Native Monetization and the Importance of User Experience

Last month in a post on our blog, we referenced a video interview with Jesse James Garrett, author of The Elements of User Experience. In this interview, Garrett points to a trend among technology companies in which they are now starting to invest heavily in developing and improving user experience (UX).  In that post, we shared that we often talk with publishers who are struggling to balance user experience with monetization.

Distracting, often irrelevant display ads have a way of pulling attention away from a site’s content and negatively impacting user experience. Some publishers maintain the false perception that they need to choose between either readers or revenue. While that may have been the case years ago, today there are monetization tools that fit seamlessly into a site’s content with negligible impact on UX and solid revenue generating potential. An example of one of these tools, of course, would be VigLink.

We weren’t surprised when we came across a whole slew of recent articles addressing what is now being called “native advertising” or “native monetization.” What we realized is that times they are a-changin’ when it comes to what readers expect when they visit a site. No longer are they willing to put up with things like pesky pre-rolls and flashing banners. For this reason, Choire Sicha argues in his article “The Pretty New Web and the Future of Native Advertising,” the internet has changed. “It’s an internet where [display] ads are considered no better than spam.”

How, then, are publishers going to make money off their sites, and how are advertisers going to reach their audience? As it turns out, “the hot word in advertising right now is ‘native,’” Sicha divulges. “All native means is that advertisers are now getting to come closer to presenting advertising that is less distinguishable from what they like to call ‘content.’” What does that mean for publishers? It means that many advertisers and merchants no longer want to pay a premium to be present around your content, but rather, they want to pay to be present in your content.

Thanks to this dramatic shift in reader expectations, “for the first time in digital ad history, a publisher’s revenue model is now aligned with user experience,” Dan Greenberg contends in his article “Why Native Ad Formats Are the Future.” “Instead of alienating viewers with ads they don’t want to see – and interrupting the content experience they came to the site to experience – now publishers can integrate sponsored content seamlessly throughout their sites.”

For publishers, this means you’re ahead in the revenue game by having chosen to implement VigLink. As you consider your published content, remember to focus on new user expectations, native monetization, and “the pretty new web.”


Whitney Smith, VigLink Marketing Communications Manager

What Does UX Have to do with Monetization?

Last week, Mashable posted a video interview with Jesse James Garrett, author of The Elements of User Experience, and a pioneer in the space as it applies to the web.

Garrett points to a trend among technology companies in which they are now starting to invest heavily in developing and improving user experience (UX).  As he sees it, companies have shifted from taking a narrow, tactical approach with graphic designers (buttons, menus, and fonts) to evaluating the entire picture of what makes a truly beautiful experience. Where UX was once a check box on the long list of tasks to complete a project, it has now evolved into an essential part of product strategy, and, for some businesses, a key driver of success.

When working with publishers, we often find them struggling to balance user experience with monetization. Distracting, irrelevant display ads could actually turn readers away, undermining the entire business. Yet monetization doesn’t have to compromise user experience. There is no foregone trade-off between readers and revenue. For example, limiting the number of ad placements while holding them to a strict measure of relevance and quality can help retain readers and maximize ad engagement.  Of course, VigLink is a tasteful solution to monetization that respects user experience. By affiliating links within your content, VigLink doesn’t rely on the traditional tricks of distraction or interruption. By integrating a monetization solution into actual content (vs the white space around content) publishers can avoid the pitfalls of banner blindness, enhance the user experience, and still earn revenue.

For some, user experience is at the heart of how they run their company. For others, it’s a philosophy that drives the smaller, tactical decisions (such as monetization). Garrett’s interview got us thinking about how we incorporate user experience into our business. As you think about the same for your business, consider the old Google mantra – “focus on the user, and all else will follow.”

Whitney, VigLink Marketing Communications Manager