Few ideas on how to leverage online advertising

It is recession time and you get to read many reports on how to increase your online ad revenues. Most of them have nothing new to say. The recent report from Nielsen Online is very interesting.

Nielsen recommends a four-point plan featuring

  1. more creative online ad format options
  2. more concentrated content to fewer targeted audiences
  3. a focus on web sites with high consumer satisfaction ratings and
  4. metrics emphasizing time per page, not pages per person

During every downturn new ad formats come up and industry gurus swear on the new ad sizes (banner dimensions). You can read many such reports on IAB. My take on the new ad sizes is simple – we will try it, if it works great, if not too bad. We cannot blindly apply international ad sizes on Indian audiences. From my experience I have seen the behavior on language channels can be different but that doesn’t mean we should be open to new ideas (trying out new ad sizes)

The #4 point is interesting. Publishers, including Oneindia.in,  split articles into 2-3 pages. We at Oneindia.in don’t do it very often but have done it for two reasons – we assumed it would be easier for the user to read these “right-sized” articles and ofcourse to increase page views (well, I am admitting it, isn’t it?). But the experiement hasn’t gone too well for us. We have seen very “few” read page2 (is it because many like only page3  ;-)??). We discussed this issue internally just last week, so I found this observation from Nielsen Online very interesting – concentrate on how much time he spent on your site/article instead of the # of pages. Point noted.

Other interesting points from the article,

  • Online media has unrealized potential.
  • Roughly 57% of Fortune 1,000 companies advertised online in at least half the quarters from the past three years.
  • Unfortunately no single winning strategy or reliable rule book has emerged to guide advertisers looking to build brand loyalty, share of mind or unit sales.
  • New metrics and new thinking are called for. Topping the wish list of big-spending advertisers willing to consolidate their campaigns on a handful of URLs are savvy web sites offering more experimental ad formats that encourage creativity and boost consumer involvement and interaction.

Nielsen Online defines companies based on their online advertising strategies. Four discrete segments emerged:

  1. Long-Term Partners: the most desirable advertiser segment, these firms buy prestige media brands that deliver a combination of large reach and loyal viewers. Online ad schedules tend toward a high concentration on a handful of sites.
  2. Niche Partners: tend toward smaller, local sites like area TV stations and newspapers, often with a niche focus. While their buys are concentrated, niche partner are lower volume advertisers.
  3. Online Dabblers: big name big brands, with intermittent ad schedules often designed to test a niche, or deployed as part of a cross-media deal. This segment represents the next generation of heavy Internet advertisers.
  4. Network Heavy: prefer to buy ad networks and portals pursuing a large volume, low concentration strategy which diffuses both ad message and budget impact. Basically, these advertisers buy everything and only partner with a web site on occasion.

One important fact I read was – “Reach is important. Not just the absolute number of visitors, but the demographics of those visitors”. I think that is the beauty of what Oneindia.in is providing to their advertisers – reach across different cultures (languages) in India. The potential of advertising online on language sites are yet to be understood by most advertisers – they will, very soon.

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