Partners Ad Evolution Thoughts

I have been thinking a fair bit about what I want to do with the Partners advertising, what is working and what could do with improving. The ease which people can sign up and advertise seems ok but I would like to simplify things somewhat further, I think the main thing will be have the ads just image based, see more on that in a second. From the publisher side there are still many publishers without paid ads.

I’m looking at the following options (which are not necessarily exclusive)

1) CPM ads where people buy X impressions across a category
2) CPA ads with better targeting than our last test
3) Textual ads

Textual ads would possibly attract advertisers who are put off by image ads. I’m not entirely convinced there is a market for these that is not already well served.

CPA will be easier to test as it does not require finding an advertiser to try it out, plus there are options where a single commission could bring the publisher $5, $10, and up, enough of those and I think we will all be very happy. CPM ads might well be popular but also might not be, I would have to try it and see but I think we all would like to see revenue sooner rather than later.

There are two selection options for CPA, the publisher chooses which ads to display or I choose and the publisher rejects. Many bloggers tell me they like the advertising to be auto pilot, particularly those with several blogs. Some tell me they don’t visit this site or read this blog and so wouldn’t know ads were available. At the same time there are bloggers who would want to vet any ads BEFORE they appeared. It would be unworkable with roughly 4000 blogs in the partners network now to book CPA ads individually. Perhaps the solution would be “reject before 48 hours is up otherwise it shows”? Obviously this all ads logic that slows everything down and adds to development time.

I’m also looking at losing the rollover. As well as simplifying the advertisers job as mentioned earlier it would also allow publishers to place the code at the end of the HTML before the closing body tag and have the ads display anywhere on the page. This will allow any ad layout you want plus will not hold up page execution if anything goes wrong.

Let me know your thoughts on all this or any ideas you have.

5 thoughts on “Partners Ad Evolution Thoughts

  1. do a case study on; see where they stumbled or succeeded & go about planning strategy in this fashion. I like where Partners is going b/c it has achieved something truly special: making the publishers feel part of the team. The advertisers, in my opinion, will come in due time. It’s a matter of exposure & being in a stable financial position to hire the necessary staff that who’s main goal is to hunt down big-name advertisers.

    Good luck w/ this, chris! You appear to be the man for the job!

  2. Volunteering to do it for free Brem? Hiring *anybody* is a bit of a way off right now.

  3. The code change for putting the script at the bottom I am working on will allow you to leave as it is to have the ads appear as they do now where you placed the script or alternatively if it finds a correctly named DIV squirt the ad into the boxes where you position them. Still working the cross-browser kinks out currently.

  4. Ideally publishers could choose auto-pilot or to screen all ads. Perhaps there could be a setting that allows that for the publishers. I could see some sites of mine where I would want to screen all ads, where others auto-pilot would work just fine for me.

    As far as types of ad units, I would try as many types as feasible. People want choices. Part of the reason why text ads are so popular is because there is no development time or cost associates with creating an image. I am not a graphics designers although I can fiddle and running text ads would be very appealing for me. Its easy for me to run a text ad, where it would require me to whip out Gimp and try to design an appealing ad (which would take me some time). Also, it should be noted that while Google started with text ads, it has branched out into image ads, and is even exploring CPA ads, and now even has “Advertise on this Site.” I would say leave no revenue stream unturned. If the big guys who have the money to do research think its profitable, it may be wise to at least consider if it works for our ad network. Also, on another note, publishers who dislike flashing image ads may be more accepting of link ads advertising the same products & services.

    In summary, I think you should include:

    1.) CPM across categories, you must have. I would suggest a bidding system.
    2.) CPA ads that publishers can opt-in to individually or set on auto-pilot.
    3.) Textual Ads for all categories of ads.

    As far as the code being able to be placed at the bottom of the page but appear anywhere, that may be a very useful feature to some bloggers, but not necessarily easy for other bloggers. I assume you would adjust the position through CSS? In my case, I just create a block in Drupal and place the code there and it magically appears there. It would actually be more work for me to figure out the proper CSS and location the ad should appear in. If I was using other Blogging software, I could see how this may be useful (especially for the ones that use CSS for layout almost exclusively and you have to modify the template to add ads). So if you develop this, please do not make it a requirement. I don’t want to spend an hour trying to figure out how to place your ad on my site as I do not modify the templates CSS frequently other than minor cosmetic changes.

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