Passionfruit Ads Helps You Sell… Well, Your Own Ads.
By: Jennine Jacob

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Bloggers often start with advertising as their first line of defense when it comes to monetizing. Granted it’s the easiest to think of being as publications have been making money off of ads for over a century. However, actually building up enough revenue with ads is easier said than done. Ad networks generally pay in the neighborhood of $1.50 CPM for better ones, I’ve seen them as low as $0.58 CPM. Some grant higher premium rates, but when you’re starting out, or even if you have built up a good amount of traffic, like say 1M impressions per month, that would only warrant about $400 each ad (being as much of the inventory is localized).

Selling your own ads can be a great way to boost the income. For years, bloggers have utilized what’s called “boutique ads” to give smaller companies access to their dedicated niche audience. You can see on blogs like A Beautiful Mess as an example of this. However, actually setting something like this up, requires setting up your Media Kit (which you should have anyway) answering emails, negotiating, processing the orders, following up with payment etc. Sending 10 emails back and forth for a $50 ad is not an example of good productivity.

…answering emails, negotiating, processing the orders, following up with payment etc. Sending 10 emails back and forth for a $50 ad is not an example of good productivity.

Which is how Passionfruit Ads piqued my interest. As a WordPress (self-hosted) user, there used to be many plugins to help ad management. However, over the years, as the Open Source community has increasingly gone the way of actually charging for their labor, finding quality plugins, even premium plugins turned out to be a daunting task.

Passionfuit Ads works with any blogging platform, except WordPress.com (because WordPress.com does not allow ads.) the service helps you set up your ad space, allows you to set your price and description and then gives you the code to set up a page where potential advertisers can pay and upload their ads. Taking the guesswork and negotiation out of the whole ad-buying process for both you and the sponsor.

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According to Jason Lynes, founder of Passionfruit Ads, currently, they have about 6,000 bloggers in their network and are in the process of building tools for advertisers to find blogs. Eventually the network will allow you to set up a profile brands can review, so you can have more access to potential sponsors than through your own blog.

Update: A number of you were commenting about controlling the ads that appear on your site. Passionfruit does have an approval process for advertisers, so no ads go on your site unless you give the ok.

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So far, it looks promising. I wonder if cutting out the negotiation process with reduce sales, however not having to deal with the emails an uploading certainly increases productivity, so we can all focus more on what we love most, and that’s blogging.

Comments

  1. rachel says:

    This looks a great idea! A bit annoying it doesn’t work for WordPress though!

  2. Teri says:

    I tried Passionfruit ads and initially loved everything about it. It was easy to set up, looked great, etc.. It seemed like the perfect solution to selling ad space. I had to remove the script after I continually found my site hanging and not loading because of the script. I gave it a month and just didn’t see enough of an improvement. I’d use it again if the service improves with load time.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      Hmm, that’s good feedback. I’m uploading them to IFB tomorrow, so will have to find out I guess the hard way!

    • Jason Lynes says:

      Hi Teri, thanks for the feedback!

      We’re always improving the service of course, but there are many things that impact ad performance. I’d be happy to take a look at your blog and see why the ads were slow.

      Speed is really important to us. We have 12 servers displaying 8 million ads a day, and ads show up immediately in most cases.

      Jason
      PF

  3. daria says:

    One thing I’m not sure about is that anyone can purchase ad space. What if the brand doesn’t fit the blog, but they already bought an ad? *thinking*

    • Jason Lynes says:

      Hi Daria, anyone can purchase an ad, but it’s first sent to you for approval. We strongly believe you should only show ads that are relevant and fit your own brand. If you reject an ad, we refund the buyer and send them a nice soft rejection email :)

  4. Clara says:

    I love passionfruit ads! I’ve talked to their people on twitter a couple times and they’re very friendly. I’ve got the widget installed on my site, but (and this is embarrassing) I’ve never actually had anyone purchase an ad… I’ve done swaps and whatnot but no one has ever actually bought adspace on my site! It’s fairly cheap as well, considering my traffic (which is available in my media kit! I feel like i’m doing everything right!!). So frustrating.
    Any advice?

    xx Clara
    http://www.thatgirlmag.com

    • Hi Clara!
      That part can be frustrating for sure. We dont sell ads for you, we help you sell them on your own and we host/organize it all behind the scenes. We do have an amazing marketplace and directory launching soon that will make a for a fun community of buying & selling. In the mean time it never hurts to reach out! If you have an ad special running tag @passionfruitluv and we will retweet it to our network for you, do more swaps to work up to paid ads, announce that you are taking on advertisers in your blog & make sure to make your ad shop look desierable and full of all the things you do for your partners! It can take time, but we are here to give you more time to do those little things including creating great content and building better relationships!

