[Advertising analysis] Are inline ads worth it?

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Content marketers often take pride in not doing advertising of any kind.

“We use unpaid methods to reach our audiences. #boom”

And that’s fine but it’s also smart to try other pieces of the marketing pie. For example, I’ve actually spent over $15,000 on running ads just for myself. That’s over years, but still.

I’ve also had clients who grew content marketing projects quickly when they jumped on the social media advertising or native advertising band wagon quickly.




And then there’s the piece of running other people’s ads. I also run sponsored links on here that people pay me for. I have affiliate links to Amazon, too. And then of course there are Google Ads.

Google Ads have made me some money but it’s far less than the $10,000 or so I’ve given them. The other $5,0000 is social media ads – if you are doing the math at home.

But Google Ads revenue has shot up once I added their inline ad on here!

Here’s a video of how that looks – scrolling down in an article:

The ad is created through code from my Google Adsense account. Head over there and set that up if you don’t have an account. Under “Ads.”

Then my longtime developer Matt Thiessen built a WordPress plug-in for me that inserts the code after a certain paragraph. He has set it to 3rd but you can do whatever really.

It only shows on posts and not pages. One thing to keep in mind when writing is that I don’t want an image or some kind of call or because the second and fourth paragraph as the rendering can be wacky.

An image align right with the top paragraph seems to be just fine.

What’s an inline ad anyway?

It used to be that ads were up top and in the sidebar. Of course, right sidebar blindness is a real thing and when people visit from mobile they don’t see the sidebar at all.

So inline ads are within the content. Some people call it native advertising, because it’s native within the content. I prefer inline ads.

Here’s how that looks on the Des Moines Register – similar to other newspaper sites:

As you can see there are plenty of inline ads. Why? Because it’s making them money. Readers have to at least scroll by them and there’s maybe a higher chance to see them? At the least you are getting impressions, if people keep reading.

You can also use inline ads for other non-advertising calls to action. For example, on interiors + sources it was used to drive people to a social media webinar I’m doing:

Inline ads can be used by advertisers on publisher sites but also by marketers as inline calls to action.


Do inline ads work?

Based on the numbers Google sent me, I would say they are worth trying:

Everything is trending up despite pageviews being down month over month. That’s nice to see and I’ll ride that horse ? for a bit here.


Heck, ads get viewed more than my actual content – I guess. ??


Looking at Google Analytics I see no indication that the ads (I even had a second one a few paragraphs further down early on) are working. Time on site went down a bit but is still hovering near 4 minutes.


Conclusion on inline ads

Content marketer or publisher, I would advise that you’ll try them if you aren’t.

Readers appear to tune them out less so that’s a good thing. And of course, remember to use them as part of your overall strategy. And if you are on the advertiser or content marketer side of this relationship make sure your ads are optimized for conversion!




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