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Ask Anna: What Are BlogAds & Who Should Use Them?

Ask Anna: What Are BlogAds & Who Should Use Them?


Ask Anna Question:
I only recently started putting ads on my site, I’ve noticed that you’ve started to use BlogAds . . . would you say that BlogAds might be a better way for a blog my size to start out? I don’t think I’m in a position to hunt down sponsors on my own yet . . . — Carolyn

Ask Anna Answer:
BlogAds works a little bit differently from other display ad networks in that they might require the site on which they run to “sell” them a bit more. You do get some ad sales just by virtue of being featured on one of BlogAd’s hives (e.g. parenting, entertainment, politics, etc.), but they really are not much of an option for a blogger just starting out for a couple of reasons, the most important of which is that it probably will be hard to get into the network right out of the gate unless you have a connection with them or have crazy high traffic. I have not checked on this recently, mind you, I’m just basing this on historical facts — traditionally, BlogAds has been kind of choosy about who they let in and has kept their membership to a referral basis. When I first started blogging, they were not accepting new members and I did not even try to get into the network. What happened recently . . . [cough] was that I was in need of new representation [cough], and I sent an email and it turned out that we were a good match.

BlogAds is a good match for a mid-range blogger (say 75K through 500K or higher, when combined with other CPM network options too): you get a higher cut of earnings (as much as 70%) but you don’t have as much of a guarantee of running ads. You have a higher rate of return, so if you have a good readership, you might find people on your site buying ads from the widget you host (you get an even higher cut if they do that than if companies go to the BlogAds site directly and buy them there). This is a better deal for somebody like me than a network can offer. It’s not a good deal for a newbie, even if they let newbies in, because you just don’t have the traffic yet to support it. Similarly, it’s not an ideal situation to use *exclusively* for somebody with super high traffic, because although you do have the traffic to support selling the ads in the first place, you want a high CPM thing running in that space if you can get it — because there’s only so much money you can sell a sidebar ad to a small company for: they just cannot afford to buy a placement for $10,000 or whatever. BlogAds are kind of a sweet spot niche company for somebody like me, or to fill in the gaps on a big site like Perez Hilton.

You get a bigger cut, but you also don’t have as much of a guarantee of running ads. So, in short, it’s probably not a great option for a smaller site, no, because you have to have more traffic just to get the ads in the first place.

Incidentally, I’ve been getting a lot of these kinds of questions lately about the nuances between different ad networks, and some of the questions I can answer from personal experience, others I have to research, but I’m going to do my best to create some kind of guide so that people can have a place to go to figure this stuff out when trying to make the best decision for monetizing at the various stages of their blog’s growth. Anyone who wants to help by giving me info on their own experience (confidential, of course) can do so by emailing me (anna at abdpbt dot com).

One last word: regarding hunting down sponsors, I believe that you are always in a position to start doing this. You can still do it while running network ads, you’ve got nothing to lose, and experience to gain, Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

Hey everybody, we’ve got a new featured blogger ad up and running! Please check out carolyndraws.com in the sidebar (Carolyn is a former art director so I wasn’t surprised that she sent me a gorgeous ad, and her illustrations are really fantastic, no kidding.) ASAP! If you’d like to participate in the ABDPBT Featured Bloggers Program, please email me and I’ll put you on the waiting list.

Comments (3)

  1. Jenna
    May 12, 2010

    Thanks for the insight Anna! Blog ads as a revenue stream is something I’m just now starting to consider for my blog. Will definitely have more questions about this in the future.

  2. May 12, 2010

    Not that I’m anywhere NEAR traffic levels that would make any advertising make sense, but I still have a question:
    Do you get any sort of control over what does or doesn’t appear on your site when you sign up with BlogAds or at any point in the process? I seem to recall (and correct me if I’m wrong) that with your former ad network you could say in the early part of the process that you didn’t want certain kinds of ads to be served and I’m just wondering if that holds true with other networks (or if that even still holds true with BlogHer, my recollection is from several years ago).

  3. May 12, 2010

    yes. you can accept and reject at any point in the process, and you actually have design control over the ads as well, though I haven’t been organized enough to mess around with the CSS to fix the styles yet. So, like I cannot mess with their artwork exactly, but I can mess with the code so that the fonts and margins match my site, along with the borders and links, etc. You can also set the prices. It gives you a lot more control over that than my former network. Right now I’m playing around with things so it’s kind of crazy. I’m going to see what the market will support and then eventually I guess I’ll have more of an idea of what my set prices and sizes will be. If you look at the parenting hive over there it’s kind of strange, there’s a big range for what people are charging and I’m not sure how many of them have really taken the time to figure out what the best prices and sizes for their particular site would be. I cannot say I blame them, either, though because it’s kind of confusing. But I will definitely be bothering to figure it out. But by the way, in one week I’ve already beat last month’s take on my former company, so I cannot really complain.

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