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Sponsored website ads – who needs them?

Many organisations are starting to realise that hosting externally sponsored ads on their website is an increasingly practical way to make a little bit of extra ‘dough’ off of their ‘online property’. The question is should YOU have sponsored ads on your website?

What do we mean by ‘sponsored ads’?

Thanks to the overwhelming success of online marketing we hear the term ‘sponsored ad’ quite a bit, often without really knowing what it means. To make things more complicated, there are several different types of sponsored ads. 

In this blog we focus on the external ads that appear on your website and when selected will lead the viewer to the external advertiser’s website. External advertisers will pay you for the display and success of these ads.

Well-known examples of these types of ads are the sponsored ads found on Facebook, which are typically displayed on the right hand column of your Facebook screen. These ads will promote external advertisers’ products or services based on user interests and behaviour on Facebook. If a user selects an ad they will be lead to the external advertisers’ website. 

Getting started

The most common ways of getting started with sponsored ads is by signing up to the Google AdSense program or by directly approaching companies.

Google AdSense Ads:
With Google AdSense you’ll choose what kind of format you want the ad to be in and where you want it displayed on your website based on the options available - these factors often determine the popularity of the ad. 

You can learn more on how to become a Google AdSense publisher here

Ads from directly approached companies: Approaching a company directly can be preferred for the reason that you might have more of a chance of dealing with companies you know and trust. You also have some freedom of setting the budget for how much they pay for space on your website - so long as you can prove that your site’s worth the cost!

Follow Expert’s blog for tutorials on how to approach potential advertisers directly.

What are external advertisers looking for?

Anyone with a website is eligible to have a sponsored ad on their website, particularly when using Google AdSense. However, there are a number of factors that’ll make your ‘online property’ more appealing to potential advertisers, and in turn increase the amount of money you can earn.

Your website’s traffic: Do a lot of people visit your site? You can often find this out by using some sort of website statistics tool like Google Analytics. Having high quantities of web traffic will appeal to potential advertisers because it means that more people will have a chance of seeing their ad.

Solid Niche Market: If you have an established niche market, or a regular and clearly defined audience, then potential advertisers with relevant products or services will be more willing to pay extra to reach them. 

What are some potential pitfalls of having sponsored ads on your website?

Tapping into a new revenue stream is the underlying benefit of having sponsored ads. However, it’s important to consider how the addition of ads to your website might affect your website as a whole. 

Reduced user engagement: Website ads are designed to catch the user’s attention, so flashy video and bold imagery and text are often used. This could distract the user from picking up on your most valuable messages. From a UX (user experience design) perspective it’s always good to have blank space.

Limits on aesthetic freedom: A Google AdSense ad has to be a particular shape and size – and on top of that you don’t get to have any input into what an advertiser’s ad looks like.

Threatens your reputation: It shows your audience that you are making money out of advertising – if you are supposed to be an independent voice this doesn’t look so good. Additionally, if your advertising arrangement doesn’t allow you to see the ad before it goes live then you might end up promoting ads that your organisation opposes. 

Stealing your visitors away from you:
The main intention of the ad is to lead the reader to the advertiser’s site. This should be alarming, particularly if the advertiser has similar offerings to you.

Do you want to learn more about advertising on your website? Follow Expert’s ezine for online marketing tutorials and advice. Sign up here 



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