Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Money For Nothing, Clicks For Free: Could Facebook Make Blogging Profitable?

Danny Angove explores how Facebook could become a profitable blogging platform in the near future.

Here’s a controversial opinion: in ten years’ time, most self-hosted blogs won’t exist. The evolution of social media sites into content-hosting platforms will, for the most part, render self-hosting unnecessary. Instead, bloggers will publish their content directly to – and have it hosted by – Facebook, Twitter, or whichever social media site they think fits them best.

On the surface, this might not sound great for the majority of bloggers. What it does mean, though, is that some bloggers might actually make a bit of money from blogging.

Now, it goes without saying that if a publisher chooses to publish their content on Facebook, the platform will place some adverts alongside their posts; this is Facebook, after all. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Facebook’s obviously not going to give the blogger all the money they make from placing ads next to their blog. I’d be very surprised if they let the blogger place their own ads next to (or within) their posts, too. What isn’t unimaginable, though, is that Facebook may offer the blogger – or, perhaps, a large independent publisher – a performance-based financial incentive to migrate their blog to Facebook’s platform.

Facebook could strike a deal with a popular publisher – say, music discovery website ‘The Line of Best Fit’, which averages about two million readers a month – to migrate their blog, and all their past and future content, to their hosting platform. In return, The Line of Best Fit would be given a small percentage of all the money Facebook makes from placing ads alongside their content.

This would be a win-win. For the publisher, it would mean that more people than ever before would be exposed to their content, and therefore their brand. Facebook’s currently averaging 1.86 billion monthly active users. That is, by anyone’s reckoning, a whole lot of people. If even 0.5% of them happened to stumble across one of ‘The Line of Best Fit’s’ posts, which wouldn’t be unimaginable, if the blog was made prominent on Facebook’s platforms page, it would mean that they would more than quadruple their average monthly readership.

Facebook would also make a lot of money from this. If we use The Line of Best Fit as an example, we can estimate that about two million people a month would therefore visit the new Facebook-hosted ‘The Line of Best Fit’ site. These people will all be served advertisements by Facebook; advertisements that they would never have been served if they had been visiting the old, externally-hosted version of The Line of Best Fit. Multiply this by a few hundred thousand blogs’ worth of readership (and subsequent advertising revenues) and you’re beginning to see the start of a pretty big business.

All-in-all, I think it’d be a win-win. It would mean that bloggers could profit from their work, and would ensure that the consumer is always served with a beautifully-designed, and easy-to-navigate, blog.

What’s not to like about that?