Sure-fire Ways to Increase Your Online Ad Business
Another Publishing Business Conference & Expo is over. I enjoyed catching up with many of you and, of course, time away from the office isn't a bad thing.
During the three days of conference sessions, I was searching for practical ideas and suggestions on how to increase revenue, lower costs and develop new e-media business strategies. At the same time I wanted to avoid predictions on what the publishing industry would look like in five, 10 or 25 years from now. The problems publishers face today can't be solved in 2015 or later, they need to be fixed today.
I was able to discuss some practical ideas with both attendees and exhibitors, while at the same time was shocked to hear some uninformed folks claiming the death of not print advertising, but an end to online display advertising. You may want to reconsider your opinion.
Sure, I understand that the banner ad is dead or even the assertion that run-of-site (ROS) advertising is hanging on to a very short rope. Any publisher who still relies on placing a 468-by-60-pixel ad on their home page or e-newsletter for a flat monthly rate, or sells 150,000 ad impressions at $25 per thousand needs to let go now, and there won't be a soft landing.
What I kept hearing during the conference was that good, quality content will survive and that we need to be prepared to deliver it whenever, wherever and however our readers want it. As publishers with a track record of sustaining a business in print, I hope that content exists. Assuming it does, the future of our online advertising success rests with leveraging that same content.
Our plans include serving highly targeted, content-relevant advertising that yields response in the double-digit percentages. Yes, I'm talking about 10% or higher click-rates, not .10%! Combined with behavioral targeting based on what a reader has viewed, e-mailed or commented on during a previous visit as well as the information provided from a voluntary registration for a subscription, white paper download, webinar sign-up, etc., I'm confident the "banner" is not dead.
Forget the idea of larger ad units; they're not the answer. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) announcement last week introducing new "in-your-face" ad units won't work. The OPA should quit while they're behind and leave these decisions up to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). A 970-by-418-pixel "pushdown" or a 468-by-648-pixel "XXL box" isn't the answer to revive online display advertising.
Ads should be created directly from a content management system (CMS) promoting new sponsored content offered by an advertiser. Other creative ideas will use lead-generation forms that allow for interactivity in the ad itself, basically eliminating the landing page. These are ad units that scream "interact with me," like polls, contests, free offers and discounts -- not ones that simply have a company logo, little or no call-to-action and end up with the marketer on the phone asking why the ad got that .10% click-rate.