To most of us, banner ads are relegated to the background of our consciousness when surfing our favorite sites. At their worst, they are a distraction that can downgrade our opinion of a site and potentially drive us away. Flashing, blinking, popping up – if they distract from the content and clarity of the site itself, they will fail in their mission: to get you to click on them. If they are annoying enough, they’ll drive you from that site permanently.
To ensure bloggers had a clean, quality way to earn revenue from online advertising, WordPress launched WordAds in November of last year. WordPress Ad Lead Jon Burke announced on June 21 a new homepage for WordAds: WordAds.co which hosts the program’s application questionnaire as well as FAQs and a discussion forum.
In his post, Burke included feedback from MyNintendoNews.com, one of the first blogs to use WordAds after its initial launch. Burke noted, “We talked to MyNintendoNews.com about its use of the program and doing the right things to build their audience: publishing every day with well thought-out posts and attention to publicizing to social media.” Site traffic for MyNintendoNews.com has grown from 100,000 pages per month to over 1 milliion. What started as a labor of love has become a budding business.
With that kind of traffic, it’s easy to see how an online ad program could generate significant revenue. Online advertising like WordAds or Google’s AdSense generate money based on Cost Per Click or Cost Per Impression revenue. With Cost per Click, advertisers pay a fee every time someone clicks on an ad. With Cost per Impression, payment is made whenever the ad appears online. The more traffic you have, the more viewers you have, and potentially, the more displays of or clicks on that ad.
Launched as part of a partnership with Federated Media, WordAds was meant to be the answer to what Burke felt was the “sad” state of online ads provided by Google’s AdSense. Burke was widely quoted at the time of the launch, stating: “We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense.” About WordAds, MyNintendo said, “the adverts that are currently being displayed are of an extremely high quality and are also appealing to the users; the adverts aren’t intrusive and ultimately they don’t get in the way, or detract from the blog’s content – which is the most important thing.”
WordAds is still in its infancy, and in-depth comparisons of its results compared to AdSense are not readily available. That point may be moot since the criteria for joining the two programs is vastly different. Whereas AdSense is relatively easy to join, accepting almost any blog that applies, WordAds is somewhat restrictive. Blogs are chosen based on the amount of traffic and engagement they receive, the type of content and the language used. WordAds is also only available to publicly viewable blogs with custom domains generated via WordPress.com (self-hosted blogs created via WordPress.org are not eligible.)
This process seems to serve WordPress’s goal of maintaining quality sites with ads that enhance rather than detract from the content. Burke noted, “advertising on your blog is not for everyone or every blog but when done right advertising should not be a distraction from your message or make you seem fake.”
Tell us what you think. Do you use WordAds, AdSense or both? Do you see results? Are they the results you expected? Leave us your feedback in the comments below.