If you are making revenues (or trying to) from monetizing your forum or blog through advertising, the question you may have is how should you do it? That is, should you use advertising networks, Google AdSense, or sell directly and keep all the profits for yourself?
The answer to this will largely be a matter of personal taste and style, and temperament. And you may use a combination, of course.
With advertising networks, they serve advertising on your blog and share advertiser revenue for qualified clicks each time your blog’s visitors click on ads. There are a few different kinds of advertising networks and they share revenues in different ways.
Representative (or Rep) Networks generally revenue share; these are the ones who usually carry ad inventory for brand advertisers, larger companies. Targeted Networks focus on specific targeting technologies and usually also use revenue sharing.
Blind Networks use arbitrage; the official investing and marketing definition of arbitrage is “a risk-free transaction consisting of purchasing an asset at one price and simultaneously selling that same asset at a higher price, generating a profit on the difference.” In other words, you’ll buy the rights to the advertising inventory outright, then try to make your money back and get to where it’s making you a profit.
The advantage of advertising networks is clear: they have tons of already-made advertising inventory and they’re waiting for you to knock on their virtual door. The downside is equally clear: they can be costly or eat into your profits, and also especially for Reps your blog may not qualify for their services (such as if you don’t have enough traffic).
What about Google’s AdSense, the system by which you allow AdWords to show up on your blog? Well, it costs you nothing to set up, it’s relatively attractive and subtle (so it doesn’t junk up your blog), and if you have enough traffic at your blog or forum you can indeed make a decent revenue from it. The downside is: everybody’s doing it, meaning the competitiveness of the ads that appear on your blog is likely to be watered down; and, once again Google takes their cut. So it’s questionable how BIG your profits may get from AdSense.
Finally, you might want to consider direct advertising – that is, selling advertising space at your blog and raking in 100% of the profits from this.
Through this you: set your own ad rates; enjoy direct contact with advertisers; have more diversity of advertising options and strategies to employ (banner or text link placeholders, shared advertising options with other bloggers, sponsorships of specific blog posts, and so on); and you have more payment options (you can negotiate with the advertisers without there being any middle man).
What are the problems? Well, basically, two exist. One, you may end up with a contract dispute and have your advertising clients demanding their money back. And speaking of advertising clients, they are more difficult to come by when you’re on your own. With greater freedom and potential profit always comes greater risk and responsibility! So if you choose this route, make sure you: create a hot, shamelessly promoting sell page for advertisers to land on; and, offer them variable rates and different options.
Finally, always weigh up what your blog means to you and think about how successful it is at directing traffic to other pages on your site, or to the products and services you sell. The point is always get the best out of what you have -if your blog is providing people with a service and also sends them to other pages which could bring in revenue fr you, do you really want people to click on ads and leave your site?
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