This blog post offers a cross-platform look at a variety of things that will change how businesses and consumers interact in the future.
Almost halfway into 2015 already, these are some of the key ways marketers and web publishers will be able to monetize their digital content. They represent opportunities to expand your business and help you keep a competitive edge in a market that is quickly becoming saturated with ideas.
1. Video Advertising
I’ve placed this first on the list because, among the following options, video ads are disliked the most — not because they are ineffective, but because eight out of 10 video banners on websites automatically play regardless of user interaction. This is especially annoying when they are placed below the fold where a reader hasn’t reached them yet, thus making it difficult for them to understand where the intrusive audio is originating from.
However, FreeWheel’s Video Monetization Report revealed that there was a 368% growth in authenticated video ad views in 2014. The report also provides statistical proof that users are willing to sit through TV-like ads in order to see their preferred content.
Video ads can be served on your website as banners with limited size windows like 300x250, 300x100 or even 468x60. Another way of utilizing them is to place them before content videos — the way Google does with YouTube videos. Once clicked on, the ad unit can lead to a strategic landing page or to the full version of the ad copy.
The underlying benefit of video ads is that they are easy to understand as, according to scientific research, the human mind is 90% more receptive to visual and audio cues than plain text.
The reason why 3D is the marketing tool of the future is because it combines visual storytelling with user interaction. Visitors are introduced to a whole new level of experience rather than just going through text and/or image ads.
3D helps combat banner blindness because it packs in more information. These ads rely on continuous human interaction to function and they are very well-designed.
3D ads look especially great on mobile devices and tablets because users can interact with the three-dimensional models of products, rotating them for inspection from all angles. Creating a visual experience coupled with the personalization of touch-and-response, a 3D unit will help companies drive their brand messages home to consumers.
Experts estimate that 3D ads will provide value to web publishers as well, because they provide intrinsic value and inspire user confidence — both of which positively influence click-through rates.
The video below shows an example:
3. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is a new business model rapidly picking up momentum in the market due to that fact that it helps web publishers, bloggers and marketers more effectively monetize their businesses.
Think of the IoT as the single brain center of your entire digital marketing landscape — integrating campaigns, logistics, inventories, consumers, opportunities and threats, helping you avoid losses and identify risks.
It adds connectivity and sensors to a smartphone or a computer to remotely control day-to-day objects, like a refrigerator or even a room’s air-conditioning system; however, its application goes beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
How does the IoT help you monetize content?
Imagine the world of possibilities when companies will need content by marketers to better reach out to their customers to enable a seamless transition and operation with the IoT. There will be a huge demand for infographics, whitepapers, webinars, guides, how-tos, etc.
Therefore, it is time to start asking questions and developing strategies that are in line with technology. Engaging narratives and visual experiences, "taken from a computer to a smart watch," crafted just for the right consumer with the right device.
The hook of Freemium content is “engagement.” The key is to nurture customers with free web series, tutorials or offers until they are willing to pay for the actual service.
This is not something new; marketers have been using the Freemium model for content marketing for the last 10 years. It’s just that we didn’t have a name for it.
The Canada Media Fund’s report titled "Monetizing Digital Media: Trends, Insights and Strategies that Work" points out that “in the freemium model, microtransactions drive incremental revenue.” In other words, you offer your service/product free and charge only for value-added special features.
For example, in the video gaming industry, developers encourage regular players to make in-app purchases to enhance their gaming experience; and infrequent players are targeted with in-app advertising. Essentially, companies are able to target both segments of their target audience and maintain a consistent stream of revenue.
Also, Freemium products should not be confused with ‘‘demos.” A demo traditionally shows you how a product works and its features, by a company representative. Whereas in the Freemium model, the consumer gets to use the product hands on. Here, 20% of an application’s features are free for the consumer to use with complete access to its premium features only coming through in app purchases.
5. Mobile Monetization
This method is not new, but it’s on the list because its full potential has yet to be realized.
As mentioned earlier, the FreeWheel report has shown that in the third quarter of 2014, video ads served over smart phones and OTT devices have increased by 77% and 208% year on year, respectively.
Building interfaces, content and apps around mobile units is a step towards maintaining a competitive advantage because the market is rising and will continue to do so. In-app advertising is one of the most popular techniques that bloggers and content developers are using for monetization.
Publishers, on the other hand, are accepting “sponsored content” on their mobile websites, which has a huge amount of incoming traffic. Another method is by giving access to premium content on mobiles to users once they have signed up and become subscribers.
Using the power of of geo-positioning, companies are able to target customers with specifically tailored products/offers/ads based on economic and cultural factors. E-commerce has also shifted to mobiles given the revenue opportunities it presents in the form of enabling users to conduct purchases anytime, anywhere and reducing check-out time.
But beware, users are less forgiving on mobile units than they are on desktop units. Mobile units are personal devices and they are highly engageable; if users are met with substandard content or an unresponsive page design, then they will bounce as soon as they arrived.
Bonus: Motorola Spotlight Stories (user-allowed interactive ads for mobile units)
This next point is one of my own. To my knowledge, nothing is currently being developed in the direction of this idea (not to the public’s knowledge at least).
To better understand what I’m proposing, please take time to watch this video first, if you do not know what the Motorola Spotlight Stories are:
I believe this creates countless marketing and monetization opportunities for companies. How?
By combining Seth Godin’s “permission marketing” with an interactive visual experience.
Imagine that in order to check out the inside of a new car that you are thinking of purchasing, you download a small ad (yes, you download an ad because, technically, it is only that) wherein once you start the "story" you find your point-of-vision sitting in the back seat.
You are then led by the interface to see the inside of the vehicle in all its glory, allowing you to look wherever you want and for as long as you want. The idea is to give you the power to examine a fully functional car from the comfort of your home or while traveling.
And the beauty of it? You can download the ad if you want to. It is not forced upon you; rather, it’s pitched to you or attached in an email. And with the integration of social sharing buttons, a viewer is allowed to share it with his/her followers and friends.
The revenue possibilities of developing and publishing such content is limitless in my opinion. Someone only needs to execute it.
If I have left out a particular monetization technique that you feel will be a game changer in the future, let’s discuss it in the comments below.