As quite a few of you have pointed out, I’ve made a few changes to The Deets’ design in the past few weeks.
There were a few different reasons for doing this. Mainly, this was done to increase the size of the body of posts and to create more advertising-friendly spaces. This is definitely a work in progress, but I’m relatively pleased with the transition. Especially because I picked up a few additional technical benefits along the way that I may or may not discuss in the future.
Let’s talk advertising.
Here’s what has changed:
1. Switch to ad serving through Google AdManager rather than direct serving of ads (in most cases). This allows for much greater control over ad serving. For example, ad of this writing, I’m serving a handful of ads from local businesses on the site. Those ads only appear to people visiting The Deets from within the Twin Cities metro area. The same ad spots display ads from different advertisers when people visit the site from different areas of the country or world. This is done to treat local advertisers like humans. Why pay to display your ads to people who have no chance of buying anything from you?
2. Switch to IAB ad sizes. I don’t make the rules, but I’ve found, in this case, that it pays to follow them. There are standards for online advertising sizes. Banner ads on the site now comply to those standards. As of this writing, I’m serving banners in the following sizes: 468×60, 300×250, 125×125, 336×280, 160×600. Not all sizes appear on all pages and some have more than one placement on pages. As someone who both buys and sells online advertising, here’s a quick piece of advice to advertisers: when you create online ads for your site, create ads in ALL available sizes. You’ll see some of your cheapest impressions and highest click through rates on the more obscure sizes. Of course, you’ll still get your highest impression counts on the more common sizes.
3. Real-Time Ads. I believe that ads on a media site should fundamentally be content. Seriously. Ads do not have to interrupt people to pitch random products or services. Ads, at their best, provide valuable commercial messages that readers find valuable. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, just look at a print edition of the CityPages. Think about this: There are people who pick up the CityPages specifically for the ads. Done well, ads are content.
With that in mind, I’ve created a new ad format I call “Real-Time Ads”. Real time ads are placements on The Deets that can be updated in real-time by The Deets’ advertisers. Always current. Always valuable.
Here are a couple examples of this:
What’s going on here?
Merlin’s Rest has one of the best web strategies of any business in the Twin Cities. Rather than spending way too much on a website built in Flash that pisses people off, doesn’t show up in search engines, and is impossible to update, they used WordPress as their website’s platform. On top of that, they update the site every day with a note about what’s going on daily at their wonderful pub. I pull in the headline from their latest update to The Deets and include a link back to their site. This is automated, so as soon as they create a new update it’s live on TheDeets.com. All of a sudden, this local business is able to communicate about what’s going on tonight in real-time to a local audience. And they can do this without doing any additional work.
Common Roots Cafe offers excellent locally sourced, delicious meals. Or, as they’d describe it, “Good food made from scratch with local ingredients, beer on tap. and much more.” That’s pretty awesome. However, their website is relatively static compared to their menu and events. The good news is that they have a Twitter account (free) and use it to send out updates about their restaurant. Updating their Twitter account can be done from a computer or a cell phone so if someone in their kitchen could sends an SMS message from their phone to Twitter (send the word “join” to the number 40404 to get started), that message will show up on The Deets in real-time.
Riverview Theater is the coolest movie theater in the Twin Cities. And it has the best popcorn. Unfortunately, they don’t use a blog to update their website. And they don’t use Twitter to publish their movie schedule. But I can still pull in their latest movie times from their website to The Deets. Technology is great.
In all three cases, the businesses don’t have to do anything different from what they’re already doing in order to post relevant local ads on The Deets in real time.
Would you, a reader, rather see a redundant banner for a business for an entire month or see daily updates about what’s going on at local venues after work?
Would you, as an advertiser, rather have the ability to update your online ad in real-time, for free?
Give it a try!
Here’s the deal.
$1 for the first month (seriously), and $100/month after that. I plain to sell up to 10 of these to fill up the left column. They’ll be ranked on the page based on the order that they’re sold. Assuming they sell out (this is a seriously good deal) I’ll increase the price for new advertisers to replace early adopters who drop out.
In case you weren’t paying attention during the last paragraph, I’m saying that your ad could appear at the top of the first column to the right of every blog post on The Deets for the next year for only $1101 billed in monthly payments of $1,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100,$100.
Now wait a minute. Does anyone actually read The Deets? Fair question.
Here’s the deal: The Deets gets a boatload of traffic, but all that really matters is local traffic, right? Exactly. I’ll sell traffic to people visiting the site from Canada to Canadians.
The local Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro crowd is hitting 20,000 pages/month and growing, so at $100/mo that’s a fixed advertising CPM (cost per 1000 ad impressions) rate of $5. And that’s for higher quality real-time ads than you can get elsewhere. Seriously. Step up and lock in today to get the best value in online advertising in the Twin Cities. Lock it in.
Why can I do this for so cheap? Because this is a hobby, but still has value.
So, here’s how you do it. Sign up using this PayPal order form (call me at 651-592-4063 if you have questions):
If you’ve made it this far, you should spend $1 for a month’s worth of advertising just for the fun of it. Do it.