Curious if my blog readers have thoughts on this article about advertisements on websites. I've talked about this before in the past - and wonder if these findings are in tune with your own mindset (and in what order).
Can I just say that marrying advertising and content/functionality/aesthetics is the least fun part of my job.
Ok, I promised this blog entry earlier -- so now that I finally have things all done I can sit down and write it. Basically I've posted about AP.net's change in the ad layout quite a few times (search for advertise or use the ads tag to find them) -- and on February 1st we made the change.
The big change of course is how I changed around/moved the modules on the main page. I'll be completely honest - the main reason is to highlight an ad above the fold for advertisers (big one - right side). It's our goal to continue bringing you the best website we possibly can ... and I will always do everything I can to keep our advertisements as unobtrusive as possible. However, at the end of the day - we also want to provide the best service available for advertisers as well. They're obviously the ones that are keep us in business and making money. While that's not our #1 priority, it is something we need to think about. So, we decided to move to standard ad sizes around the website (instead of the wacky ad unit sizes I made up years ago ... seriously, I just made them up) and therefore also decrease the number of ads on the main page ... but use the bigger/standard sizes. This will allow us to give ad buyers a better product, a standard size/product, and maybe attract some larger ad buys in the process. All the while maintaining our current design and feel. I am pretty adamant about not wanting to completely redesign the website -- especially only for ads. There aren't many websites I love the design of these days ... and I may be too close to really properly judge AP.net ... but I like how the website looks and works. It's very functional and easy to use IMO. It might not radiate "punk" or "web 2.0" -- but it's hard to say it doesn't do exactly what it's supposed to do.
In doing this I also decided to change up some of the modules. I promised the album reviewers I'd always be on the look out for how to move their module higher - and I took this opportunity to do that. It's now found on the right hand side of the page along with other "latest..." modules. I then created an "upcoming release date" module to take over the spot on the left hand side. In the future (as soon as we finalize our upcoming partnership with Amazon) I will be putting a special "Amazon Deal" module between the exclusives and required reading on the left hand side. Giving our deals more exposure throughout the weeks. The goal has always been to highlight our news stories ... and then allow access to other parts around the website via modules. Let people know what else is going on ... and the like.
This also means that the sub-page ad units have changed. Seeing as the unit has shrunk to a standard 160 width -- it also means all sub-pages gained 25 pixels of content space. Maybe not noticeable to the untrained eye ... but it is definitely there. Haha.
Unregistered users will see an additional ad in a few places around the website (a 300x250 square ad) always underneath content around the site. This will not be displayed to registered members (incentive to register - there's a link in the footer) -- but this is one of the most popular ad sizes around the internet and it would be foolish of us not to include it on our site. If we end up adding it to other pages - I will make sure it remains only for the unregistered ... I don't think it would be fair to long time users to all of a sudden stick that kinda thing in their face. Trust me -- I am a user of this website first ... and I always think about UI and you first. I'm all about the best of both worlds situations.
Last ... we're trying something new with a few promotions for reallllly big bands/acts/features ... and that's a video feature on the main page of the website (example). This will only be available after being approved by me -- and I'll never run more than one at a time. I want to keep this sort of thing special for video premieres or maybe release dates/exclusive messages/performances or something. The idea is to obviously showcase something ... and not just have it be an everyday "go to the replies for the video" kind of post. It's a more "in your face" kind of promotion. We're trying it out today to see how it works with the premiere of the new My Chemical Romance video.
Anyway - we're booking ads for 2009 now ... email: firstname.lastname@example.org to get something set up. We will do our best to work with any label/band and any budget, before I signed any deal with buzznet I made sure that we could accomodate small labels and bands and provide advertising for them. I believe in this website and the ability to reach our audience through ads -- I think it's a great value/buy and want to make sure we never forget the roots of this website and the labels and bands that continue to be our lifeblood. Seriously -- it's that important to me.
Welp, that ended up being longer than I anticipated.
PS: If you ever have any other ideas for a module that might be cool -- hit me up in the replies or something.