Sunday, September 14, 2008

The winning formula for Web ads!

Many apologies for that tease. The winning formula for Web ads is really just plain commonsense. That's the short answer. There's more to the story...

In this post, we'll go through "Web Creative 101" class.

So, what's the best creative?
That's a common question we hear from our advertisers. The challenge, it's not an easy question to answer because there is no "silver bullet" for Web creatives. Here are some basic best practices to follow.

1. Make sure your target audience sees the ad.
Okay, so that sounds pretty basic. But the fact is, many creatives that we see are not going to be seen by the users. Slow-loading creatives (such as flash ads or artsy film-style ads) are the worst offenders; Web marketers have about 2 seconds to get a site visitor's attention. That means you have to lead with your punch line; save the rich media experience and creative fireworks for later on. Or put 'em on the landing page. Explain to your creative team how great the ad is...but that they need to quickly get the attention of Web users whose attention span has shortened tremendously as the volume of content on the Web has grown.

2. Understand the target market.
That means knowing who the audience is who is visiting the site on which your ads are running. Go beyond demographics; demand that the publisher or their reps provide you with psychographic data and behavioral profiles. Also, learn where the site's traffic is originating; if a cooking site gets most of their traffic from news or sports sites, that provides a clue as to the mindset--and needs--of the site's audience.

3. I'd like to say, "listen to your sales rep."
...But, it's hard to get the attention from a real, live human being anymore. Wow, that sounds like a cranky old dude saying that! In fact, not so long ago, we placed an albeit small budget of $10,000 with one of the leading ad networks, as a test. It was painful to actually speak with a live sales rep. For the obligatory plug for Intermarkets, our sales team actually wants to help you with your campaign, because our perspective is that if we can do everything possible to make the campaign work for you and your client, then you'll come back to us over and over. That commonsense business practice has helped us retain a large and diverse client base over the years. And it's astonishing to me that larger advertising sales organizations don't seem to have picked up on that...yet.

4. Be hypersensitive.
Look at your creative and consider how you're talking to the audience. It's amazing how many advertisements actually insult the target market. Showing your prospective customers as being stupid, or getting physically abused or anything else in the least bit offensive makes it plain in the minds of your prospects what your company really thinks of them. And for a lot of companies, insulting the customer is probably a form of disclosing how they treat their customers. But, would you actually want--or choose--to do business with anyone who thinks and acts like you're stupid and annoying?

More to come.

If you'd like a real, live human being to help with your advertising, check us out at

Class dismissed!

Kevin Lucido
Chief Executive Officer
Intermarkets, Inc.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Now they're getting it!

During the past couple of weeks, filled with news of the political conventions as well as the coverage of Hurricane Gustav, an interesting thing happened: Traditional media learned how to use new media to their advantage. Let's look at how they did this.

It's simple. During the Democratic and Republican conventions, we saw a significant increase in placements by the leading cable news channels on our flagship Portfolio site, the Drudge Report.

These news channels knew that the Drudge Report was going to be one of the first sites on the Web that people would visit to get the latest news and information about what was going on in Denver and St. Paul.

And right they were! The Drudge Report racked up its highest daily traffic during the political conventions. And by placing ads on the site, the leading news channels generated enormous audiences.

There are so many other Web-centric opportunities for conventional media, especially television, radio and newspapers, to generate traffic to their sites and users of their core content. Taking out display ads on top Web sites is a great place to start.

The next step...teasers and feeds using streaming technology; polls; "listen/watch/read now" marketing; 360 degree brand surrounding of Web audiences; and...

Oops, our sales team is insisting that we stop giving away the store. Talk to us (visit us here) and we'll give you more ideas.

Now the question is...will the media leaders follow through with even more creative solutions and approaches? We'll be ready to deliver...if they're interested.

Have a great week!

PS Almost forgot--As part of our community support activities, we're sponsoring a concert in Vienna, Virginia on Friday, September 12, at 6:30 PM. We're donating our sponsorship space to a local animal rescue organization, and they'll be there to provide information on how to help save animals. Please join us! For more information, check out the town of Vienna's Web site, here.