not seeing your ads anyway, but that doesn’t come without its pitfalls; poorly or improperly rendered web pages where the ads are supposed to be.  Instead, design your site around your content, not the ads they don’t want to see anyway.
  4. Create exclusive content and boost revenue.  Instead of making everything available and supported by advertisements, why not create exclusive content in parallel, and charge a few pennies more for it?  Or go deep and monetize your back catalog of work.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

To make things easy, QUID comes with a set of customizable web widgets, right out-of-the-box, including an available Wordpress plugin, allowing you to quickly and accept micropayments for the content you create.  Our FAQ has all the details you need to get started.

Ads aren’t going away, but there is no question that their value to content creators and their viability as an income source is diminishing.  Why not give micropayments a try as an additional (or exclusive) way to help you continue to do what you love to do - create.

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About Derrick Mealiffe

Derrick is an approachable nerd and avid cyclist who knows far too much about things most people don't (and shouldn't) care about.