Why You Shouldn’t Waste Your Time On Banner Ads
Banner ads are the dinosaurs of blog monetizing methods, and if you're still using them on your site, then you need to read this article to find out why that is one of the absolute worst ways to monetize your blog in terms of effectiveness and profits.
By using banner ads on your blog, you're giving up a lot of potential profits for very little actual profits.
Many marketers are still under the impression that banner ads are where it's at, thanks to some 'gurus' who advocate this method as a good way of making money online.
According to them, all you need to do to succeed online is simply start a blog, talk about random stuff, and paste some banner ads on the site – and then sit back and watch the profits roll in...
But that's very far from the truth.
While banner ads may be the absolute easiest way to make (some) money on your blog, they're also the least effective way of making real profits.
There are many other business models that work a lot better and provide tons more profits. I am a big advocate of the information marketing business model, but there's a myriad of other ways of creating revenue streams on your blog that overshadow banner ad revenue.
Right now, let's take a look at why banner ads are not the best way of making money with your blog.
Here's Why Banner Ads Are The Worst Way Of Making Money On Your Blog
The only way to make real money with banner ads is by running a LOT of volume.
This is possible if you have a massive news site like CNN or the Huffington Post, for example, but for an ordinary blog, you'll never make anywhere near what other forms of blog monetization could achieve.
There are various other industries where the banner ad business model works, including the tech space, gambling industry, and so on. You'll find some big players whose sites run the majority of traffic volume, and that is where most of the advertisers go.
So, if your blog is competing in such a market, then your ad inventory is going to be a tiny, little, insignificant drop in the massive pool, and as such, it will get the proportionate amount of attention (and, ultimately, revenue) that such an infinitesimal amount deserves.
Now that we've put things in perspective, here are the reasons why banner ads aren't the best way to proceed in today's marketing arena:
1. Banner Ads Just Don't Make Any Real Money
The average CPM (cost per thousand) for display ads is just $2.80. This is what an advertiser pays for every one thousand displays of their ads. As the publisher of those ads, you will most likely go through ad networks like Adsense, Media.net, and Infolinks which pay you a portion of the revenue.
Even with a 'generous' publisher split of 75%, it means that for 1,000 display ads on your blog, you'd make about $2.10.
Think about this for a minute...
You get one ad in front of 1,000 eyeballs on your blog (A THOUSAND!), and all you make is a measly two bucks?
Do you know how much work it takes to rack up that number of views, especially when you're just starting out?
Of course, you do!
There's tons of hard work that bloggers have to do to get people on their site, and once you've got that traffic flowing, it hardly seems fair for someone to pay you less than the price of a cup of coffee to divert that attention to their product instead, does it?
In reality, you'd probably have more than one banner ad on your site, but even if you have four ads on one page (which would actually screw up your readers' experience on your site), and got paid the same amount, you'd still only make about $8.40 for every one thousand visitors that the ads are served to.
With the other business models that you could use instead, you stand to make hundreds (possibly thousands) more on your blog than this measly eight bucks!
The bottom line is that the only way to make any REAL money from this model is by building up serious traffic numbers, but if you can do that, then why not use the alternative revenue generation methods to make 10x or even 100x what you could make from banner ads?
2. You're Sending People Away From Your Site (In Exchange For Mere Cents)
What's the number one challenge that most bloggers face?
After spending all that time, money, and energy on generating traffic to your own blog, why send them away from your site to someone else's for mere pennies?
Banner ads have only one purpose: To distract blog visitors enough so that they click on the ad and leave your site!
So basically the goal of that ad on your site directly contradicts your business goals. This is because the advertisers don't have your best interests at heart.
They're only trying to steal away all that attention you've worked so hard to garner. They know that they're going to make tens, hundreds, and maybe even thousands of dollars from the same visitors that they're paying you a few pennies for.
3. Your Readers Hate Banner Ads
Banner ads interrupt and diminish the overall user experience, and they are annoying as heck (you know it's true!). When people are on your blog trying to consume your content, banner ads simply get in the way of that.
It's hard to concentrate on something you're reading when there's a loud banner flashing on the sidebar.
And banner ads rarely offer your readers any value (if ever). They are just a distraction that everyone really could do without. This type of interruption marketing has been slowly losing its effectiveness, and that has caused the advertisers to make the ads even more eye-catching so that you'll notice them, but that just makes them more annoying.
