Monday, July 22, 2013

Some suggestions for ads

The Orion will have a new online face this fall. The editors have chosen to switch up the hosting and production of the site and adopted a WordPress template called Coverage for

One of the most noticeable changes will be a cleaner look for the home page, one that isn't so ad heavy. By necessity, advertising on the site is going to have to adopt a new approach, too. I think, in this case, the site overhaul will benefit advertisers and ad sales by moving the website away from its exclusive emphasis on banner advertising.

Here are some suggestions for broadening the number of ad products the website could offer this fall:

Wide skyscraper - This premium 160-pixel-by-600-pixel banner would be the only traditional ad placement on the top screen of the home page (it's the orange rectangle in the screen capture above). It could be sold as an exclusive (at a steep premium) or in rotation with five or six ads (also at a premium).

Medium rectangle banner - These standard 300-pixel-by-250-pixel ads would run on the right third of individual story pages. As many as five ads could be stacked in that position, and all could rotate. This position doesn't exist on the home page. 

Homepage circle - Called "custom tagline," these 155-pixel-by-155-pixel text ads (text reversed inside a black circle high on the home page) could either promote a special section or be sold as a premium ad space. 

Advertising category - Just as classified advertising has its own section in a print newspaper, could have a website category (section) for ads. Three ideas for the presentation:
• Create an individual page in the category for each ad
• Create a single page to display all the ads as standard rectangles or as Facebook-style photo-and-text ads in columns that would look like an illustrated classified ad page.
• Create ad category pages (for example: daily offers, which might be sold in conjunction with the daily deals on The Orion's mobile app; restaurant coupons; clothing; services, etc.) and display either standard rectangles or Facebook-style ads.

Banner text ads - The top horizontal position on the home page is designated for sticky posts, which means one story from each category can be displayed at the top of the page. By creating an advertising category elsewhere on the website, one ad in the category could be displayed with other headlines at the top of home page.

Photo-gallery ad position - One of the features of the Coverage theme is a home-page photo gallery. One of the gallery positions could be sold as a display ad.

Video-scroll ad position - One of the featured videos in the scroll on the home page could link to a Web-based commercial for a local advertiser.

Webcast commercial - Websites with video updates have used several types of commercial messages, among them:
• Standard YouTube pop-up boxes that display over the bottom fourth of the video screen during the beginning of the webcast.
• Ten-second commercials at the beginning or in the middle (breaking the news into two segments) of the show.
• A brought-to-you-by voice-over at the beginning or end of the webcast.

If you have opinions about one or more of these options, or suggestions for alternatives, add a comment below. I'll make sure the ad staff has a chance to consider them before work on this year's rate card gets started.