RSS advertising and metrics player FeedBurner is moving beyond feeds with its latest initiative. The company seeks to expand the volume and type of inventory it offers advertisers by enticing publishers, especially bloggers, to display its ads on their Web sites.
As with the company's RSS ads, the site ads will be associated with individual content items such as blog posts. To participate, publishers insert a line of code in their page templates and choose whether they want an ad to run in each content item, every second item, or every third. Ads will be either in a text format or a 300x250 medium rectangle graphic ad, a size optimized to appear in the middle column of blogs.
Feedburner Vice President of Business Development Brent Hill told ClickZ he expects the offering to be most attractive to blog publishers. Hill said current ad formats on blogs, which often relegate them to a left- or right-hand column, don't take advantage of the most common blog layout, which often results in a very lengthy, and content rich, middle column.
"What happens is people scroll down the page more often on blogs," he said. "There's an opportunity there for marketers to intersect with consumers."
By entering into this category, FeedBurner puts itself in competition with contextual ad networks from Google, Yahoo Publisher Network and Kanoodle, as well as blog ad networks such as Blogads.
Hill said FeedBurner advertisers can target ads, which are priced on a CPM basis, by content category. With the site ads, they'll also have the option of running ads on just the most recent content, or potentially running sequential ads in subsequent blog posts. It can be "almost a Burma Shave concept going through the blog," he said. Advertisers can run just site ads, just feed ads, or both.
Though the site ads aren't yet being displayed, Hill said publishers in the consumer electronics; computing and technology; and current affairs categories have signed up to participate.
One of those is Alan Warms, publisher of the RealClearPolitics blog, who said he isn't concerned that additional ads could create clutter on his site.
"Our users understand that we have a free medium," he said. "It sorts itself out because we're tracking our stats. If there are too many ads we're going to know about it. If the ads aren't effective and aren't generating a click-through rate" they will come down.
Feedburner's Hill expects the new distribution to increase the company's available impressions immensely. Right now, he said, the ad network delivers "tens of millions of impressions" every month on feeds alone, while, in most cases, a blog's Web site gets far more traffic than its feed.