Monday, September 10, 2007

Monetizing Content in the Age of the Atomized Web

One of the adages of the .com was that "content is king." Whoever owned the content got the eyeballs, and therefore the ad revenue for those eyeballs. The atomization of the web has turned this on its head, since content is now syndicated through feeds and widgets. Your page impressions go down if people are reading your content in Google Reader and seeing the weather report as a little box on their iGoogle homepage. Content is no longer king, your feed reader is king!

So is content dead? How can a content provider still achieve page impressions in the age of the atomized web? How can an advertiser reach its target market when banner and keyword ads are seen less frequently? Following are four emerging advertising technologies that marketers can add to their online marketing mix to take advantage of the atomization of the web.

  • Feed Ads - Embedding contextual advertising items into your feeds is a great way to add advertising to your syndicated content. Feedburner was the market leader in this category, and Google's $100M acquisition of Feedburner shows that even Google recognizes that embedding advertising in feeds is important. So syndicate your content and embed the ads in the syndication, it is the same as a user going around your website and seeing banner ads, they are just in their feed reader instead of your website.

  • Feed Teasers - A method that works if you have really interesting content is showing only the first paragraph of content and making users click to see the full content which can include traditional online ads such as banner ads. This is the model that newspapers use, where the first page has a few paragraphs and no ads, and people can continue reading inside the paper where there are ads. The downside is that users have to be super interested to click through, so it is a pretty high bar to entice users into your site.

  • Sponsored Widgets - A big part of advertising is getting your brand out there, and sponsoring a widget is much more effective than a banner ad in the age of the atomized web. Visa recently sponsored a slew of widgets with Forbes content. TripAdvisor built a popular Facebook widget that people can add to their profiles to show what cities they have been to. Now Visa has its brand on people's various iGoogle homepages and blogs and TripAdvisor has its brand on a multitude of Facebook profiles (121,000 as of today).

  • Widget Ads - Customers are amenable to using widgets with personalized promotions or content delivery when there is a trust relationship with a company. Examples include Southwest Airline's Ding widget and Aperio's Salesforce iGoogle Gadgets. People add these widgets to their iGoogle desktops or actual desktops and the companies now have a direct channel to them every day. The trick here is to make a widget that actual does something useful for the customer!

    With Feed Ads, Feed Teasers, Sponsored Widgets, and Widget Ads, there are plenty of creative opportunities for content producers to deliver ads in an atomized web. Long live the content!
  • No comments: