Monetizing Free Wi-Fi Using Ads

Advertising is one of the most popular ideas for how to monetize a free Wi-Fi service. And, it is a great idea. Most customers accept that if they consume a free service, then they are the product.

Supported also through research is that the majority (60 percent) of consumers want real-time offers while visiting a store. Most of them (57 percent) will share their location, age and gender to get relevant advertising.

Relevant is the keyword here. If you know you have to watch advertising in exchange for the Wi-Fi access, the ads might just as well be about an interesting subject.




Wi-Fi Advertising Challenges

Relevance is crucial for the whole business model of Wi-Fi advertising.

Low Volume of “Eyeballs”

If you think you can be profitable just by delivering random adverts, then think again! Such an approach comes with challenges. The advertising market is built for websites and blogs with huge volumes of users. The market price for a random advert is around 5.8 USD cents per click. Meaning 1,000 clicks is 58 USD, which is not much to build your Wi-Fi business on.

In addition, the venue owners may want to approve the ads and if users are forced to watch the ads, are they really paying attention?

It’s All about Quality and Not Volume

A video view or app download pays better. Likewise, a premium location such as an airport with a monthly potential audience of a few million people, can bring in substantial money for an exclusive sponsorship. We have seen customers getting 70,000 USD/month. Some of our customers are using shared sponsorships where the user can select from three sponsors. The user then has to watch a video, look at a banner or take part in a survey to gain access.

To make Wi-Fi Marketing work, you must go for quality and not volume. Serving a targeted audience is key. It starts with collecting relevant data about the users. Otherwise your can’t offer a targeted audience and will have to settle for the 5 EUR cents per click. With relevant data you will achieve a win-win-win situation. Consumers win because they will only get advertising they are interested in. Advertisers win because they get a targeted audience. You win because you get more revenue.

Think in segments. Adverts targeting men aged 40-50 travelling between Stockholm and London at least three times a month, pays better than broadly targeting all people using a smartphone. Similarly, a detailed survey eliciting responses to somewhat sensitive questions, pays better than one with a few general questions. However, don’t overdo it with too complicated survey forms. What’s the point in designing a quick and easy on-boarding of users if they then have to wade through a 30-question form?

Privacy and Portal Design Matter

Never forget that privacy matters. Thus, you have to make sure that your marketing is privacy-protected. Learn more in our consent & personal data management section.

Portal design is crucial for your success. You must design portals primarily for mobile devices and in a way that makes it easy for people to complete the sign-up. By changing the portal design, one of our operator customers improved the rate of successful sign-ups by 15 percent overnight! For them, it meant 15 percent more income from adverts, by just changing the mobile user experience.

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