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Ways to Monetize Digital Publications

Display ads and banner ads are often considered obsolete and ineffective, but truth be told, while there are no shortage of people ready to declare display ads obsolete in light of their low click-through rates, they still play an important role in the monetization strategies for many online publishers.  Website banner ads and email banner ads are probably some of the earliest forms of online advertising, and are still used by many publishers.

A web banner or banner ad is typically delivered by an ad server, and is embedded into a web page, digital publication or mobile app. Their original intent, before the advent and popularity of mobile digital, was to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. Today the intent of click-through is the same, but most transactions take place within mobile applications.

The classic pay model for banner ads is a type of revenue sharing arrangement depending on click rate, unique user visits and follow-through. This model depends on high volume to be profitable. The metrics generated is also an important part of the monetizing model. Advertising campaigns can be monitored in real-time and are often targeted to the viewer’s interests. Consumer behavior is tracked and analyzed through the use of click tags.

Many users now consider banner ads to be a type of spam, and there are many options available for users to opt out or disable them. Pop-up blocker software is available for every platform, and some browsers also have extensions available that block banner ads. Even so, this type of advertising still provides positive results in many cases.

In the ever-changing digital publishing world, numerous alternative strategies like paid subscriptions have been embraced by publishers of all sizes. They include event sponsorship, lead generation services for advertisers, the use of search engines and web referrals, and ads in various classified listings and directories. It appears that most publishers now think that print advertising and traditional classified listings will decrease in value, and directories are also expected to decline in the near-term.

Paid subscriptions are a classic revenue producer, although the trend toward free subscriptions continues. Publishers now use sponsored content and native advertising as revenue generators, and curated content is overtaking banner ads as a main future growth area. Native advertising in its original iteration is basically online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. One type of native advertising is publisher-produced brand content, which is similar in concept to a traditional advertorial, which in turn is a paid placement attempting to look like an article. It’s simple, really!

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