    • Tiff Ima says:

      Hi Clara,

      I wanted to chime in here even though I’m a new blogger and I don’t even have enough viewers to offer advertising yet! haha

      I checked out your sponsorship and I have a little advice. There is a lot of competition out there for advertising and a lot of other blogs offer participation in group giveaways, guest posting social media mentions, and offer advice in general in addition to the ad. These will help customers maximize exposure, so I am more likely to budget for that type of advertising.

      I’ve also purchased ads from bloggers who offer sales. Even if it is only 15% it is eye catching, especially when worked into a blog post.

      :-) hope this helps!

      Tiff Ima

  5. Avatar of Chaucee from Streets and Stripes

    I use Passionfruit and they make it so simple and easy! Best decision when it came to opening up advertising on Streets & Stripes. Never looking back!

  6. I absolutely love Passionfruit. They streamline SO many emails for me so I have more time to work on other things. Plus, some bloggers or companies are nervous to reach out to bloggers (I don’t know why!) so I feel like I’ve gotten more advertisers when they see how easy it is to buy through Passionfruit. Plus, they can also buy with credit card if they don’t use Paypal! It’s only a $1 charge per ad (so cheap) and they send you a payday on Friday, which also helps me save money throughout the week. LOVE Passionfruit and would totally recommend for anyone! I’d never ever go back to the way I was doing it before.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Tieka,

      Great looking site! I’m just curious…I noticed you have a “Sponsors” section on the righthand side and then a link if anyone wants to sponsor. Then when I got to that page I noticed the selling of the ads. Is running the ad on for them and sponsoring the same thing? I feel confused….

      I’m just trying to navigate exactly what Passionfruit does. AND, what if I barely have any readers? Does it matter?

      Thanks,

      Ann

  7. Dana says:

    Passionfruit rocks! I’ve used them since they launched and they have really streamlined my whole advertising process. I no longer have to keep notebooks and worry about manually scheduling/ending ads and sending invoices. I’d definitely look into using them if you’re thinking of or currently selling ads.

    xo Dana
    http://www.thewonderforest.com

  8. Rachel says:

    While I’m happy with dealing with my own ad space at the moment, I like the sound of upcoming features to help advertisers find blogs; I’ll be checking back for that!

  9. Dana says:

    Passionfruit rocks! I’ve used them since they launched and they have really streamlined my whole advertising process. I no longer have to keep notebooks and worry about manually scheduling/ending ads and sending invoices. I’d definitely look into using them if you’re thinking of or currently selling ads.

    xo Dana

  10. Jenn Staz says:

    I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. Maybe it’s the control freak in me, but I like to be able to form some sort of relationship before I choose advertisers.

    In the ad world, I find that I spend most of my time fighting off random people like gambling websites.

    This feels a little messy and impersonal to me, but again, that might be my Type-A speaking.

    • Jenn that part can totally be scary! Here’s the thing, we dont just pick advertisers for you =) You still have so much control & more time to create better content and build those relationships. Some of our users that love what we do, but can’t give up the control use us in secret (for reals!). They set up an account and we do all the work, but they keep the ad shop page -where you buy the actual ad- private and only share it with users they think are a good fit. No ad goes live until you approve and after that the dirty work is left up to us. You might try a practice account and have the shop on a non-published sponsor page just to try it out xo

  11. Avatar of Thedressychick

    Ads and all the follow up and negotiating that comes along with it, is a big time hog I will admit. However when you first start working on getting ads it is good to know all it entails…it is a lot of work. When you get too busy to do it all yourself, I would say this is a great tool, I wonder what the fee is?
    http://thedressychick.com

    • We charge just $1 per ad sold, if you do swaps or import ads yourself there is no fee. There are credit processor fees as usual, but our end is reasonably priced at a very low less-that-a-cup-of-coffee rate! In using us you create an ad shop to sell your ads (you can view mine here: http://blog.justlove.ly/p/sponsor.html), your advertisers purchase and we process. You then approve or deny and we host it. You have a dashboard where you see start & stop dates, we send out renewal reminders and you are in complete control including what to include in your ad. It really spoils us bloggers =)

  12. Sami says:

    I’m already using this and it makes the process so much easier!!

    To any bloggers wanting to advertise my prices are $2-6 and my blog has over 1,200 followers :D
    Just check the ‘contact’ page on my blog
    samispoon.blogspot.com

    Save 20% in feb too with code “fromifbwithlove” :D

  13. Rynaque says:

    Interesting article! I’m so gonna try this ad network out. I recently started distributing my media kit and i must say, it does feel kind of rewarding. :’)

    Have a lovely week guys!

    Xx from sunny Singapore

  14. Avatar of Kajsa J. Andersen

    I am going to take a look at this post carefully :)
    http://kjandersen.wordpress.com/

  15. Avatar of Just Me aghan

    I use Passionfruit ads and love it!
    Makes it easy to “swap” buttons too by exchanging a code. :)

    http://justmeaghan.com

  16. Sounds great, what blogger isn’t interested in having more money and more time to blog or spend with loved ones!

    Does Passionfruit also work outside of the US? I’d love to hear feedback from Australian bloggers!

