In recent weeks we’ve been writing frequently on challenges facing website owners looking to monetize their existing traffic through display advertising. In an attempt to deliver value to advertisers and overcome “banner blindness,” many publishers are seeking out creative opportunities to present ads to their visitors. Odds are you’ve encountered CAPTCHA dozens of times in your time online–most commonly in the form of skewed strings of letters that must be entered in order to advance past a certain stage in a registration or purchase process. CAPTCHA is quickly becoming a meaningful monetization revenue for publishers, and we recently had a chance to chat with William Goldbach, Executive Vice President at Confident Technologies, to get a closer look at this revenue source.
Confident is one of the leaders in the “sponsored CAPTCHA” space; here’s what William had to say about this opportunity:
MonetizePros [Michael Johnston]: Why is sponsored CAPTCHA becoming so popular? Is there any evidence these placements are more effective than traditional display ads?
William Goldbach: CAPTCHAs are a very new channel for advertising but early evidence shows that it is a more effective platform than traditional display ads. Much research has shown that the vast majority of Internet users completely ignore banner ads and other display ads on web pages. It’s often referred to as “banner blindness.” In contrast, Internet users as a whole spend more than 1.16 million hours every day solving CAPTCHAs across the web. That’s 1.16 million hours of consumer engagement daily – something very valuable to advertisers. By including their ads within the CAPTCHA solving process that consumers are already engaging in, advertisers are guaranteed to receive consumer engagement with their ads. This active participation and engagement on the part of the consumer leads to greater brand and message recall.
Additionally, online advertisers currently struggle to ensure that their ad clicks and impressions are coming from real people and not bots. By including ads within a Confident CAPTCHA, advertisers can be sure it’s a real person viewing/clicking on the ad and not a bot, because bots are not able to complete the Confident CAPTCHA challenge.
MonetizePros: There are a few companies in your space offering similar opportunities. How does what Confident Technologies is doing differ from, say, Solve Media?
William Goldbach: CAPTCHA advertising is an emerging field and there are a few main players on the scene today. The key differentiator for Confident CAPTCHA is that it’s entirely image-based — users simply tap/click a few pictures to prove they’re human. Consumers don’t have to type a phrase or decipher distorted text, making Confident CAPTCHA much easier to use (especially for users on mobile phones and tablets). The image-based approach also makes it easily understandable across international geographies. Text-based CAPTCHAs that force users to type or decipher English language phrases are exceedingly frustrating for international audiences.
Perhaps most importantly, Confident CAPTCHA uses standard IAB ad sizes and formats which enable us to deliver excellent fill rates – meaning that we are able to always display ads so the website/publisher is making more revenue. Other advertising CAPTCHAs rely on custom-built ads so they often don’t have enough ad inventory which causes them to revert to displaying non-paying CAPTCHAs or plain old distorted text CAPTCHAs. We also partner with several ad delivery platforms so we can target ads to fit a publisher’s audience or vertical. If a publisher already has a preferred ad delivery platform, we can easily integrate with it.
Finally, Confident CAPTCHA is highly customizable so websites can easily configure it to match their own look and feel, upload their own in-house ads, or change the security/difficulty level as needed.
MonetizePros: We’ve seen a number of “non-traditional” monetization methods becoming increasingly popular in recent years. What are your thoughts on what the monetization picture looks like for publishers five years from now? What other “incremental revenue” opportunities do you see as exciting for publishers and advertisers?
William Goldbach: Advertisers are looking for new ways to fight banner blindness by delivering their messages through channels that are interactive and engage the consumer. Publishers who want to attract those advertisers will need to adopt new techniques and technologies that can deliver consumer engagement. New techniques for “native advertising” are emerging and will continue to emerge over the next five years, as publishers adopt tools to help them monetize actions/processes that users are already engaging in on the website. Examples include new plugins/technologies allowing publishers to monetize the login process or the registration process. The continued “gamification” of advertising will also mean that savvy publishers can earn revenue from providing engaging “gamified” actions on their sites (such as competitions, check-ins, rewards for completing certain tasks on the site, etc.)
Finally, the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets will continue to drive new monetization opportunities for publishers as more and more consumers use their smartphones to browse the Web and make purchases. Traditional display ads do not work well on mobile sites because there is so little real estate on small smartphone screens. Publishers should look for other emerging technologies and techniques that monetize mobile content in ways other than display ads. By keeping an eye out for new and emerging technologies that enable the monetization of existing user behaviors on a site, or effective monetization of mobile content, publishers will continue to be successful earning incremental revenue over the coming years.
MonetizePros: Thanks for taking the time, William!