Display ad spending rose above $10 billion for the first time in 2010 and is poised to produce even more growth by the end of in 2011. 20% of growth was based on impressions while 26% was related to spend. One of the strategies driving both impression and spend growth are homepage takeovers. According to a report by Macquarie, homepage takeovers accounted for 26% of all homepage ads via Yahoo, AOL and MSN in Q4 2010, up from 18% in Q3 2010. And unless you were living under a rock on July 15th, you saw they were a big part of Warner Brothers push to promote the final Harry Potter. As appealing as the growth potential surrounding homepage takeovers is, it’s wise to determine whether or not your campaign really needs to take that step.
Takeovers aren’t cheap. They can swallow up hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spend. They are certainly not appropriate for Mom and Pop businesses. But for some campaigns, the benefits – exclusivity and 100% share of prime online real estate – outweigh the costs.
Understanding advertiser goals is important but so is keeping them in line with publisher revenue objectives. For example, if an advertiser is looking to stage a homepage takeover promoting the MLB Game of the Week but your publisher network is mainly education-based, where is the ROI incentive for the pub? With regard to the advertiser, what good is securing a top homepage placement if you can’t guarantee the right audience is exposed to it?
Whether you are launching a standard display campaign or planning a homepage takeover, precise audience targeting is crucial to maximizing user reach and increasing ROI. The strategic targeting and tracking of prospective customers ensures that the right ad will get to the right user at the right time. Geographical, contextual and behavioral targeting drastically improves your chances of relevant engagement. And with social media becoming more of a force in the display marketplace, any sized campaign should leverage Facebook and YouTube.
Staging a homepage takeover requires a cautious approach and a deep analysis of the pros and cons for advertisers, publishers and consumers. Make sure you have a diverse, strong ad network at your disposal, one with 3rd party and proprietary technologies to meet your tracking and targeting needs. Also, set attainable ROI expectations for publishers. Homepage takeovers can drive serious growth for some campaigns but they can financially cripple others. Leveraging display advertising expertise could help make your homepage takeover quite a campaign coup.