One of the quickest ways to start monetizing a website is to publish Google Adsense advertising on it’s pages and generate revenue from the visitor click throughs. Since Google started it’s Adsense program over in 2003 it’s been an unrivaled source of income for website owners.
All that could be about to change, with the recent announcement that Facebook is planning to start serving advertising outside of it’s core social network, with the advertising picking up the data on what ads to serve to the viewer from their own Facebook account.
For online business owners and internet marketers this raises a number of interesting questions about the way we generate income from serving advertisements on our websites.
The first and most obvious question for existing Adsense publishers is ‘how will it affect my income from Google Adsense?”. In the short term given that Facebook will take some time to acquire as much website inventory from website owners as Google has you most likely won’t see an immediate shift in your Adsense income, however over time it is inevitable that Facebook will be aggressively acquiring potential ad space, and that could mean in the beginning a potential higher percentage being paid out to those willing to run the ads. If the price is right it would mean that you’ll likely be running two ad networks on your website to see which one generates the most income.
The second question that arises is around how Facebook will decide what ads to serve. Google Adsense works by looking at the content of the website the reader is on, and serving ads based on what the reader is looking at at the time. This means if you run a website on Ford cars, then Google will likely show you very relevant ads to new car deals, accessories and other items that closely relate to the topic of the website. As a website owner you have some influence over the ads that are served to your viewer through the content you create, and the viewer feels that the advertising is highly relevant to them.
If Facebook are going to show external ads on your website, with data taken from the readers Facebook preferences, this does raise the question of how much influence the website they are on has on the advertising relevance. People have very diverse interests, and it could potentially affect the number of visitors you attract to your website if Facebook start serving up irrelevant ads that are not related to the subject you’re publishing. If your website is about Ford cars, and the viewer has a strong Facebook community based around basketball, it’s going to feel a very odd and intrusive experience visiting your site about cars and getting served sports ads.
Whilst it is early stages, since Facebook haven’t yet started implementing an official external advertising program to rival Adsense just yet, with Facebook internal advertising only converting at an average of 0.5% clearly this is going to be something that Facebook are keen to accelerate into the market to start driving their profits.
With Google likely watching this story unfold with a keen eye, online business owners and internet marketers who are currently earning revenue from Adsense should definitely do the same.
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