Recently, the CEO of my company attended PubCon, a national conference targeted towards web professionals, publishers and website owners. His topic was about how businesses and publishers are, and should be, adding value – not just products. By that, I’m talking about advertising. I’m not talking about advertising as you might think E.g. Billboards, radio, television, etc. – those are all part of the caveman era. What I’m really talking about is display ads, banner ads, etc. which is the newer version of advertising, but the old way of thinking.
According to the IAB (Internet Advertising Board), “online ad sales are up 11.3% for the first six months of 2010—hitting $12.1 billion—the highest total the IAB has ever recorded.”
This is good news for publishers, however for business advertisers, it is a different story. “84% of web users never click on banners. Of the 16% of Web users that do click on banner ads, the top 4% produce 67% of all clicks” (ClickZ). This means that banner advertising clicks are coming mainly from 4% of the online visitors.
Ouch, with a double-0! So what is the new way of thinking if you are a publisher, or a business trying to reach new customers?
Publishers and online sites are slowly moving away from traditional banner ads selling products to applications, special offers, white paper downloads – things that add value to the reader. It is an interactive approach that engages the reader and visitor making both parties money at the same time.
Take Kiplinger.com, for example. Their visitors consist mainly of business owners, financial experts, investors and money gurus. On their website, the top left hand corner has a Tools section. In this section they have calculators and apps to help people manage their money. All of these calculators are sponsored by different companies. The company pays a fee for every time someone uses the calculator, but they also obtain the contact information of that person. Instead of a click, the advertiser obtains the contact information and provides value to the visitor by giving them information. It’s up to the advertiser to nurture that lead now and try to get them as a customer.
The old pitch used to be, “I’ll pay you $.20 for every magazine someone purchases from your site” and now it’s, “We’ll provide free magazines and white papers and during that process, we’ll pay you for their information which we can nurture into a lead.” The visitor/reader gets more value and the business owner advertiser, gets the lead information while creating value. A win/win for all.