Ten Things I Think I Know

With respect and attribution of this column's title to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, here are ten things I think I know

1.  I think social media's definition of a friend acquired the definition of an acquaintance for undisclosed terms. 

2.  Bad pitching makes good hitters look great.  Great pitching makes good hitters look bad.  I think the Yankees don't have enough pitching.

3.  Consumers ignore online ads because there are too many coming at them at once. I think we continue to ignore consumers by serving multiple advertisers on the same page view.  If we cut it down to one advertiser per page view, consumers would have less to ignore -- which gets them closer to paying attention.   

4.  If they knew each page view was exclusive to each message, the people paid to create online ads would deliver more ads that create a desire to be seen and fewer ads designed to break through the clutter. Then we might actually have something here, I think. 



5.  I think online ads that pop up, pop under and pop out of nowhere, or ads that expand or start to play a video without direct click initiation, all help prove what I just shared. On a related note, can we stop pretending rollovers are created to make it easier for consumers?

6.  Steroids fooled owners into signing players to longer-term contracts because it seemed players would maintain their abilities much longer than humanly possible.  I think Alex Rodriguez is starting to break down. 

7.  The Twitter feed @CondeElevator was a brilliant use of social media by a traditional publisher because it was so unplanned and unmanaged. I think shutting it down was a mistake.

8.  I think as long as brand advertisers continue to invest in their own sites, click-through will always be a part of the negotiation conversations buyers have with publishers.  

9.  I know the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.  A.J. Burnett is not the answer -- and I think collapsing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia into one starter sounds crazy enough to work in the playoffs.

10.  Hating the Yankees is like hating Google.  It feels good, but I think we would all be much worse off without them.

Please have a great and safe holiday weekend.  If you are hitting the road, just turn your phone off and your radio on. Everyone wins that way. 

3 comments about "Ten Things I Think I Know".
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  1. Donn Friedman from albuquerque journal, September 1, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.

    #3 and #4: If advertisers pay a fair premium, we'd happily reduce the number of advertising messages per page.
    But networks offer CPMs of less than $1 to publishers of expensive-to-produce content, so publishers then saturate their pages with advertisements.

  2. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, September 1, 2011 at 12:08 p.m.

    Hey Donn, it's a chicken and the egg scenario -- I think publishers are chicken to tell their advertisers they can deliver greater value through exclusivity per page view -- but if pubs like yours did that your clients can SEE the value and your CPM's will naturally rise -- stop fighting the ad networks at their game and start fighting them on your terms instead. Thanks for the chiming in....

  3. Rick Monihan from None, September 6, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.

    One way to determine which ads you can "get rid of" is to look at the relative pricing (eCPM) of each placement. In addition, look at the click rates.
    If you don't use click rates as a metric, it still matters - if people aren't clicking, it's not a good placement. PARTICULARLY if your eCPM is low for that placement (and bundling a good placement with a bad one as "1 placement" only inhibits your ability to derive value, it doesn't enhance it, so keep your revenue tracking at the most basic level).

    But if your eCPM is high for a low click area - review it and find out why. Perhaps there is branding value? Maybe it's a great position?

    Alternatively, if your eCPM is low, but your click rate is high, then there must be a problem with your marketing. Clearly, it's a placement worth keeping.

    Defining "high" or "low" is up to you - you can compare to industry averages. Or your niche averages. Or simply your site averages. Or all 3. But each piece of information provides insight, so don't ignore one just to support a view you want to have supported - make sure you focus on reasons that make sense.

    I'd argue one other point - fixed placements add to the viewer's ability to ignore ads. Leaderboards are easily ignored because everyone knows where they are, and that virtually every site has them. Or a 300X250 to the upper right of a page. Or a skyscraper running along the side of an article. If sites could dynamically switch things up each time a page loads, that would go a long way to improving attention.

    And text ads - in my experience text ads work in text articles. People are reading, so that's what they are in tune with. Not pictures. Banners are eye catching, so they should go along with media that catches the eye.

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