So, if you're serious about giving your readers real value, building a community, and providing a great user experience on your site, then you won't be serving your audience by throwing banner ads all over the show.
That just contradicts your stated intentions.
4. Banner Ads Deliver Zero Value To Your Readers
You don't make money online by using tricks and tactics, you get it by delivering value – plain and simple.
You provide value to people who are willing and able to pay you for it. But ask yourself, what kind of value do banner ads give to your readers? The answer is obvious, none!
In fact, if you're interrupting their experience with other people's ads, then the last thing you're doing is providing value to them (only to the advertiser). This means that, in this case, your customer is the advertiser, and your readers are simply caught in the middle.
The only exchangeable value is between you and the advertiser.
The posts you publish on your blog cannot be exchanged for money, which is the reason your blog doesn't make money. So, if all you're doing is blogging, then your only valuable asset is your audience - an audience that you then proceed to sell to your real customer (the advertiser) for a few bucks...
The Bottom Line Is: Banner Ads Make A Mockery Of All You're Trying To Do
As previously mentioned, putting banner ads on your site just makes a mockery of everything else you're doing.
It's just so at odds with what you say you're doing, and it makes you look stupid to your audience because after doing all that work to get them to your site you're now doing everything you can to send them away with all the banner ads...
You say you're all about providing value to your readers but in reality, you are turning them into commodities and selling them to the highest bidding advertisers.
This only makes sense if banner ads are your only option for revenue, and even then you need to have massive volumes of traffic to make it work.
Now that you know why banner ads are such a bad idea, it's time to talk about what actually does work.
How To Make Real Money On Your Blog
The only way to make money online is to give people something that they want and get them to pay you for it.
Everyone is looking to accomplish something – from solving problems to achieving goals – they're trying to change their reality in some way and you can help them do that through your content, products, or services.
That is how you build a real business that makes real money online.
But, it's important that you're in a niche that aligns around this process of delivering a different result or outcome for your audience, otherwise you'll have a hard time getting them to buy anything from you (and then you really will be in that sad situation where banner ads are your only option for generating revenue).
Examples of such niches include those that are primarily focused on news such as the tech niche these days, politics, and entertainment.
Personal blogs that are based on the author's whims also fall into this category because they're not based on any real market.
This main issue with such niches is that the audience is not trying to achieve anything so you won't be able to come up with something actionable that turns them into an actual market.
For instance, those people on a news site are merely there for news – nothing else. And, they won't even pay for that because they can get it for free from a million other places online.
The same goes for sites in the politics niche. You get people going to that site simply to get riled up about some election, but that's all they do.
Entertainment is no different.
All these niches provide no real transformation for the audience. There's no clear 'before' and 'after' scenario that people would willingly pay for. They just go to those sites for a chuckle, and unless you do an outstanding job of branding yourself, they'll leave without paying a single cent for it.
That's why in such niches, banner ads are the only way to make money. But it's important to keep in mind that the advertiser is the actual customer here, and not the reader.
Given a choice, I don't think anyone who is getting started online should pick such a niche. It's just too much work. It offers too little rewards, and the chances of failing are extremely high.
So, if you already have banner ads on your blog, should you remove them?
Yes, but only if you're in a niche that offers a specific transformation to your audience because then there are more effective ways of monetizing your blog.
I talk a lot about that, and you'll find plenty of posts here to help you implement that on your own site (like this post on 'How Blog Traffic And Monetization Work In Today’s World').
Take My Blog For Example:
The transformation I offer is very clear: People want to make money online, they don't know where to start or how to run a blog, I show them step by step how to make money online.
Clear, Simple, Effective. I offer products to help them get this result even quicker and easier, and that's how I make money online.
But, if you're in one of the niches I mentioned where there isn't any real outcome or result that your audience is searching for, then you may as well leave the banner ads on and then start putting some thought into how you can pivot in a new direction.
Banner ads are not going to help you make the kind of money that you want to make online.
If you already have them, get rid of them and implement a more effective business model for generating revenue.
If you're in the type of niche where banner ads are your only option, then it's time to pivot into a new direction.
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Updated: Originally published December 3rd 2018