Tag Archives: Ads

Apple’s iAd Platform the “Most Progressive Thing to Date” in Online Advertising

“We feel pretty strongly that this is the way to capitalize on where the mobile Web is heading,” said Chad Jacoby, a senior manager of Nissan’s media operations. “What iAd promises is the most progressive thing I’ve seen to date” in digital advertising.

Advertisers and developers alike are very happy with Apple’s iAd platform. Developers like that they get paid a lot more than they would through other networks and advertisers like that users are much more likely to interact with the advertisements. Applications running iAds are seeing CPM rates as high as $25.

Dictionary.com said on Wednesday that the amount it could charge for its ad space had increased 177% since it enabled iAds in its iPhone app, and CBS Mobile Senior Vice President Rob Gelick said the company’s six apps — including apps for CBS Sports, CNET, and GameSpot, were seeing up to $25 CPMs (the cost advertisers pay for an add to appear a thousand times.)

On the other end of the scale, advertisers are reporting a much greater user engagement. Users spend more time with the iAds than with ordinary banners, and they are much more likely to “click” them. It can be expected that people would spend more time with the ads, seeing as the whole point of the platform is to provide information and entertainment without leaving the confines of the app. Ordinary display ads whisk the user away as soon as they click.

Nissan, which created a multilayer interactive ad for its electric LEAF car, said customers spent an average of 90 seconds with the ad — 10 times longer than interaction times for comparable online ads. Moreover, people chose to “tap” on the Leaf iAd five times more frequently than they clicked on regular online display ads for the Leaf.

If you haven’t seen an iAd yet, be sure to see this YouTube video of the Nissan ad. It shows-off the benefits of the platform (from the perspective of end users) pretty well.

I have high hopes for the iAd network, both as a blogger interested in seeing the advertising industry shaken-up and as someone getting started with iPhone application development.

iAds: Apple Reinvents Mobile Advertising

One of the things Steve Jobs announced in the iPhone OS 4.0 keynote was Apple’s new advertising platform, “iAds.” It’s something I have high hopes for. I think it will promote the development of more free applications.

What’s so special about iAds? For starters, clicking on one of the small banners doesn’t take you out of your application. It just opens an overlay with an HTML5-powered “mini application” from the advertiser, which you can then exit at any time.

The page displayed when you tap an advertisement is very interactive. Video and sound can be streamed to you, freebies like iPhone wallpapers can be downloaded. You can even play little HTML5 games.

Another example Jobs showed-off a few times was using the location tools to help find nearby store or movie theater locations. Imagine clicking a Pizza Hut or Dunkin Donuts ad and having it show you where to find the nearest franchise location.

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Apple to Launch a Mobile Ad Platform on April 7th?

There have been some interesting rumors going around in Apple land again. MediaPost is convinced that Apple is going to announce a mobile ad platform called “iAd” on April 7th.

Precise details of the system and its features could not be discerned at presstime (and calls to Apple had not been returned), but it is believed to have been built on top of Quattro, the mobile advertising developer Apple acquired in January for nearly $300 million, and it is expected to be the first real battle of a Silicon Valley Holy War between Apple and arch frenemy Google that is shifting its front line to Madison Avenue.

I know, the idea seemed a little outlandish to me at first, too. After pondering the thought of an Apple ad network for awhile, it started to make sense.

Apple has two devices that are similar, but radically different in their intended usage, and they both are good candidates for an ad network.

The iPad is intended to be a media consumption device. It’s form factor is supposed to make it a device to read magazines, news and books on. With Apple pushing for publications to make their content available on the iPad and iPhone, doesn’t it make sense for them to provide a premium ad network to make the move more profitable for both parties. With a New York Times iPad application, a Wired app, and more on the way, doesn’t it seem like a comprehensive in-app advertising solution would be an attractive deal for publishers?

The iPhone is primarily used on-the-go. Its users pull it out to find nearby restaurants, check movie show times, buy train tickets, or make other informational or monetary transactions one does while out and about. Geolocation could really be a game-changer for some forms of advertising. Suppose you’re looking for a restaurant in the Yelp application. If you’ve enabled the app to have permission to geolocate you, it could forward your location to the Apple ad network and display ads for restaurants nearby.

Apple has a chance to build an ad network that does things differently. If they impose strict guidelines on the advertisers allowed in, so as to be useful to the user while not becoming too intrusive, they could have a hit. How often do you find ads to be useful? If Apple can break that paradigm, they’ll have done something truly revolutionary.