    • Christina @ Hair Romance says:

      Hi Cheryl, yes it works outside the US. I use it on my sites and I think Styling You and Woogsworld use it too.

  17. Ok, giving it a shot.

  18. Seems like an excellent idea ! Just starting out, but once I have enough traffic, I would love to use this one ! Thanks you so much Jennine !

  19. I have been looking for an alternative since adbrite went out of business, thanks! I will definitely check this out!

  20. Avatar of Tiffy Diamond

    This is amazing I’ve been looking for something like this. I will be signing up today thank you!
    xo
    Tiffy
    http://www.CuteLA.com

  21. Nina says:

    This looks like a really great tool, but I’m so irked that it’s not compatible with WordPress.com! I’m finding that many things aren’t — LinkWithin and Rafflecopter to name a few. :(

    - Nina

    lefancygeek.com

  22. Avatar of Lydia
    Lydia says:

    Thanks for sharing this website!

    ravenmaidenmaven.blogspot.com

  23. This looks right up my alley. Thanks for the info!

  24. Alex McClain says:

    I think this ad process sounds great and I would love to try it, except I use wordpress.com for blogging. Thought about switching over to WordPress.org, but didn’t know if it was worth the hassle…=/

  25. Avatar of Rafello Myles

    Great post. I am now using Passionfruit can’t wait to see what happens.

    Rafaello Myles
    http://blackanismo.blogspot.com/

  26. Avatar of Vicky
    Vicky says:

    We signed up for it and installed it as well.. just took a few min to get it working on our fashion blog See for yourself..

  27. tripti says:

    Great post!!

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  28. Avatar of Miss City Chic

    omg thank you so much for introducing me to this! i cant wait to check it out <3

    http://www.misscitychic.com/

  29. Bunnie says:

    This is interesting.
    I’ve actually been using Project Wonderful for a little while, and like their system, but I haven’t seen much movement on m ads, and they keep delisting my ad boxes. I’m rather curious about Passionfruit now, in that you can set a price rather than waiting for the highest bidder! I wonder which model would actually bring in more revenue when I start getting more traffic?

  30. I’ve been using passionfruit since September 2012 (I think) and I love it! I have sold way more ads through passionfruit than I ever did before because advertisers can just buy the ad themselves, upload it themselves and they dont have to deal with sending emails back and forth. Since ad prices are visible and the ad sizes explained clearly, they know exactly what they’re getting. Passionfruit fees are so reasonable too. I really love it!!

  31. michelle says:

    Hi there,

    Just to be clear, this does not work on the wordpress blog but will work on the website? My blog is wordpress – the website is php.

    Looking forward to your reply.
    Thaks-Michelle

  32. Ann says:

    Ok, I am trying to make sense of all this…! Basically, you sell space on your blog to anyone who want to promote/advertise on your blog. It’s simultaneously being called “sponsoring” but it is kind of different right? I mean, it’s not like sponsoring the way Aimee, Rumi, Kelly, Shea Marie, or Chiara are getting sponsored but it does help your site. I think I’ve got that bit.

    Now, here’s the thing: I barely have any readers. So this is where it works for bloggers trying to increase their readership, right? I could find an awesome blog, that has a high number of visits, and buy an add–in this way, I’d be able to hopefully get some traffic to my blog.

    Am I looking at this incorrectly, or is that the gist of it? At some point I’d love to be able to offer ads or have sponsors; for now, I’m just looking for readers and this might be one way to go about it–if I’m willing to pay.

    Thanks for this post! And everyone’s comments. Thanks too to IFB. I couldn’t do it without you!

    Ann ;D

  33. Susan says:

    I signed up and started using passionfruit ads – I loved it – only used it mainly for swapping buttons with other bloggers but made it so easy and looks nice and professional on my blog
    but, now that passionfruit has started charging fees I can no longer afford to use it – frustrating for a mom blogger who cant pay much for extras on her blog – wish there was a free option
    any ideas if there are similar sites to passionfruit that have free options?
    really missing passionfruit!

  34. Sharon says:

    Yep, try adproval. MUCH better than passionfruit.

  35. Ben says:

    I’ve used passionfruit for a few months and the idea is great. Customer support however is terrible, need help from them? Forget it!! I’m looking for an alternative to passionfruit.

  36. Andrew says:

    I am filing a dispute against passion fruit right now. My ad is pending there for weeks. Their customer service is horrible. They ignore my emails and no refund offer. You should stay away from passion fruit.

  37. GlamThings says:

    I love this tool!
    I will go and check it out now!(:

    Best Regards,
    Yelena
    http://www.glamthings.com/

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