Ad Networks Vs Affiliate Banners! Which is the way forward?

One thing that kills business is the fact that people read or hear things and make strategic decisions without proper research backed by data and facts.

We have read and heard that making money with banners is dead because of a sickness called banner blindness. This happens when visitors to your website consciously or subconsciously ignore your banners.

But activities around the web are a clear proof that you can still monetize and make money selling ad space on your blog. On the next five blogs you are going to visit today, four are certainly carrying some banner-like information.

That’s clear evidence that it still works and you too can benefit from this exercise and generate some additional income from your blog.

A common question I get from many newbie bloggers is whether to sign up to an affiliate network, grab some banners and paste on their blogs or join some ad networks that will allow them sell space to advertisers.

In either case, I tell them you can still make money. It boils down to what you want. Whether they are affiliate banners or advertisers’, the truth is banner noise may be a problem but you can still make money with it.

It is difficult to clearly state that one of these is better than the other. For most people, affiliate option allows them to choose whatever to place on their blogs.

To add to this, if you are smart in affiliate marketing, you can quickly grow your earnings and build a lucrative source of passive income, promoting products that pay recurring commission.

However, there are two problems linked to affiliate banners:

  1. Commission theft
  2. Refunds

Commission theft is something you can control. Simply cloaking your affiliate links or promoting products that tag special coupon codes to affiliate accounts, you stand a better chance not to lose your commissions to thieves.

But for refunds, you are at the mercy of the buyers. If they are not satisfied with the products bought, they are simply going to hit the refund button and you loos the commission instantly.

You may make the terrible mistake of not wisely choosing the product to promote. The sales page of the product you promote may not convert to your satisfaction. The banners you choose may not be well designed to attract clicks, etc.

Ad blindness in Affiliate Marketing is even more consequential. The same banners on your blog might have been published on a thousand other blogs and that has a huge multiplier effect on the blandness.

Though a few vendors may want to do unique and customer banners for some of their affiliates, this will not be a large scale solution you can rely on.

These and more are some issues you will have to deal with if you go by the option of affiliate banners.

So what about Advertising Networks?

This looks like a better option for a few who know they are never going to have to deal with commission theft, refunds, low conversion, etc.

They simply signup to a network like Publicityclerks and hope for advertisers to buy space on their blogs. It sounds exciting but if no one buys your space, you are never going to make any money.

While some advertisers may buy space on your blog for a longer period of time, the recurring earning with Ad networks is limited in scope.

The main problem in monetizing with Ad Networks is that most of the widely used platforms are so difficult to go through. BuySellAds for instance is a good example but getting most blogs accepted on it is like a monstrous luxury.

Despite running a pretty active blog with thousands of readers (and over 50000 monthly impressions as required by BSA), I’ve tried this network a couple of times to no avail.

The bad thing is that they won’t even tell you where you are wrong. They are keeping from you the most vital piece of information that is required for improvement.

There are many BSA alternatives out there but most of them are filled with garbage. Besides looking for networks that will quickly accept your application, it’s crucial to pay serious attention to the quality and number of advertisers on board.

Some folks will recommend charging about $1 CPM. That means for every 1000 impressions your blog generates, you get paid $1. If your monthly impressions are 50k, you should be charging $50/month for ad space on your blog.

Well, I think the banner space and position also matter. Banners above the fold get the most exposure and conversion is generally the best.

But here is what I recommend…

Once you’ve made your choice of the ad network, make a list of sites as popular as yours on that same platform. Find out how much they charge for various banner spaces. The next thing is to find out if they are really selling space on that network. Then set your prices within their range too.