FTW Media

Thoughts about New/Social Media

Don’t clutter the site with ads

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David Chase, owner and publisher of Sun Valley Online, suggests 10 mistakes online newspapers should avoid. The most important one is item No. 4:

Most newspaper sites clutter up their pages with as many ads as possible. After all, if there are more ads on the page, doesn’t that mean more ad revenue? [Hint: No] Many of these sites also use tiny static ads. There has been ample research on ad effectiveness of various types of banner ads. Apply that insight. While banner ads are the mainstream “solution” today, I’m fully convinced that new models of matching buyers and sellers will emerge. Google’s AdWords has been the “killer app” for online advertising but there’ll be others. Our motto is to test, analyze, refine, test, analyze, refine. I have little doubt that we’ll look back 10 years from now and laugh at what we considered to be state of the art.

I’m convinced that in the Malaysian context, the way to make money is not through CPM-based banner ads. Yes, it’s important to have some banner ads (to get impression-based revenue). And it makes sense to have some CPC-based Google ads as well. But the real money is in campaign-based ads which is based on duration (one week, one month, etc) which goes beyond the banner ad.

So far, I have not seen much creative use of such ads in newspaper sites though some bloggers have done it well. Jeff Ooi has done some very interesting things for LG. Here’s an example.

News sites have far more content offerings (in terms of variety and volume) than any one blogger can possibly produce. As such they have far more opportunities to offer creative, campaign-based ads. Online contests, product placement and sponsor messages woven into multimedia content are but just a few of the unconventional ways to promote an advertising client’s message.

The important thing to remember though is transparency. When there’s a sponsor, it should be obvious. Everyone knows Omega sponsors James Bond movies, so when you see Bond wearing an Omega watch, you are not offended or irritated. You even kinda look out for it.

So, forget about cluttering the homepage with all kinds of banner ads. Have some ads but focus on the campaign-based ones.


Written by Oon Yeoh

April 4, 2009 at 6:21 am

Posted in New Media

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