Online Advertising And Its Impact On Web Design

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In recent years, advertising has become a major revenue source for many websites. Not too long ago, online ads were often met with disapproval from visitors, and advertisers were unsure about their value or effectiveness. Today, most visitors have come to expect ads on commercial websites, and advertisers have recognized the potential of various online ad opportunities. Ads have long been a part of print publications, such as magazines and newspapers, and now they essentially have the same role in online periodicals and publications.

Although advertising is a concern for website owners and those pushing products or services, it is also has an impact on Web designers, because they have to be able to design and develop websites that can produce ad revenue and still meet the needs of visitors. Clients with websites that depend on ad revenue need a design that provides the necessary screen space and a proper layout for selling ads, and advertisers need placement that will get them the exposure they seek.

While advertisements are hardly the primary concern of Web designers in general, not accounting for them will result in a very awkward layout that can either detract from the flow of the website or put the ads in a spot where they will not receive enough attention from visitors. In order to maximize ad revenue for the client, with minimal interference in the appearance and usability of the website, the designer must take advertising needs into consideration throughout the design process.

Ads on The Raw Story1 seem to be squeezed in wherever possible, to the detriment of the content.

Screenshot2

Starting with the Basics

Of course, not all websites sell advertising space, but a growing number of them do. As the popularity of blogs continues to rise and designers get more requests for custom blog themes, this issue will only become more common. An adequate discussion of the subject requires starting with some basic issues.

Why do advertisers pay for ads?

Obviously, advertisers buy ads to gain exposure and improve their bottom line. The goals vary from one campaign to the next. Some may be primarily concerned with brand recognition and general exposure, while others are only concerned with sales of products. Online advertisers may be looking for click-through visitors from their ads, but ultimately all advertisers look for a strengthened business as a result of their campaigns.

Web designers can have some impact on this issue by their placement of ads. Of course, designers cannot completely sell products or services for advertisers, but ad placement is key to click-through rates and so has a sizeable impact on the success of an ad campaign.

Screenshot3

What are advertisers paying for?

Are advertisers paying for clicks by visitors? Are they paying for sales conversions? Are they paying simply for the screen space? Each of these is a possibility and depends on the situation. AdSense ads, for example, pay publishers per click. Affiliate ads pay per sale or per action. Direct ads, such as most banner sales, are generally sold at a set price for the screen space and location.

Keeping the desires of advertisers in mind throughout the design process is critical if the website is going to be selling ads directly to other businesses. AdSense and affiliate ads can be placed just about anywhere on a website, although the results will vary, but direct ad revenue will depend on what advertisers feel they are getting for their money. If they are paying for prime on-screen real estate, that’s what they’ll expect.

Why do websites or businesses publish ads?

Advertising can be very lucrative for websites with a large volume of traffic. Although there are other ways to monetize a website, ads are one of the few ways in which a website owner can quickly capitalize on existing traffic without any additional work, such as developing products or providing services.

Bloggers publish ads because the revenue allows them to earn income and essentially pay themselves for the time it takes to write content and maintain the blog. News websites sell ads because they typically have large audiences and because their offline business models, such as for printed newspapers, aren’t able to produce as much ad revenue as they have in past years. As a growing number of consumers turn to online publications rather than the daily paper for their news, ad revenue will shift from print publications to online options.

In most cases, ad revenue is critical to the success of the business. For this reason, it must be a priority during the design process. For a service-based business that uses a website to sell its services to visitors, the designer’s job includes creating a website that effectively promotes those services to visitors. The same thing can be said of websites and businesses that rely on ad income.

Screenshot4

Why are Advertisements an Important Part of Web Design?

For website owners and businesses that rely on advertising income from their websites, this is obviously an important part of the website that needs major consideration during the design process. Not having enough space or the right locations for ads will have a dramatically negative impact on the business. Once that happens, attempts will probably be made to move ads or open up new slots for sale, which could cause the website to look awkward and unorganized, because these areas were not originally accounted for in the design.

