Google just rolled out a new product aimed at providing additional revenue for publishers. The new product, Google Customer Surveys, is being marketed as an alternative revenue model for publishers weighing whether to erect paywalls on their sites.
How does it work?
When users visit the web sites of Adweek, New York Daily News or the Texas Tribune, they'll find some articles that are partially blocked. If they want to continuing reading, they'll have to answer a question or two. Thank you, Google.
It might be questions like "What's your favorite alcohol? Gin, Vodka, Beer, Wine or Whisky?" or "Are you planning to buy a smartphone in the next 6 months?"
Advertisers pay Google to run the surveys and gain insights, and Google pays sites 5 cents per response. Publishers can choose to frequency-cap or erect the survey-wall on all stories.
Will it work?
It's increasingly hard for brands to gain insights through surveys. Too many of them and slim chances to win the all-elusive $10 Amazon card. People just stopped answering questions. While Social Media delivers actionable insights, many smaller or mid-size brands don't have the money to pay for the luxury of social insights. In my personal experience, the first time I encountered the microsurvey, I was surprised. Still, since I wanted to read the content, I answered the questions truthfully. Within 2 days, my behavior changed dramatically. Whenever I go to an Adweekarticle, I expect the survey and my mind goes blank until I answered the questions without even reading them anymore. Even worse for publishers: Whenever I encounter a link from SurveyWall, I hesitate to even click on it because I know I have to do work to get to the content.
My expectation: You will see more of these microsurveys because they are a bit friendlier to users than strict paywalls. Over time, the survey results will become useless and the readership of the survey-wall sites will decrease. That will be the end of it. And the publishers' bandwagon of finding new ways to monetize will move on.
Uwe Hook is the CEO and Co-Founder of BatesHook, Inc. (www.bateshook.com) and a veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with the goal of building connections between people and brands. Uwe can be reached at email@example.com.
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