Where is online advertising heading?
Darren Rowse picked up on Steve Rubel’€™s post on the imminent death of page views as an ad measuring method. In short, it’€™s all about the fact that Web 2.0 websites use Ajax to reload part of the page content, which results in a lot less page loads, and therefore also page views. And if you’€™re selling your ads based on how many times they’€™re loaded (viewed) then that’€™s bad business.
On my Swedish ventures I have since long abandoned the CPM (Cost per Thousand) ads. Actually, I scrapped them quite early on but left them as an option. Now I sell a fixed spot to one advertiser instead, which I feel is a lot more honest. It’€™s actually quite easy to get a lot more page views out of your site, and if you’€™re making money on the views then you’€™ll most likely want to maximize revenue. That’€™s not in the best interest of the visitor, nor the advertiser, is it?
Getting paid by click, or a percentage of a sale, is a solution to this. I don’€™t like it. An advertiser gets more from having an ad on a site than just clicks; it’€™s strengthening the company’€™s brand and could result in sales later on. I know because I act that way myself sometimes, remembering that a certain store had a product from an Adsense ad or something, google it and then the store in question have gotten a click, perhaps even a sale, without the web site I saw the ad on getting anything at all. As I said, I don’€™t like it; it’€™s not a fair split.
Darren brings forth Cost per Second ads. That might be a solution, buy an ad spot for 20 seconds per visitor. Rotate. It’€™s an old media (TV) take on things, but it feels pretty accurate when it comes to major Ajax-based sites. But what about your blog, will you have enough ads to show this way? Well, maybe, an Adsense for CPS ads could be done of course, but I still feel it’€™s more a solution for major players, than for bloggers and minor publishers.
I still feel that selling a spot for a longer period of time, to one advertiser, is better. This advertiser will benefit more than if his ad are rotated with others, will get an extra boost of goodwill from regular visitors to the site in question, and will also get a solid amount of clickthru if ads are changed at least monthly, or even bi-weekly. Win-win in my book, I’€™m happy with this method, but it certainly depends on working with sales to work. Performancing Partners are trying for something like this, but I can’€™t say it’€™s really kicking off, is it? Maybe it is, in the end, I don’€™t really know, it’€™s just a feeling I’€™ve got. Another thing to remember is that this type of advertising only will work on a strong site in its niche; smaller player should not bother with it. TechCrunch seems to use this method by the way.
I don’€™t know where advertising is going, and I’€™m not sure where I’€™d like it to be. One thing’€™s for sure though; the demise of CPM could not come soon enough for the blogosphere.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.