Websites with advertising revenue as their main source of income can be compared to e-commerce websites that depend on selling products in order to continue doing business. No designer is going to create an e-commerce website without making the placement of products, descriptions, and images in the layout a priority. Likewise, website businesses that require ad revenue cannot compromise on advertising space.

Advertisements are also a significant part of the design process because of the impact on visitors. Although a website may rely on advertising income, visitors are a critical part of the equation. Without them, ad revenue disappears. The website owner and designer need to incorporate ads in a way that still allows for a positive visitor experience.

The Conundrum of Online Ads

While website businesses that sell advertisements want and need those ads to be noticed and appreciated by visitors, a delicate balance is required. Aside from made-for-AdSense websites and websites set up solely for affiliate income, a typical website set up for ads needs to send a portion of its visitors away to the websites of advertisers in order to continue generating that revenue, but it also needs to retain a majority of visitors in order to grow itself. Keeping all visitors will result in no ad revenue, and losing all visitors to advertisers will result in no growth for itself.

Website owners and designers need to consider this issue during the design process so that the locations and sizes of ads are appropriate and so that the ads produce revenue with minimal negative impact on the website. Offline ad publishers don’t necessarily face the same dilemma. A magazine may run full-page ads throughout the publication, but when readers see an ad that interests them, they don’t necessarily stop reading and put down the magazine.

In the online world, a click on an ad could result in a visitor not coming back. Ads can be set to open in a new window to prevent this, but that still doesn’t guarantee that the visitor will come back after clicking the ad.

How Do Advertisements Impact the Design of a Website?

Regardless of how much attention designers give to advertisements in the layout of a website, ads will in some way impact the design. Ideally, the designer has accounted for specific ad slots in the design and laid out the website accordingly. In this case, ads can be implemented on the website in a way that does not disrupt the flow of content or information and that gives the ads a specific and strategic location.

On the other hand, if ads are not adequately considered during the design process, they can look very much out of place, which will disrupt the rest of the website. Layout and design decisions that were made without consideration for ads will rarely work well when ads are incorporated in the website.

Layout and Spacing

Advertisements can easily take up big chunks of space in the layout of a website. Whether it has one large banner ad or several smaller ones bunched together, the layout will be affected. Some websites will spread out various advertisements throughout the website, others will confine them to a specific area and leave the rest of the website ad-free.

The strategy here depends of several factors, but websites in particular industries and niches tend to take similar approaches. For example, major news websites typically have advertisements spread throughout the website’s layout. They may not include several ads in any one specific area, but they do have many spots that contain few ads.

CNN.com5 contains a few advertisements spread throughout the website.

Screenshot6

In contrast to news websites, many blogs keep banner ads contained within a designated area of the layout, typically the sidebar, and the rest of the blog may contain no ads. With this approach, the designer needs to account for advertisements in one large area of the layout, but the rest of the website will have little or no need to accommodate ads.

Blogging Tips7 includes six 125 x 125-pixel banners in the right sidebar, and the only other ad is a banner just above the comments on individual posts.

Screenshot8

Because ads are often used in sidebars of both blogs and news websites, one major consideration in designing the layout is the width needed to hold ads in the sidebar. For example, many news websites have 300 x 250 banners in their sidebars, so the sidebars must be big enough to contain the banners. If this consideration is not a part of the design process, monetization opportunities and potential income will suffer, or the layout will have to be changed later.

Of course, the sidebar isn’t the only common location for ads. Many websites sell ad space in their headers because this location usually brings the highest ad price on the page. In that case, advertising needs to be a consideration when the website is designed or else there will likely be no space available in the header. Typical website headers include a logo/branding area and primary navigation. To include space for advertisements, all of these items could be made to fit in the header design, or primary navigation could be moved elsewhere.

CSS Tricks9 is one of many blogs to include a banner in the header. In this case, the 468 x 60 banner fits nicely in the design of the header.

Screenshot10

Colors

Web designers can’t control the color or design of banner ads used on their websites, and definitely won’t be able to in future, but they can consider the possibilities when developing a color scheme for the design. Banner ads are often colorful and bright, for the purpose of grabbing the attention of the visitor. If a website is designed with lots of different colors and shades, it could look awkward and too busy with ads that are also full of color, especially when those colors don’t go together.

