Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand over the past couple of years, you would have noticed the meteoric rise of a new source of content, namely the blog. Once only referenced in small, almost “cult-like” circles, blogs have become the new media resource for consumers seeking honest, “tell it like it is” information on just about every subject. Currently Technorati is tracking more than 57 million blogs, and revealed that 100,000 new blogs launched in the last quarter of 2006 alone.
Many of today’s blogs, whether they focus on business, technology or entertainment, have gained notoriety alongside their traditional media counterparts. Put simply, blogs look like they’re here to stay.
As blogging beings to reach a level of maturity, the individuals behind them are beginning to realize the monetization potential that exits as their reader base continues to grow. It’s becoming increasingly recognized that in order to stay ahead of this competitive market, bloggers must tap into potential revenue streams to support future content development.
It can be argued that part of the popularity of blogs lies in their back to basics, non-commercial stance — most have been created outside corporate walls without the banners, pop-up ads, and other monetization tools typically associated with more traditional websites. This means they have gained success and a user base without the luxury of an advertising stream to support their growth.
Now, with the blogosphere growing and competition heating up, the question must be asked: how long will bloggers be able to compete without tapping into ad revenue streams? There are several different schools of thought when it comes to successful blogvertising.
Scoping out the Options
Several companies have launched that facilitate advertising on blogs – from display ads to Pay-Per-Click ads – and these companies are having varying degrees of success.
One option that is starting to gain traction is the in-line or in-text ad model. This is arguably the ideal option for bloggers wishing to implement less obtrusive ads onto their sites. With this model, keywords within the actual content of web pages are highlighted and when users mouse over these keywords, floating Pay-Per-Click Ads appear.
Some providers’ in-text advertising products also allow site search options, so related editorial links appear alongside the sponsored content. A user can choose to explore a blog’s related postings, click through on the ad listing or simply close the floating ad unit and continue reading the blog.
As advertising on blogs becomes more prevalent, there is one important factor for bloggers to consider – finding advertisers.
Blogging for many is a part time hobby — a soapbox that can be jumped on outside a day to day job. As such, devoting time to sourcing advertisers and managing the technical aspects of ad implementations is simply not a viable option. As a result, it’s likely to be the ad networks that will become most prevalent in the blogvertising space rather than directly sold ads. For advertisers these networks will give access into a previously unattainable media channel and one that speaks to consumers in a far less corporate environment.
In the End… It’s all about MONETIZATION
Despite all of the viewpoints being discussed, one thing is for sure: as the blogosphere becomes a more and more mainstream media outlet, there are bound to be some major shifts in blogs as we now know them.
All bloggers will inevitably come to a fork in the road when it comes to integrating advertising as a means of monetization. Only time will tell what their decisions will ultimately mean for their sites, for advertisers and for the state of the blogosphere.