Wattpad, the online reading and writing community, is launching Wattpad Futures, a new program that will place paid advertising between the chapters of selected stories on the site. Every time a reader views an ad, the writer will earn money.
Ashleigh Gardner, head of partnerships, Wattpad Studios, said the new program will feature “interstitial” advertising between chapters of works posted on Wattpad. Gardner said the program, which will initially run video ads, will eventually include display ads as well. The ads will be placed every few chapters and will also appear every 30 minutes during a reading session.
According to Gardner, about 100 writers invited to be part of a beta test earned nearly a $1,000 a month through the program. Some, she noted, earned nearly $2,000 a month.
Wattpad Futures is the latest effort by Wattpad, which now claims some 40 million visitors to the site each month, to create a revenue stream for its most popular authors. Gardner said the program is an extension of things like Wattpad Studios, Wattpad Stars and Wattpad Brands, which were all created to "help our writers make money.”
Although Wattpad Futures advertising aims to be, in Gardner's wording, “appropriate” to the works in which they appear, she acknowledged that the company is working with an ad network and, initially, ads will vary widely in their content. “We’re planning on working directly with some advertising partners so there will be ads that are literary and book-related,” she said.
Gardner also stressed that the Futures program is designed to provide revenue for a larger number of authors than previously-launched programs. Wattpad Stars, for example, features many of the site’s most popular writers, who create native advertising for Wattpad Brand Stories. Wattpad Futures, Gardner noted, will be aimed at a much larger pool of writers and is expected to provide payments to “thousands of writers."
While Wattpad Futures will be invite-only for writers at its launch, Gardner emphasized that the program will use criteria beyond an author's popularity on the site. She said that the genre and subject matter an author writes in will be important but, ultimately, more writers will be recruited for Wattpad Futures than previous programs.
Correction: Ashleigh Gardner's title has been corrected; and Wattpad Futures will be by invitation just at the launch of the program.