Some websites that display a lot of banners will need a muted color scheme that avoids potential color overload for visitors. In some cases, these websites need the ads to stand out in order to draw more attention to them, and color can be a very effective way of achieving that.

Flow

One of the challenges designers face with any type of website is to present the content so that the visitor’s eye is drawn to important information. The typical pattern of the eye’s movement on screen and the flow of content in the website’s layout can be influenced by ads. Website owners looking to maximize ad revenue will often include ads in locations where the eye is drawn to, because these locations tend to produce the best results and the most ad revenue.

Those who want some ad revenue but with minimal impact on the visitor will keep ads away from the primary flow of content. Examples of this are blogs that place ads within the content of the post or just in the sidebar. Ads directly above or below post titles are typically seen and clicked by more visitors than ads in the sidebar, so they will sell at a higher rate. Decisions here need to be made by the owner of the website, but the designer needs to be aware of the decision so that the ads can be implemented in the design.

The New York Times11 keeps its header and main content area free of ads on article pages, but there is a large area in the right sidebar for ads.

Screenshot12

What is the Designer’s Responsibility with Advertisements?

1. To understand the level of priority of advertising revenue.
Many websites include no advertisements at all, and others rely on ad revenue to stay in business. Still others include some ads but not as the primary source of revenue. The designer needs to communicate with the client to understand how much of a priority ads should have in the design. If ad revenue is critical to the business, advertising slots will be one of the most significant factors in the layout. If selling products or services is more important, then the products or services should be given priority in the design over any ads that may be included.

The designer’s job is not to determine how much of a role ads should play in the website’s design and layout, but he or she should make the effort to completely understand the needs and desires of the client in this area. Starting the design process with the right perspective and being on the same page as the client is critical.

2. To design a website that meets the needs of the clients.
Most Web designers would probably prefer never to have to design for ads and to be able to use the allotted space in other ways. However, the client’s needs include a website designed to allow for ad revenue, so these areas must be a part of the design.

3. To design an attractive and usable website that includes ad space.
Regardless of whether ads are a high or low priority, the designer needs to create a website that is attractive and gets the job done. Ads can be a difficult element to work with in the design because of the lost space and the interrupted flow, however, the designer must still create an effective website. If there are a lot of ads on the website, care must be taken to still make the website usable for visitors with minimal interference.

Trends in Ads and Design

By looking at websites that sell ads, particularly those that depend on ads as a major source of income, we see a number of trends:

Header ads.
Many websites sell advertising space in their header; often this space is located to the side of a logo and above or below a navigation menu. This trend is common across many different types of websites and will likely continue as long as these ads produce solid results for advertisers.

The Washington Post13 actually uses two header ads on article pages. The first is a 300 x 45 banner that sits across from the logo, and below that is a 728 x 90 banner that lies between the logo and the navigation menu.

Screenshot14

Lifehacker15, like other websites in the Gawker16 network, has a large header that allows for a 300 x 250 banner. Notice that the website clearly is designed and laid out to suit this size of ad perfectly.

Screenshot17

Ads above all content.
Instead of having an ad inside, or perhaps beside, the header, some websites place ads completely above everything else on the page, including the header. This puts the ad as high as possible on the page but takes it out of the flow of the content. This minimizes the potential interference of the ad, but it pushes everything else on the page down, and less content will be visible above the fold. This trend is noticeable on a number of news websites.

TechCrunch18 uses a 720 x 90 banner above its header. Only the green border of the body is above this banner.

Screenshot19

The L.A. Times20 also includes a banner above all content, but not on the home page.

Screenshot21

Monster22 places a 728 x 90 banner at the very top of its job search page.

Screenshot23

More ads on secondary pages than on home page.
Some websites, such as the L.A. Times just mentioned, keep the home page more welcoming to visitors and more user-friendly by using the space for things other than advertisements. However, these websites include ads on other pages. This is another common trend on news websites.

The Reader’s Digest home page24 avoids any ads high on the page.

