Blog

An overlooked function of advertising: to inform

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

As I said in previous occasions, I’m not so convinced that banner advertising is dead or that at least it should be. The quick counter-argument to this is that banner ads serve well for branding purposes.

However there’s an often overlooked function of advertising which is to inform.

Ads should inform

If you have something new to introduce to the market, something better or something that solves people’s problems in an innovative way, you must find a way to inform your audience about it! If your product is useful, you don’t need bells and whistles in your ad campaign; just inform correctly, and the product will sell by itself.

However, taking a short look over the creative output you find on general audience sites for instance, you can quickly come to the conclusion that most banner ads suck. No wonder why users install banner blockers or develop the so-called “banner blindness“?

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The problem with search marketing

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It doesn’t scale. Search marketing can’t create more demand, let alone new needs. Therefore, if you rely only on search advertising, you’ll have to settle for a market composed by a group of people who already have the need and know how to satisfy it.

But what happens if your product is so innovative that nobody thinks of searching it? E.g. a Twitter-like service back in 2006. What if your service solves a problem in a way no searcher can imagine? And what if your target audience isn’t that tech savvy and only uses new media for email and news?

In other words, what if the search market is too small for your business to grow and take wing?

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Google Checkout recurrent payments crashed

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Here’s the story:

1. On August 4, Google Checkout stopped their recurrent payments, therefore your payments were not sent to us until yesterday, September 14.

2. It seems that all the subscriptions that were delayed were charged together on September 14. For instance, if you had to be billed on August 8 and September 8, both your recurrences arrived on September 14.

3. Our system is built in such a way that only when we receive payments from your payment processor we activate your license for the next billing cycle. Due to this architecture and Google’s Payment system delay issue, your license was paused from the moment we should have received payments for the next billing cycle and they were re-issued on September 14.

4. As a result, there are some of you that were charged twice on September 14.

5. We will process full manual refund for one of the 2 transactions charged on September 14 based on user’s request.

So if you were billed twice on September 14, please write us at support[at]bannersnack[dot]com.

How payments on SnackTools work

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Here’s how the process of subscription payments works on SnackTools.co:

1. Choose a subscription that you want;
2. Then choose your payment processor (PayPal, Amazon, Google);
3. You are being redirected to your payment processor account where you will confirm your order/subscription;
4. On your next billing cycle (1 month/1 year) your payment processor initiates a payment to us;
5. Right after the payment gone through we receive the IPN (instant payment notification) on our servers;
6. Our servers automatically renew your license based on your subscription payment.

Potential issues:

1. If you don’t have sufficient funds in your account it will not be able to initiate the payment. In this situation it will be delayed and the payment processor will try to initiate that payment asap.

2. If you cancel your subscription directly from your payment processor account, we will not receive your payments and will stop your license from working. When you choose to cancel the subscription from your SnackTools account, we actually send a merchant request to your processor to cancel your subscription.

3. If anything works wrong with the payment processor that you have chosen to use, and if we do not receive the due payment or IPN, we will not be able to renew your license.

A new study published few days ago by comScore shows that social networking websites account for 20% of the U.S. banner ads impressions, with MySpace and Facebook delivering together more than 80% percent of banner ads among sites in the social networking category.

Top Online Display Ad Publishers in Social Networking Category

June 2009

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Ad Metrix

Total Display Ad Impressions (MM) Share of Display Ads Ad Exposed Unique Visitors (000)
Total Internet : Total Audience 326,899 100.0 188,589
Social Networking 68,927 21.1 129,620
MySpace Sites 30,004 9.2 64,472
Facebook.com 26,813 8.2 67,389
Tagged.com 1,940 0.6 7,422
MocoSpace.com 496 0.2 1,067
Hi5.com 461 0.1 3,459
Bebo 435 0.1 6,350
Classmates.com Sites 400 0.1 9,181
BlackPlanet.com 345 0.1 2,084
GaiaOnline.com 258 0.1 1,859
DeviantArt.com 204 0.1 3,681

Source: comScore.

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Banner blindness is overrated

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Not so long ago I’ve quoted Seth Godin in Banner ads for brands blog post. In it, Seth talks about an overlooked benefit of banner ads, which is branding.

Now, according to the results of an experiment conducted by Neuromarketing, it seems that banner ads work very well in the name recognition and branding process. At least for colleges.

They ran a 30-day test on College Confidential, a community for “college-bound high school students”. They chose three colleges with fairly low national-wide name recognition and ran ads for them the whole period. Meanwhile, a research company measured name recognition and school familiarity before and after the campaign.

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Size doesn’t matter but video does

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

This is at least what a new study on banner advertising effectiveness says. The study, released in August 20, 2009 by Dynamic Logic, shows that ads that are well integrated into the content of the page, such as half banners (234 x 60 px) and rectangles (180 x 150 px), are the more effective in driving online ad awareness and purchase intent, than big formats, such as leaderboards and skyscrapers.

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If you run banner ads on your site…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Here is a lesson for you: don’t cover great content with monster banner ads.

Christopher S. Penn points to this problem in his post “How much did that ad just cost you?”, something a lot of users deal with every day. No wonder I often read “banner advertising is dead …or it should be”.

As an online publisher, why would you write something great and then hide it with a big pop-up? You should know that users scan the page first, trying to find something interesting, and just then start to read. If the first thing they see are banners, your visitors will soon lose interest for the site and leave. So this is a lose-lose-lose situation:

- you, as a publisher, haven’t succeeded in retaining your readers’ interest

- the advertisers didn’t get their banners clicked (perhaps readers need time, trust and interest to click, which is not the case here)

- readers haven’t quenched their thirst for knowledge and information

So we can conclude that websites with a moderated amount of advertising on them have much more to offer to users and advertisers alike.