September 20, 2005

What's the causal connection between blog traffic and blog advertising?

Gordon Smith observes that all but three of the highest traffic blogs have advertising. What's the causal connection? I doubt that having ads makes you popular, though there is a slight chance seeing ads gives people the feeling the blog is popular/professional and makes them want to keep visiting. It's more likely that having high traffic makes you more likely to accept ads, because you can charge more for them.

And maybe the sort of person who writes a popular blog is also the sort of person who would both want to make money and accept the idea of ads on the blog. That is, the sort of person who would have a thing against ads also tends to be the sort of person who writes in a way that doesn't appeal to the crowd -- but I note that Gordon didn't study how many lower traffic blogs have ads. By the way, Gordon does not have ads.

Note: He's relying on the TTLB traffic ranking, which is limited to Site Metered blogs. He also notes the TTLB problem of blogs that share a Site Meter, making it look as though each blog gets much more traffic that it does. I note that if advertisers then rely on the Site Meter, they are being duped.


Unknown said...

Presumably blogs with higher traffic would garner a prettier purse for their ads, no? It may not be worth my time to enable ads for the daily nine-tenths of a penny I'd get from taking Alpo ads on, but some of these blogs get 100,000-ish visitors; I would assume that's real money. Plus it entails higher bandwidth fees, so advertising might be other than truly discretionary.

Charlie Martin said...

Uh, when you have a high-traffic blog, having blog ads pays enough to be worth the trouble?

Kathy Herrmann said...

The bigger issue with advertising is the interest of the advertiser.

A marketing person has to consider not only the time required to decide where to advertise and consider the time to monitor and analyze results. Then there's the cost of designing the ad -- and blogs don't tend to have the same standard size formats of conventional publications. The cost to design a BlogAd might be cheap (and the ads look it) but the cost to design a "good" ad will run somewhere between $500 to $1000 minimum.

No media buyer is going to go to all that effort for a small-traffic website.

Using Google Adwords (the one for adverstisers) let's media buyers disburse their ads across a variety of online medium for almost no design cost. It still requires monitoring, but a marketing person can do so in the bigger sense of an overall AdWords activity and not website specific so it's a spread out cost.

As for the blogger, I think there are a number of reaons why folks advertise.

1) Defray bandwidth costs.
2) Bigger audiences tend to go hand in hand with higher quality content and also quantity. Blogging then becomes more and more like a job and folks need to eat so the profit incentive kicks in.

Eddie said...

I have google ads on my blog, I can say with some certainty that the click through rate is very low. I would assume that this is because loyal readers will only click on ads once, and will ignore most of them after they become immune to them.

I do the ad program for the extra revenue source it brings in. The thing I don't like about it is the program requires clicks to actually earn me any money, and not just page views. Oh well, I certainly don't rely solely on that income.

Ann Althouse said...

What's all this talk about bandwidth costs? At Blogger, we pay nothing.

Also, it is very easy to do a BlogAds ad. You just write the text and upload a graphic. Click on the "buy an ad" link on one of my ads and check it out.

As to having ads because it makes enough money to worth the trouble, that woudn't explain why anyone bothers with Google Ads. They make pathetically little!

Eddie said...

I am kind of curious, and you needn't answer this if you don't want to. Does anyone ever donate via the paypal donate button on your blog?

Ann Althouse said...

Eddie: Sometimes people donate. It's nice when a reader gives $10, you know. It means something. It's encouraging.

Bruce Hayden said...

I still have a hard time believing that there is no connection between what you make and having the ads. Why would you be any more mercenary than the rest of us? You just have (a lot) more readership.