Alternative ways for online publishers to create revenue

Many traditional print publishers now have online offerings, allowing them to access new revenue from digital marketing.

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Many traditional print publishers now have online offerings, allowing them to access new revenue from digital marketing. Until fairly recently this was done mainly through the ubiquitous form of banner advertising.

However, recently the rise of ‘banner blindness’ has struck the internet as explained by Jakob Nielsen: “people won’t see ads at all, ads might as well not exist as far as users are concerned.” The stats certainly back this up as although the typical internet user is served 1,707 banner ads per month, click-through rates are as low as 0.1%.

Publishers who used to make money from banner ads are therefore suffering a drop in the revenue being generated. So what are the alternative ways to create advertising revenue online?

Text Linking

Ok, so this is really simple. Companies like Skimlinks monetise any existing product links you have by turning them into equivalent affiliate links, or they search your content for product references which can then be turned into relevant affiliate links.

Image monetisation

Monetising images is a great way of getting more relevant advertising on your page and because of the way we consume content, images are more likely to generate interest than random, generic advertising.

There are various monetization companies such as Luminate, who overlay your images with an ad that they contextualise based on keywords in the surrounding text. Or Stipple who place icons on top of your image linking to relevant products to purchase.

Marrying content and commerce

For years publishers have wanted to get more value from the content they already generate. More is now possible, with examples such as Esquire who are launching an online retail store. The editor-in-chief, David Granger, explains, “Magazines have already done one essential thing — we’ve made people want things: a better life or better shoes…But for the hundreds of years magazines have stopped short of delivering that desire”. Therefore, large-scale publishers could be earning revenue by selling products which they have already marketed through their content on their own online stores.

Syndicating content

Another inventive way of creating revenue is by syndicating content. For example, Hearst Magazines syndicate their content to women’s lifestyle site, republishing existing content from their portfolio. This is a great, effortless way to make the most of your content whilst not having to use it to advertise irrelevant products.


Monetising video is the big next thing in online marketing. As Google product marketer Mel An Chan says: “When we think about the multi-billion dollar future of digital advertising, we believe that much of that growth will be driven by video. Video advertising is a very compelling way to connect and grow an audience.”

This quick run-through demonstrates the variety of options for publishers seeking new revenue streams. In our tech-savvy age, there is no excuse for irrelevant, stale banner ads to be languishing on our pages, instead publishers should look towards advertising that enhances the user-experience, drives engagement and delivers sustainable revenue.

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Posted by simonholliday