Content LockingExamining Content Locking as an Alternative Visitor Monetization Method

Providing they begin with a properly optimized site, unique content, natural link building and the inclusion of a few paid traffic sources, most sites have a chance to develop a steady stream of visitors within their first year. Save for the occasional “Panda” or “Penguin” attack, these approaches typically generate a strong visitor base for most online businesses. But, while bragging about the number of unique daily visitors can be a favorite pastime for some, successful online business owners know that visitor monetization is the key to profitability.

Monetizing site visitors requires creativity, deep understanding of visitor behavior, solid site structure, and quality content. Often, even with those four crucial items in place, revenue generation from site visitors is still difficult to achieve due to the limitations of conventional visitor monetization methods. As a group, traditional visitor monetization methods rely heavily on ad relevancy. If an ad isn’t relevant to a particular site visitor, the monetization
opportunity is wasted. Even when an ad is relevant to a user’s interests, there is no guarantee that the visitor will take action. Banner ads are a perfect example, ubiquitous as they are across the web, yet they are easily avoided by site visitors who simply choose not to click on them. Another example of a popular monetization method, the use of text link ads, can be also be passed over by visitors, and this is often because their very appearance is seen as just another monetization attempt by a site owner.

One fast-emerging option for online business owners who aren’t seeing results from traditional visitor monetization efforts is to integrate content locking into their overall monetization strategy. Content locking is the practice of preventing visitor access to a particular piece of content (e.g. video, song, guide, eBook, mobile app or game, online tool, online game) until a visitor completes a specific action. Most often, this action is to complete an advertiser sponsored offer, provided by a content locking advertising network. Once the action is completed by the visitor, the site owner received a commission from the advertising network and the content is now made available to the visitor, i.e. it is “unlocked.”

To help provide a deeper understanding of content locking, and to help determine if content locking is a good fit for your current visitor base, let’s examine the key steps in the content locking process.

Choosing Content to Lock:
The first step in the content locking process is to choose which content should be locked. Businesses that thrive using content locking have content that
is unique and/or in-demand. If visitors are going to take an extra step to view your site’s content, they need a compelling reason to do so. Regardless of content type (e.g. audio, video, text, app), if your content is compelling, your visitors will make the extra effort to access it.

The device that actually prevents a visitor from accessing the content on your site is called a content gateway. Unlike other visitor-facing monetization devices, content gateways can be customized with images, text, and site colors to help create a more integrated experience for site visitors.

Adding a gateway to a website requires a site owner to add a snippet of JavaScript code, which is essentially the same process as adding a display ad.

Campaign Selection:
When it is time to choose which ads to feature in your visitor monetization campaigns, quality content locking networks provide you with a few more choices than those that are offered by most traditional monetization networks. Besides choosing which offer will work best with your site visitors, content gateways often allow you to automatically display offers based on EPC, visitor country, or in a multiple offer rotation.

Unlike banner ads, your visitors may not be used to seeing gateways on your site. Therefore, if you decide to begin monetizing your site visitors via content locking, it is recommended that you do so incrementally. Careful consideration should also be given to the page placement of your content gateways, as misplaced gateways may disrupt your site’s user experience. By adding gateways slowly to your site, you are able to gauge visitor response, compare the performance of content gateways versus your other visitor monetization efforts, and split test gateways for optimum performance.

Ultimately, unlike traditional visitor monetization methods, content locking success relies heavily on creating quality content. Introducing content gateways slowly to your visitors is a good approach that will allow you to better gauge which direction your content creation efforts should headed in the
future. With compelling content to drive it, content locking offers highly effective monetization and a good website visitor experience.