Friday, May 13, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: HubPages goes further to appeal to advertisers and marketers

Say you're a publisher -- one that doesn't have nine digits of uniques or a "founded" date of 1998. How do you compete with leading established players in the content space?

It ain't easy. Most buyers have go-to publishers they use to reach and connect with certain audiences. These buyers tend to be satisfied with their choices -- after all, if they weren't satisfied with them, they wouldn't be buying them.

I want to emphasize that this isn't about buyer laziness. Rather, in a time crunched environment where results are essential, most buyers choose to go with media options that they know consistently deliver. Does that mean that something that might work EVEN BETTER may get overlooked? Perhaps. But in the absence of strong reasons to believe that a new choice will outperform the go-tos, buyers tend to stick with what they know.

So for newer media players, no matter how good their content, it's tough to attract the attention and dollars of leading digital buyers. To break into that exclusive club of preferred advertising solutions, new entities need to do more for advertisers.

HubPages is a community of more than 200,000 writers who join to get a forum through which to discuss what they are passionate about. These enthusiastic writers have created more than 1.1 million topical "hubs" through the company's easy-to-use page building tools and search-friendly architecture. The site reaches between 16-21 million uniques a month and its authoritative pages tend to score very well in the major search engines.

The topics covered by HubPages are legion, from Autos to Business to Games to Health to Personal Finance to Travel. There are, for example, almost 18,000 hubs about cars alone. From General Motors Corporation (18) to Vintage Cars (16) and Hot Rods (26). They range from slick and corporate to digital expressions of one person's all consuming obsession.

As we all know, the search engines love content-rich pages that are updated often, and the HubPages community delivers. Essentially, these 200,000 "Hubbers" are super bloggers anxious to monetize their knowledge and expertise through HubPages' revenue share programs. And the community offers a number of avenues to getting paid for your content.

HubPages feature a variety of ad formats from other companies, including Google AdSense, Kontera, Amazon,, Microsoft pubCenter, ValueClick and Glam Media. But it is with HubPages' own ad formats that the company is working particularly hard to earn the attention and dollars of the buying community. In addition to the gimme IAB sizes, HubPages offers a variety of truly massive and multi-functional placements that born integrate from page content and stand out from it. Like this:

Their large units can combine text, Flash, apps, pre-roll, and interactive video in experiences that are very much "foreground." I liken them to even larger versions of AOL's Project Devil units.

Similar to a Federated, HubPages can also work with brands on content integration including Hubber endorsement and special sponsored content with more extensive information about a brand than may be available anywhere else. Their ad services team can also make custom, and assist in the production of creative for the company's large ad sizes.

Why do they do all this? I think it relates back to my first point. In order to demonstrate that they can deliver more, they need to do more for brands and viewers alike. In addition to the creative freedom available, the community also offers a broad range of targeting options, including:

Audience Segments

So brass tacks. Will HubPages perform better than other content sites for you? Dunno. I would imagine it will depend upon the brand and the objective. But I do think they are offering the content, targeting, and creative options to warrant a look see.

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first.

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