Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

the 'new advertising' on the web

Effective advertising must be intrusive. But intrusive ads must be used sparingly to avoid ruining the medium. As a result, Web advertisers and content sites are increasingly forced to ration their most effective ads - limiting them to, say, two pop-unders per user per day, or one outrageous content-crawler - lest they alienate viewers entirely. The new rules:

1) Shallow is good. The key metric in Web advertising is unique users, not minutes per site. "You want users to come to your site every day - and then go away," says Roy de Souza, CEO of Zedo, a leading ad-serving network. Web publishers should hit each new user with a big, lucrative ad on arrival, but after that pageviews probably cost more to create and deliver than they can earn in banners. Front pages rock; inside pages stink. From this core observation, other corollaries emerge:

2) Forget stickiness. Web sites once bragged about their lingering users. Now a site is better operated like a fast-food joint: no loitering. Loyalty is still good, but only when it means being a brief part of a daily routine. Think cats, not dogs.

3) Real time is risky. What could be worse than a stock-quote site, which users check and recheck constantly? Better to focus on less-ephemeral content that rewards a single visit - sports scores, weather, or newspaper headlines.

4) Communities are overrated. Do you really want to encourage hours of chat in your expensive online salon? Same goes for webmail. Free Internet service providers, such as NetZero, are already limiting users to just two hours a day - when the law of diminishing returns kicks in hard.

5) Chase dilettantes, not obsessives. Just ask the game sites. Gamers spend hours reading hints and cheats; from an ad perspective, that makes them parasites. A passing interest in, say, movie listings is, economically speaking, a lot more desirable. (Wired's "New Rules for the New Advertising Economy")
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