Gold, Just Lying on the Ground

Everybody loves free content. Free news, free videos, free blogs…let the party never stop. Who could even imagine paying for content on the Web?

Advertisers, that’s who. Coca Cola, Chevrolet and Adobe (to name a few) pay for ad space and audiences. Banner ads are cheap, and bloggers sell the real estate for them by the thousands. Video ads cost more, and content providers (Hulu and YouTube, perhaps) make a tidy profit. Even the New York Times can’t pull off paid content; about 15% of their revenue comes from digital advertising. It’s around $100 million per quarter, they’ll pull through.

All these millions in ad money pay for our beloved free content, of course, and advertisers aren’t just big-hearted softies. They expect something for sinking their profit margin into their ad budget, and the gluttonous consumers of free content (us) pay for content by clicking on their ads. We click in hordes; Facebook users in the US alone clicked 41 million times in 2011 .

That’s all old news, of course; digital advertising is where the big money is. Ads provide the only source of revenue for many online companies and blogs, and advertising is a sizeable portion of almost any website’s income.

Sadly, banner ads no longer provide streams of excited consumers flocking to e-tailers. Years of exposure to annoying display advertising has left blog readers with “banner blindness”:

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That’s what banner blindness is, and it’s killing display advertising. Ad content doesn’t even matter because users don’t even see the ads. Advertisers and creatives should be actively searching for new channels of display advertising that don’t have terrible CTR or banner blindness problems.

So…what if there was a novel source of advertising real estate that nobody’s selling on blogs, or video sites, or social networks? That’s what advertisers are dying for.

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