Screenshot25

However, pages of individual articles26 include a 728 x 90 banner above the header, a 300 x 250 banner at the top of the right sidebar and a 135 x 600 skyscraper in the left sidebar, plus some additional ads lower on the page.

Screenshot27

Like Reader’s Digest, Time28 also uses an almost ad-free home page.

Screenshot29

Pages of individual articles30 include a 728 x 90 header banner and a 300 x 250 banner at the top of the sidebar.

Screenshot31

Common banner sizes.
As you browse a number of websites, you notice that banners come in all different proportions, but most of them are standard sizes. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has established standard sizes32 to be used for online ads. While a website owner can sell ads of any dimension, it is usually advisable to stick to the standards because potential advertisers likely already have ads designed for those sizes and would be more likely to buy if spaces of the same sizes were available. Web designers should know the ad dimensions that clients want on their websites.

Blogs commonly use 125 x 125 banners, although many other sizes are used as well. Daily Blog Tips33 is an example of a website with typical blog banner ads. Six 125 x 125 ads are placed in the right sidebar, but the only other ad on the website is a skyscraper lower down in the left sidebar.

Screenshot34

Another common dimension for banners is 300 x 250. Many news websites use ads of this dimension in sidebars. Yahoo35‘s right sidebar contains a 300 x 250 banner right around the fold.

Screenshot36

Digg37 also uses a 300 x 250 banner at the top of its sidebar.

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Best Practices for Designers

1. Design to meet the needs of the client
The ultimate responsibility of the designer is to the client. The designer should advise the client when needed, but ultimately the website needs to please the client. Although the designer may disagree with the client’s approach to using ads on the website, if the client wants it a certain way, that’s how they should get it.

There are many websites that appear to outsiders to have too many advertisements, but without knowing the details of how much income the ads produce and how they affect or don’t affect the audience, it’s impossible to know if it is a good or bad approach for the business.

2. Lay out the website so that ads are a part of the design
The websites that look the most natural and normal with advertisements were designed with them in mind. It’s no accident that a banner fits nicely in a specified area of the sidebar. Incorporate ad slots in the layout to achieve the best-looking website possible. Ads that are thrown in will look out of place and will overpower an otherwise well-designed layout.

The sidebar on ABC News39 is sized just right to contain the 300 x 250 banners used throughout the website.

Screenshot40

3. Consider future needs
You may find yourself in a situation in which you’re designing a website that isn’t particularly ad-heavy at the moment but that could be more dependent on ad revenue in the near future. Many websites start out with few advertisements and then, once the audience is built up, incorporate more ads. Ideally, this would be considered during the design process, and plans would be made for where new ad slots could be placed. Sidebars are generally a good spot to increase the amount of ads without disrupting the layout or the content, but header ads are much more difficult.

It’s generally good practice to discuss long-term plans with clients during the initial process so that situations like this can be avoided. If more ads are to be used in the near future, before a redesign is done, it’s possible to hold some spots with temporary content until they are needed for ads. For example, an area could be used to promote something on the website itself, with that content being removed once ad revenue becomes more important.

4. Consider the impact on visitors
Designers should make an effort to include ad slots that will appeal to advertisers, but visitors also need to be considered. When it comes to ads, a lot of decisions need to be made and judgment taken about what is appropriate and what would be too much. All of these issues need to be looked at in the context of the website in question, and there are rarely black-and-white answers.

What’s Your Opinion?

What’s your take on the impact of advertisements on design? When designing a website or a custom blog theme, how much consideration do you give to advertising?

