Over my many years of blogging I’ve seen numerous solutions for direct ad sales on blogs. BlogAds is probably the most well known solution, though more recently BuySellAds and OIOpublisher have both emerged as viable alternatives. Skyscrpr, a recent launch from Vancouver accelerator GrowLab, is aiming to turn blog advertising on its head.
Blog Advertising Made Easy
Skyscrpr also simplifies the process of creating a media kit, which is a key step many bloggers overlook. You can create an elegant looking page describing your site and ad rates by following a few simple steps.
Making Blog Advertising Work
While I like what they’ve done so far, Skyscrpr has some work to do before they are a slam-dunk for making bloggers money. There are three factors you need to make a blog advertising platform work. In most cases, the trifecta represents a classic chicken-and-egg problem, because you can’t achieve success without all of them.
Inventory – Total inventory across all publishers needs to be interesting for advertisers to purchase.
Advertisers – Total number of advertisers needs to keep the fill rate as close to 100% as possible for bloggers to stick around.
Targeting – Inventory discoverability is the third component that will make or break a network. It needs to be insanely easy for advertisers to buy the traffic they want.
While far from perfect, the combination of those three factors is why Google Adsense crushes all other ad providers. Google has the available inventory to maximize impressions for most ad categories. You rarely see a house ad with Adsense, which means the fill rate is high. And the keyword targeting in AdWords, coupled with site targeting means advertisers can optimize for the type of traffic they are looking for.
Skyscrpr has the first problem nailed. According to co-founder Paul Burger, they are currently taking on new blogs as fast as they can sign them up. Fill rate is currently being addressed through a partnership with a display network, which should fill the gaps long enough to bring on direct advertisers. While backfill from a third party isn’t a longterm solution, it should keep bloggers happy enough as other advertisers are brought on. That third piece, the marketplace to make it easy for advertisers to find the inventory they want is coming soon.
Connecting Advertisers to Inventory
One of the things that got me started in affiliate marketing over a decade ago was the need to fill unsold inventory. I started experimenting with offers and quickly found that many affiliate promotions outperformed direct advertising.
I started buying ads on other sites with similar content because I knew which offers performed well. My biggest problem was those ad buys wouldn’t scale because I couldn’t find enough open inventory. I would find an offer that worked and quickly hit the maximum traffic I could get from the sources I was aware of.
Skyscrpr will get really interesting if they can solve this challenge. As far as I know, there’s cross-category solution that does this well besides AdWords and Bing. There are literally millions of sites that collectively ad up to an interesting volume of traffic. Finding those sites is still nearly impossible. If Skyscrpr can connect advertisers with all that available inventory they have a billion dollar business.
What’s your experience with blog advertising? Are you running offers on blogs or do you have trouble matching your offers to relevant content outside more traditional markets like AdWords?
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.