Brands looking for the next trend in sponsored content may need to look no further than popular commenting platform Disqus, which announced its launch of Sponsored Comments, an opt-in native advertising product, in a blog post.
“Because Disqus now helps websites make money from engagement and discussion, a natural question came up—can we use the concept of Featured Comments in order to allow brands to reach specific audiences? This was the idea behind Sponsored Comments,” wrote Disqus general manager for audience David Fleck in the post.
Fleck stressed that Disqus crafted the new product with an emphasis on preserving the quality of the user experience. While the Sponsored Comments will appear in a page’s thread, “they’re not part of the discussion happening on that thread or community itself,” he said. “That’s too disruptive.”
Rather, they’re pinned to the top of the discussion environment in a manner that Fleck likened to movie previews. “It’s not the thing you came for, but if done well, it adds a little bit to your experience without being intrusive,” he said. “We’re testing whether or not we can make this true.
“We have a lot to learn about advertising within Disqus. We want to understand what kinds of sponsored content will work well versus ones that won’t be so great,” Fleck wrote. “But the overarching goal is straightforward: ads people are OK with.”
Pricing for the ad units will be impression based to start, Fleck said in response to a blog comment, adding that Disqus will explore other pricing models after learning how users are engaging with the unit. Disqus is starting with a small set of advertisers and may open the program up to a wider group later this year.