There are a couple of things that really annoy me when I’m online:
- Awesome Buzzfeed lists that don’t apply to me (but I reaaaaallllly want them to)
- People who chronically over hashtag #healthy #food #leaf #salad #green #instafood #instashutupwegetit
- Crap, spammy display ads encouraging me to find out which ’6 foods I should never eat again’
I’m sure you can all agree with me on the last point. The display ad has earned itself quite a reputation for being notoriously annoying in the last few years. However, despite many people claiming the demise of display advertising, I urge you to reconsider the humble display banner and its potential as an effective and useful advertising tool.
The problem with banner ads
Embarrassingly, banner ads have often been associated with the words “spammy”, “disruptive” and “irrelevant”. The key challenge of an advertiser is to pair clever, creative messaging and effective targeting to reach and elicit a response from the right audience.
Where do we, as bloggers, come in then? Undoubtedly, the first step to monetising our blogs should be to consider where we could provide value to an advertiser. Here are some key considerations that bloggers who offer display advertising should take.
1. Ad Unit Placement
An ad unit that is poorly positioned would almost guarantee a less than ideal response. How can we ensure our audience is seeing and interacting with a display ad on our blogs?
Now, we’d never ask you to ruin the beautiful aesthetic you have going on with your blog and turn it into an ad-plastered billboard. However, with some intelligent placement and a little coding wizardry, you can implement an additional one or two ad units without taking away from the style of your blog.
It’s all about the banner placement, and to do it effectively, you need to put banners (not to mention all your good stuff, headings, links to your social profiles etc.) where readers’ gazes naturally falls. This is where the F Reading layout comes into play.
F Reading pattern (see illustrated example below)
- Visitors start at the top left of the page.
- Then they scan the top of the site (navigation, subscription, search, etc.)
- Next they move down, reading the next full row of content… all the way to the sidebar.
- Finally, readers enter a “scanning pattern” once they hit the bulk of the site content.
Implementing this sort of set up will certainly help when it comes to the flow of your blog, and that should translate to additional clicks on any display ads you’re running (whether they be Nuffnang, Google or self-managed).
2. Knowing your audience
The more insight you are able to offer on your audience, the better. Engaging with your readership is great way to uncover specific reader preferences and deduce how your audience would react to different brands and advertisers.
Nuffnang ads are mostly targeted; meaning ads are allocated on the basis of a particular vertical. Choosing the right category verticals for your blog means you’ll be helping us determine if a display ad is relevant to your blog audience. Examples of category verticals are things like “fashion”, “sport”, “technology”, or “food”. You can choose these by completing or updating your Blogger Survey within your Nuffnang account.
Our Ad Ops team uses these category verticals to assign you relevant ad campaigns. While most of the time categories give us enough info to ensure the ads are very relevant, you always have the option of declining a campaign if it’s not a fit for your audience.
Nuffnang Banner Advertising
Nuffnang runs a display unit on every blog that signs up to the network. These ad units serve two purposes:
- They provide us with a means to measure your blog traffic (we love seeing how your readership is growing)
- They allow us to run display advertising on your blogs. Which earns you $$.
We offer three banner sizes at Nuffnang:
- 160×300 or 160×600 (a.k.a standard steve) or Halfsky/sky-scraper
- 300×250 (a.k.a the big square one) or M-Rec
- 728×90 (the long rectangular one) or Leaderboard
Bloggers are only required to install any one ad unit size on their blogs, however, the more ad units installed, the higher the potential for us to allocate you display campaigns.
For more information on the different Nuffnang banner ads and how they work, please refer to this blog post.