Inline text ads were somewhat controversial when they first launched. The ad type adds contextual ad links to text with a post on your site. Some companies do it different ways, with some giving link juice and not clearly stating that they are ads, while others offer a pop-up ad that is Google compliant.
We didn’t run inline text ads when we started The Inquisitr, but with our ad revenue starting to drop off late last year as the recession kicked in, we gave it a shot.
Kontera is the company we’re using. You’ll notice their links with a double underline within a post, with a pop-up box when you mouse-over them. These style of ads play nicely within Google’s rules, and can also be used alongside Adsense units.
So far, I couldn’t be more happy with the service. While they haven’t countered our drop-off in display advertising, they have gone some way to supplementing our primary ads, and in this market it all helps.
Kontera ads though work better on some sites compared to others.
Making Kontera work for you
The key to making Kontera work on your site is to give it enough text to work with. Kontera runs words in a post and looks for matches, so if you do primarily shorter posts, it won’t have as much to work with.
Posts three paragraphs or more work best with Kontera, as it often finds more, and often better matches. The type of content (and the content that gets traffic) is also an important factor. Like other advertising solutions, Kontera does pay better on tech and more serious content, and pays less on say celebrity content. Types of content in between reflect the general market. This isn’t to say you can’t make money with celeb content from Kontera, but you will make significantly more if you’re running more serious content.
Compliment, not supplement
The key here is to not treat Kontera as a solution alone. Kontera works alongside your existing ads, so it’s an easy way of complimenting your existing blog income. In many cases, you might not be utilizing this form of ad already, so you don’t lose by giving it a shot, at least that’s the way I first approached it.
Do they click?
One thing that has surprised me is how popular some days can be in terms of CTR on Kontera ads. On a good day, our CTR can often be 10x higher than the next highest unit on site. Even on a slow day, the CTR rate is still strong. These ads don’t deceive; it’s clear what they are visually, but by being inline users seem more receptive to them; less ad blindness helps.
Inline text ads aren’t for everyone, and even I’ve been critical in the past about the format. But as the recession goes on, we’re in a game of survival now and this is a legitimate way of making some more money for your site. Put it this way: I’d rather do these ads then something that might upset Google, or make the reading experience unfriendly (like putting up ads in the middle of text…not yet anyway :-) ).
You can sign up for Kontera here. Worse case: they don’t work for you, you can take them down. They also offer a plugin for WordPress that makes it nice and easy to set up.