In their next step in monetization, Wattpad is introducing an additional layer of advertising with the plan to pass the majority of earnings onto the content creator.
The ‘Futures’ program will introduce video ads that run between chapters and eventually be available to any writer who chooses to opt into the program.
“We know how challenging it can be for writers to monetize their work, online in particular,” explained Suzanne Spence, Wattpad’s Head of Global Brand Partnerships in an interview with Techvibes yesterday. “We are creating a scaled way for writers to make money and in some case truly change their lives.”
Each month 2.3 million writers post content on Wattpad, attracting around 45 million monthly readers. Since the program launched in beta this summer, invited writers have made upwards of $1,000 per month. For now, advertisers are limited to the existing partners of Wattpad’s Brand Stories, but will open to direct advertisers in the future.
The integrity of the reading experience is not lost on Wattpad as they are seeking appropriate content to maintain the user experience.
“We are very data driven in our approach,” explained Spence, “We are seeing a 95% view-through rate on the ads so far. Thats an amazing indication that this is a way that our community can have an additive experience or at the bear minimum not feel like it’s intrusive.”
Although Spence has only been with Wattpad since January, she is a former Googler spending over 5 years with the tech giant and much of it working on YouTube. She recalls her work with YouTube and is bringing those learnings to Wattpad.
The similarities between the two content platforms are rather uncanny. Though smaller in stature, Wattpad has produced its own set of stars, most notably One Direction fan fiction writer Anna Todd whose first novel After has been optioned for a feature length film by Paramount Pictures.
Spence is looking create more stars out of this program. “That’s the vision right?! We would love to change as many peoples lives, allowing them to pursue their passions full time, as we possibly can.”