When was the last time you saw an ad in a website footer that linked to something credible and relevant? Or even something that wasn’t complete garbage? Masquerading as “promoted stories” or “around the web,” most web sites that employ these revenue streams are quick to add disclaimers, stating that external content is nothing to do with the host site.
So why use them?
Sapna Maheshwari writing for the New York Times said, “These links are often advertisements dressed up to look like stories people might want to read. They have long provided much-needed revenue for publishers and given a wide range of advertisers a relatively affordable way to reach large and often premium audiences. But now, some publishers are wondering about the effect these socalled content ads may be having on their brands and readers.”.
While many go down the “Shocking Celebrity Photos” route, the other common garbage ad is the ubiquitous, “This woman made millions in Bangkok* (insert your home city here) and the millionaires want it kept secret.”
ChangeAdvertising.org analyzed the content ads on those 41 news websites and found that 61 percent came from advertisers or other prominent publishers. But 26 percent led to “clickbait” sites that were covered in more ads and lower-quality recommendation widgets featuring sexually suggestive or interruptive images. Almost all of those sites, which appear to be paying for placement, then profiting from their own ads once people visit, hid their domain registrations.
As a PR agency that also creates bespoke content and digital marketing strategies for clients, we can’t emphasise enough how creating focused, relevant, helpful content targeted at your specific content consumers is, particularly in terms of delivering an effective program with any sort of ROI. More than just creating initial interest (clickbait), you need to build trust, create a relationship with the consumer, display your brand in a way that supports your ongoing communication objectives, and finally, drive sales.
We don’t believe that this particular Pay Per Click advertising model has much of a shelf life left; thankfully, we will be glad when this frustrating and useless digital trade mule is put out to pasture.
For advice on a digital marketing strategy that actually works, get in touch with us on Tel: +66 02 612 2253 (Thailand, but serving international markets also).