Wattpad grows ad-focused model

The Toronto-based platform is expanding its suite of ad products, aimed at driving more brand dollars to its site.

In a bid to bring more ad dollars to its writing platform, Toronto-based Wattpad has introduced a new tool aimed at giving brands more direct access to an engaged audience of voracious millennial readers.

The tool is part of a new Wattpad Futures program, with a goal of sharing some of that revenue with its 2.3 million global writers to keep them motivated and active on its platform.

Wattpad in story ads Through the program, ads will be inserted in between chapters, aimed at grabbing the attention of a reader when they’re fully engaged but also in-between chapters to create a less interruptive experience for readers. Writers get paid every time an ad is viewed, according to the platform.

Wattpad’s CEO Allen Lau puts the onus of access to the site’s free content on its audience of 45 million readers. “Now, they can help subsidize some of the cost of writing, without paying out of pocket,” he stated in a press release.

The company has debuted in-story ads after a beta testing period that shored up a 95% click-through rate.

Wattpad already has several marketer-focused programs. Its Brand Stories allows marketers to reach its audience by contracting writers with substantial readership to develop narrative stories around their products or to enhance messaging that fits their brand. In Canada GoodLife Fitness and Cadbury have both bought into the program.

And Vancouver-based writer Rebecca Sky was commissioned to write a story around a U.S.-based campaign for Athenos’ greek yogurt range. Sky executed the series by developing an Eat, Pray, Love-type of story about a young woman who travels to Greece in search of love and learns authentic Greek recipes (all of which involve yogurt) along the way.