Redesigning Your Ad-Supported Site For Viewability & Mobile
Columnist Rob Rasko lays out the important considerations for sites looking to draw more advertisers.
Now, more than ever, publishers need to focus their attention toward optimal site design to own a piece of the advertising puzzle.
At The 614 Group, an extensive amount of our work involves creating roadmaps to guide our publisher clients through the execution of their robust digital media strategies. Our job is to anticipate challenges lurking around the corners and to seek out opportunities that our clients can capitalize on.
Once we’ve assessed a client’s needs and current situation, we help design a sustainable and profitable revenue strategy. This year, I’m finding a common element in many publishers’ profitability plans: the need for a website redesign.
If you’re a publisher seeking to redesign to maximize profits in this rapidly-changing display ad environment, the following are key items to consider as you proceed.
Your Redesign Roadmap
In 2015, what are the key elements to consider when preparing for site redesign? Do you have a roadmap to guide you? What are the internal and external hurdles to consider?
In order, here are the key elements that my team and I will be thinking about as well as the reasoning behind our prioritizing them.
1. Viewability & VBR™
Viewability is the word of 2015. Until recently, it was only a whisper; but, as this metric has risen in prominence and is being considered by advertisers that are demanding viewability guarantees, publishers will have no choice but to be ready to transact on viewability.
But, how does this affect site design? We have been working to help many of our publisher clients to quickly be ready to transact in a viewable landscape.
A key element of our method is what we call the VBR™ or Viewability Base Rate; this is the average tested viewability rate you are seeing across your sites and across campaigns.
Once you have your VBR™ you can do many great things, like consider site design elements and begin to negotiate transactions with the marketplace. If you know your numbers you can build a strategy to improve them.
2. Native Advertising & Content Discovery
Native advertising was one of 2014’s most overused terms. By design, native ads are meant to be relevant to the publisher’s message, allowing them to coexist with the website’s subject matter and adding to the consumer’s overall experience.
Publishers leveraging these executions to draw attention on their own properties will also help move consumers around the website, and each subsequent ad engagement to the initial campaign will help curate an affinity for your brand and content.
What was once an obtrusive aspect of the consumer experience has now shifted to a value-add, making native a critical component of any website redesign strategy.
3. Mobile Migration Of Your Audience
Data from various research companies shows that between 30-50% of a publisher’s audience is now reaching their content through a mobile device – numbers too large to ignore.
This year, we will break down a mobile migration strategy into three pieces as a guide for publishers on how to consider their mobile journey. It is our opinion that when you break the problem into three key components — Mobile Ad Serving, Mobile Rich Media & Video and Monetization Partners — they can be more easily dealt with.
Mobile Ad Serving. In traditional display advertising you can choose an ad server and then make all subsequent choices — about rich media and monetization, for example — at your discretion later. With mobile things are different, especially in the application environment when a SDK (Software Development Kit) is involved.
This code can only be changed a certain amount of times based on your relationships with the app stores and distribution. Because of this, many detailed choices must be made in advance of choosing your SDK, requiring you to do more research when considering your ad serving partners’ capabilities in the planning stages.
Mobile Rich Media & Video. Once you have your ad serving in place, the conversation around what types of advertising you will serve can begin, including static ads, video, and rich media.
Monetization Partners. Finally and perhaps most importantly, consideration must be given to how the ads will be sold. Are you going to sell them internally or are you going to use a partner? Again, this requires a review of the landscape and who best to partner with.
I will be covering this topic in more detail throughout the year but you can use these points as a starting point for consideration.
When Starting Out, Begin With The End In Mind
Author Steven Covey said it best: [blockquote]Begin with the end in mind.[/blockquote]
When I’m working with clients, I am always most interested in hearing what the ideal user experience should look like from their point of view.
My team and I then use this information to determine the publisher’s current user experience and monetization strategies, understand what an optimal goal is for both, and ultimately use the starting and end points to backfill the client’s custom roadmap as a guide to reaching its goal.
Whether you’re building your first website or looking to optimize your revenue strategy on your current properties, it’s important to have a roadmap.
Do you think we’re on the right track? Feel free to share your thoughts!