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.rawstory.com/
  2. 2 http://www.rawstory.com/
  3. 3 http://last.fm
  4. 4 http://problogger.net
  5. 5 http://cnn.com
  6. 6 http://cnn.com
  7. 7 http://www.bloggingtips.com/
  8. 8 http://www.bloggingtips.com/
  9. 9 http://css-tricks.com/
  10. 10 http://css-tricks.com/
  11. 11 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/business/02markets.html?_r=2&hp
  12. 12 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/business/02markets.html?_r=2&hp
  13. 13 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/30/AR2008113002217.html
  14. 14 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/30/AR2008113002217.html
  15. 15 http://lifehacker.com/
  16. 16 http://gawker.com/
  17. 17 http://lifehacker.com/
  18. 18 http://techcrunch.com
  19. 19 http://techcrunch.com
  20. 20 http://www.latimes.com/
  21. 21 http://www.latimes.com/
  22. 22 http://monster.com
  23. 23 http://monster.com
  24. 24 http://www.rd.com/
  25. 25 http://www.rd.com/
  26. 26 http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/a-classroom-of-visiting-scholars/article108212.html
  27. 27 http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/a-classroom-of-visiting-scholars/article108212.html
  28. 28 http://www.time.com/time/
  29. 29 http://www.time.com/time/
  30. 30 http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1862864,00.html
  31. 31 http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1862864,00.html
  32. 32 http://www.iab.net/iab_products_and_industry_services/1421/1443/1452
  33. 33 http://dailyblogtips.com
  34. 34 http://dailyblogtips.com
  35. 35 http://yahoo.com
  36. 36 http://yahoo.com
  37. 37 http://digg.com
  38. 38 http://digg.com
  39. 39 http://abcnews.go.com/
  40. 40 http://abcnews.go.com/

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Steven Snell is a Web designer and blogger. In addition to maintaining his own blog and writing for a number of other top design blogs, he also manages an online shop that offers premium graphic design resources.

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  1. 1

    I just wish somebody would think of the children …

    -1
  2. 52

    Patrick Gunderson

    December 4, 2008 3:52 pm

    @ak
    I’d say there is definitely a “quiet is the new loud” trend in online advertising. I’m a designer at a major site (20 million uniques a month would be disappointing) that relies on advertising for life, and the banners that perform best are those that don’t look or act like banners. There is very pronounced “banner blindness” when compared to relatively still, respectful, clearly messaged and relevant ads.

    Here are the classic 5 questions answered.
    How: The most determinative aspect of CTR is defeating banner blindness. Users are going to look at the entire page unless there is something that explicitly says “BANNER”. That means getting rid of chintzy animations and “Buttony looking” CTAs. Production quality must also be high.
    Who: Context: does what this banner is advertising actually interest the same demographic as my site’s content.
    What: Relevance: is this banner offering the user anything they haven’t seen before.
    Why: Be respectful to the user, don’t try to get in their face. Exclamation marks don’t help, and only make the advertiser look desparate.
    When: users do click on interesting ads… in their own time. saying NOW! doesn’t help.
    Where: that’s the clickthrough.

    0
  3. 103

    Ad Block is a nice tool but there are sites that won’t allow you to view the content with an ad blocker (NBC for example) This will become a trend and AB+ will become obsolete.

    I just checked out the NBC site in FF with AdBlock and I can browse the site (and not see the ads).

    0
  4. 154

    It’s definitely a challenge to integrate adds into a design in a way thay serves both the advertiser and the site’s audience. Things would already be a lot better if most of these ads had better design to begin with… nothing as frustrating as designing a beautiful layout and then having to squeeze in an absolutely badly designed ad, and don’t even get me started on animated ads (beit gif’s or flash).
    I have to agree with John, I have adblock on all the time, it has never prevented me from seeing a site. You can also use an extension like Stylish to filter out unwanted site elements.

    0
  5. 205

    Good Read!!

    I really hate misleading advertisements. I remember the image ads just left of google text ads. That crap uses to make me so mad when I clicked thinking ti was part of the site.

    How about site background ads? Now this kind of advertising is becoming more popular and if done right can look really cool.

    I found some cool examples of this over at DesignerFied Custom site background ads

    0
  6. 256

    What about a blog post about designing ads that convert?

    0
  7. 307

    ak – nope, I wasn’t commenting to your post.

    Ads that don’t look like ads have always pulled better though, which is entertaining to think about considering what most of the mind-drunk ad agencies throw out there.

