Online publishers and writers, independent content producers, and bloggers, are no doubt wondering what the future holds, following the recent move by Apple offering greater support for ad-blocking applications, with the roll out of its latest operating system, iOS 9. The main goal is reducing data usage on mobile devices, that Apple reasons is better utilised elsewhere.
It’s something that plenty of people will be in favour of, after all, who hasn’t had enough of websites that more resemble billboards, so choke full of advertising, they are. And as someone who values their reasonable, though modest, mobile data allocation, the little extra bang for the my dollar, that the absence of ads might occasion, will be more than welcome.
But what’s an independent content producer, such as myself, to do when a fair proportion of their incomes derives, in some way, from the revenues generated by online advertising? Depending on the sort of following, or readership, your website has, and focus of the content you write, then there are a number of options to explore and give consideration to.
Context, and content, are key
As an independent operator especially, context is key when it comes to the inclusion of advertising on your website. While certain technologies may help filter out ads, as US author and entrepreneur Seth Godin points out, people have been blocking ads forever, by ignoring them. In other words, only advertising that is directly relevant to a reader stands to be noticed.
John Gruber, publisher of Daring Fireball, goes a step further when he says present ads to readers (and podcast listeners) that you yourself would not be annoyed by. That, for one, would probably exclude many cost per click, or pay per click type formats, that can generate advertising that is not always compatible with the direction, or content focus, of your website.
A word from our sponsors
Sponsored posts, or advertorial type content, are articles typically written in partnership with an advertiser, on a topic that is related to the outlook of the website it is published on. Indeed the go-to option for many an online publisher. The goal here though is not to merely spruik a product or service, but provide a reader with something of value.
Although articles or posts of this nature can potentially blend in seamlessly with the rest of the content on your website – depending on how well written they are – to the point they may not be recognised as “advertorial”, in the interests of disclosure, and maintaining your integrity with readers, this sort of content should always be declared as sponsored content.
Our sponsor today, this week, or month, is…
Obviously not an option for everyone, as a rather large readership is required to attract would-be advertisers on a regular basis, but there is revenue to be made from having someone sponsor your website’s RSS feed for a given period of time, as the aforementioned Daring Fireball does, along with publishers such as Tina Roth Eisenberg and Stephen Hackett.
Subvert the system
Did I catch your attention there? And that constitutes nine-tenths of good advertising, does it not? Of course I’m not talking about countering the will of the world’s biggest tech companies, but rather self crafting banner style advertising that is directly pertinent to your website. In other words, a private, direct, advertising arrangement between you and someone else.
If ad-blocking apps are targeting a certain type of code that is associated with cost per click, or pay per click type advertising, then relatively simple banner ads, that do little more than link directly to an advertiser, may still be an option. Of course you’d forego much of the analytics data that is otherwise collected by way of this code, but it’s possible that may not be an issue.
Sell your services and expertise
When you start writing regularly on a certain topic you become more than a writer, you become an expert, an authority, even an influencer. You may find you eventually generate more revenue as a result of your reputation and knowledge, rather than through website advertising. It’s not only an exciting prospect, but also one that’s far from vulnerable to ad-blocking.