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.