    Regards
    Nathan Gilder

    0
  8. 358

    Interesting article. I recently designed a site (20 Mile Magazine) that included ads. It an online community magazine. A great deal of thought went into the design layout and ad placement. In the end, we determined that we did not want ads to break the content up and disrupt the user experience in any way. So, basically, the ads frame the page and allow the content to flow. Thus far, it’s been very successful.

    0
  9. 409

    internetanddesign.com

    December 8, 2008 3:30 am

    I think websites are getting lazy with advertisements. Nobody is trying new things. Everybody want save advertisement spots and nobody is creative.

    ~BE CREATIVE!

    0
  10. 460

    I work for a boston web design firm and what I’ve learned is it’s always important (in any good design) to have balance.

    Having too many advertisements on a particular page is not helping anyone. I’m not even sure how effective online advertisements are anymore at gaining reader attention. I seem to have blinders on when I search the web, only looking for the information I need and disregarding all the irrelevant advertisments I see.

    0
  11. 511

    I’m with ak regarding the ad networks that populate their feeds with constantly flashing, loud, obnoxious ads. Sure, it grabs the user’s attention, but many of those ads are SO distracting that it also prevents that user from actually reading the content of the website.

    Unfortunately, those feeds can account for a rather substantial revenue stream, so we’re stuck using them. On my company’s website, we’ve tried to remove the ads from those feeds that we thought were too distracting, only to lose a huge chunk of our revenue. So those crappy ads must be doing SOMETHING right to be able to pay so well.

    0
  12. 562

    Arunkumar Avanathan

    December 8, 2008 9:11 pm

    @Steve Wanless : I found the Ad sizes from Yahoo Design stencil kit, which anyone can download from here . This zip file has a “Advertising.pdf” which gives sizes for all kinds of ad blocks. They also have specifications for other content too.

    Great article SM. Thanks!

    0
  13. 613

    the challange is how to meet contents, commerce, and user behaviour in a single good web design

    0
  14. 664

    Great article! You do a good job explaining the issue and providing useful solutions to think through. Thanks.

    0
  15. 715

    my favorite web ads are on pandora.com, they change the entire background of their site depending on the ad to make it fit in seamlessly with the content, such an awesome idea that I’ve never seen before

    brent

    0
  16. 766

    Very good article. I would say that the big thing here is to include the advertising ideas when designing the site. Also an indication to the developers, if not you, is to tell them how much you will rely on the advertising from the site, and that may give the the clear indication on how important the space, and the flow of the site is. I designed the site with banners in mind right from word go, and limit the ads to fixed areas. I find this gives a good flow. If interested have a look at http://www.tech4law.co.za.

    Fine line between flow, layout and advertising – ads get the money in, but a bad flow and layout will chase the viewers away, with the advertisers right behind them.

    0
  17. 817

    If websites don’t allow ABP, people won’t click the ads because they hav ABP because they hate ads.

    0
  18. 868

    The content you have provided is pretty interesting and useful and I will surely take note of the point you have made in the blog.

    While I was browsing the Internet for ways to boost my website exposure, I read about how effective offline media is for getting additional exposure. Since online media advertising has become so competitive, I thought I will complement the online marketing efforts of my products with offline media advertising like newspaper and magazine advertising. This can be the best way to get a wider coverage for a website and draw additional traffic. I think it is a great marketing strategy to use both online and offline advertising to get more customers.

    I thought this information might be useful for anyone looking for solutions to get me-ore traffic to their website.

    0
  19. 919

    WALSAQ makes it easy to find what every business owner needs: High-quality Ecommerce Design services at the most competitive price. Having a ecommerce website designed doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to accomplish, and WALSAQ proves it time and again, which is why WALSAQ is called the Next Generation of Freelance Services.

    0
  20. 970

    informative stuff… thank you very much.

    -1
  21. 1021

    great article. thorough and to the point. fantastic resources as well.

    keep up the great work steven.

    1
  22. 1072

    I’m staggered that this has (so far) been the only article I’ve found on this design-critical issue. I’m working on my first web application with integrated advertising and there are no best practice rules or guidelines anywhere on the web. Shame!

    So thank you for this article, and thanks to all those insightful comments which have rounded out the discussion.

