Why is the NBA now allowing teams to sell corporate logos on players’ uniforms? Because viewers’ eyes are on the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry dribbling the ball up the court, not on the sidelines where ad messages are scrolling. It’s the same online.
Where should your ads be? Where the eyes are!
Today’s online world of long scrolling pages, multiple image slide shows and Pinterest-like card layouts poses challenges to ad buyers seeking high-impact targeted ads actually seen by end users.
While industry viewability metrics tell buyers which ads can be viewed, advertisers want more than that -- a guarantee that their ads will not be missed.
This can’t be achieved through the old method of putting banners atop the page, on the sides and maybe the bottom. When users focus on content, their eyes ignore peripheral ads. Just look at YouTube, where the ad units are within the video player – because users are hyper-focused on the videos they’ve come to see.
How can advertisers get users to hyper-focus on their marketing messages? By intrinsically connecting those ads to non-ad content users actually look at.
Let’s say you’ve gone to an entertainment news site to read about the final episode of CBS’ “The Good Wife.” There may be banner ads around the text that industry metrics deem as viewable, but you don’t even notice.
At the start of the text, however, you see a striking photo of star Julianna Margulies in a pivotal scene from the episode.
An ad tied to that photo will surely be seen by readers of the article when they look at the image, however briefly. Engagement itself won’t be automatic, but can be greatly increased by making the ad relevant to the target audience – “Good Wife” fans might ignore an ad for a Ford pick-up truck but open one for a Toyota Corolla.
Such targeting changes the way ads must be sold and bought in an RTB environment. Advertisers previously bought audience segments or specific properties and weren’t concerned with where ads appeared on a page.
Publishers, knowing they’d get the advertisers’ dollars, would just slap those banners on the top, sides and bottom of pages. The advertisers had no way of knowing where the ads were, or if they were being viewed.
Recent page design trends like slide shows have opened advertisers’ eyes. Say you have a slide show of the 16 wealthiest rappers in America. If the same four banners rotate around each slide, the ads diminish in performance as each slide is viewed in succession. A similar situation occurs as readers scroll down extremely long Web pages.
Advertisers have grown tired of buying ads that have no value – or of spending twice as much to increase interaction rates while still not knowing exactly which ads are being viewed.
Buyers need to lessen their reliance on public exchanges geared to standard ad banners that just invite users to click through to Web sites. Instead, they must utilize private marketplaces and direct buys to buy dynamic, expandable rich-media units that can include elements like videos, overlaid in-image ads, call-to-action conversions and other interactive elements.
Sure, some advertisers may complain they can’t buy on scale outside of the public exchanges. But by buying higher-impact ad units on the private exchanges or directly, they can increase ROI. Publishers, in turn, get higher revenues.
One major online retailer had been relying on banners, social media and keyword search for its marketing. It decided to try a hyper-focused approach by running high-impact ad units tied to specific celebrities and target demographics. The result: a 16:1 revenue-to-spend ratio. Its expansion rate rose 50-fold, leading to an interaction rate 50% above the industry average, and triple the average for time spent with ads.
Not every advertiser will achieve such dramatic results.
But by focusing their sights where end-users are focusing their sights – on striking content right in the line of vision – buyers can solve the viewability conundrum and increase user engagement. They can become an integral, central part of highly viewed content rather than an annoying intrusion.
The Philadelphia 76ers made sports and NBA history by becoming the first team to sell corporate logo space on their team jerseys — it now makes sense why this is happening. All eyeballs will be watching to see which brand logo pops up on Stephen Curry.