    The web application I’m building is text-intensive, and I found that Adwords in a sidebar was not a good strategy. However I tweaked the colour scheme the Adwords content detracted from the user experience. Display ads in the sidebar worked much better. I suspect the same equation probably applies in reverse to sites with strong graphical content: Adwords will probably work well there, while adjacent display ads may be problematic. Someone who’s been down that track might like to comment.

    Cheers,

    ::Leigh

    0
  23. 1123

    what about ad 120×60?
    Like at ffffound.com/ and impressonme.com/

    Is it effective?

    0
  24. 1174

    OK, I’m only a year plus change late to this party but I just wanted to add a couple points from the agency’s perspective that y’all might find useful. You touch on some of these but please allow me to elaborate:

    *Know your ad specs: if your site decides to cap all ad animation at 15 seconds and/or one loop, then advertisers are much less interested in any of your “below the fold” ad units. Why? Because by the time the viewer (nay, _if_ the viewer) gets to the ad, it’s been more than 15 seconds. The ad animation is already done before they see it. Your designer counterparts at the agency have (hopefully) put in a healthy amount of effort trying to tell an engaging and relevant story through the ad, and if all the viewer sees is the final frame, it’s a compromised impression. Likewise, the agency may have paid really good money for a remarketing ad (visitor hits my client’s site but doesn’t convert, we target the same visitor again with a follow-up ad) but it’s squandered if the ad is never seen. This is why header ads are so popular with advertisers.

    *Know the ad types: a large part of internet display ads are still basic animated banners. But rich media is a substantial portion of the display ad market. How will video ads look? Will they be surrounded by animated clutter which, when combined with the video, will induce epilepsy? How are expanding ads going to behave? Are you consistent in ad placement across the site? If your skyscrapers are on the left for some parts, and on the right for others, the advertiser is going to need to create expanding ads that expand in both directions. We generally won’t drop a unit from a media plan because of this, but it is annoying.

    Likewise, unless you are going to practically guarantee some #$*&^ing amazing results you should not consider non-standard ad sizes. Large campaigns run across dozens if not hundreds of sites, and advertisers already have to run a gauntlet of ad specs for the ostensibly standardized (sic) ad sizes – they’re not likely to look fondly on your custom unit that composes 1% of the ad spend, but consumes 8% of the production budget.

    *Work with the quants to get the ad placement & quantity correct. Sometimes less is more – advertisers pay higher CPMs for sites with a few ad slots than sites that look like painted up animated gif whores. Maybe your aggregate revenue per pageview is better if you go the ad slut route, maybe not. There is an optimal balance but it varies by site. So be prepared to change the quantity and location of ads based on performance data, do A/B tests, etc. Depending on your pageviews, squeezing out an extra $1 overall CPM can be a helluva lot of money.

    0
  25. 1225

    If you’ve ever wondered how a screen takeover ad is done from a programming perspective, I recently wrote an article on it…I’d be interested in getting your feedback: http://betaprogrammer.com/content/?p=89

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  26. 1276

    The fight between advertising versus user experience! The idea is to prevent such a fight from happening at all. Ads can be good if managed correctly and they can ruin user experience if not. ABP is only a way for users to voice their frustrations. It might not be the way the user initially wanted it, but if the publisher keeps pushing and pushing more ads, or more distracting ads, then it’s gone over the edge. We always advise our publisher clients to think and consider these before integrating our AdSpeed ad management solution into their websites.

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  27. 1327

    great post ,thanks

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  28. 1378

    I’m a pretty avid trekker and need to admit that I’m anal about my equipment. If there’s one thing that I dislike, it is when my equipment give way. That’s why I always get quality tools to gear myself up and be prepared for most anything the trail throws at me.

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  29. 1429

    Nurse Anesthetist School

    June 21, 2011 9:55 pm

    I’m not sure why a PA would ever do that. There are some PAs who do anesthesia but not that many because of CRNAs. But if I RN is required at a school then they probably cant. Unless they get an RN. Either way why throw away a great career to receive a less degree, and then go back to school to do something you probably could find a job in if you looked around enough…..

    -1

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