Ars Technica’s Ken Fisher on Ad Blocking

I’ve written at length before on the subject of ad blocking and how it hurts your favorite websites. My diatribes have been a little strongly worded in the past, which may blunt the effect I intended them to evoke. Fortunately, a much larger site than I has published an article on the subject, and their article, I believe, does a better job at explaining the publishers’ side of things.

Ars Technica’s Editor-in-Chief, Ken Fisher, recently penned Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love, a piece that presents, quite well, the facts of what ad blocking does to a website.

There is an oft-stated misconception that if a user never clicks on ads, then blocking them won’t hurt a site financially. This is wrong. Most sites, at least sites the size of ours, are paid on a per view basis. If you have an ad blocker running, and you load 10 pages on the site, you consume resources from us (bandwidth being only one of them), but provide us with no revenue. Because we are a technology site, we have a very large base of ad blockers. Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn’t pay. In a way, that’s what ad blocking is doing to us. Just like a restaurant, we have to pay to staff, we have to pay for resources, and we have to pay when people consume those resources. The difference, of course, is that our visitors don’t pay us directly but indirectly by viewing advertising.

Whether you block ads or not, I encourage you to read the full article. Even if you think you have made-up your mind on the matter, you should still see what the editor of one of the largest (and highest-quality) tech news sites has to say.

When someone blocks ads on a website they frequent, they are taking money from a company that has to somehow pay its employees and provide funds to run servers. It may not be a pleasant fact, but it is a fact nonetheless. I don’t know about you, but I don’t relish the idea of paying subscriptions for websites.

I don’t ask that you give-up ad blocking entirely. (After all, how would we have survived the pop-up infestation of the ’90s without resorting to blocking them?) I do, however, encourage the adoption of less aggressive blocking rules, and that you whitelist your favorite sites.

BuySellAds Introduces Asynchronous Ad Serving

BuySellAds, the ad network that I use on Webmaster-Source, has introduced a cutting-edge ad-serving feature. Their new asynchronous ad serving script dramatically speeds up page loading times, as the browser doesn’t have to wait around for the ads to load.

Todd Garland, the founder of BuySellAds, hopes that other networks will follow suit with their own asynchronous solutions, resulting in a faster internet.

If the major ad networks like Google AdSense, Yahoo! Network, AOL Advertising, as well as the popular ad serving products such as Google AdManager and OpenX converted their ad code to be non-blocking, the internet as a whole would become an order of magnitude faster. I genuinely hope that the larger ad networks will step up to the plate and follow our lead on this. A faster internet is a happier internet. This is a big deal.

I’m already using the new ad code here, as are many of the sites in the BuySellAds marketplace.

BuySellAds Announces “Premium” and Pay Per Click Ads

BuySellAds has announced two new ad programs that are currently in beta stage: “premium” banners and Pay-Per-Click text ads.

As you know, we have traditionally sold display ads at fixed 30-day rates. It is important to note that we are not abandoning the sponsorship model at all, it is still our core business. However, there has been a growing need for both advertisers and publishers to have more options. Premium and Pay Per Click are the first additional options we are releasing in a series of innovative developments that we have to come.

The Pay-Per-Click ads are a type of ad zone that resembles an AdSense block vaguely, with the most noticeable difference being that the ads have icons next to them.

BuySellAds Pay-Per-Click ads“Premium” banners are network ads. An advertiser can pay a minimum of $2,500 to have their banner syndicated across any sites in the BSA network that run the banners.

Payouts were not discussed in the post, as the new ad zone types are still in beta. Both of the new ad types have one major advantage though: you don’t have to worry about advertisers booking ad spots on your site, as they’re network-wide.

As a user of BuySellAds, I will be watching this with great interest.

Turn Off Caching in the BuySellAds WordPress Plugin!

If you use Thaya Kareeson’s BuySellAds WordPress plugin, turn off the caching feature! To do so, set the JavaScript cache time setting to zero.

BuySellAds Plugin Cache Setting

This is because Buy Sell Ads network is now also tracking the number of times the ads themselves get requested (not just the tracking pixel). If the ads are cached on your server, then they are not going to count in your Buy Sell Ads statistics whenever it is being displayed (lowering your impression count).

The caching mechanism is being taken out currently, but in the meantime you should simply disable it.

EasyList Blocks Me: Yet Another AdBlock Rant

In the past 30 days, this blog pulled in about 37,000 pageviews. While that’s not an astronomical figure, it’s more than the 30 days before. This blog is slowly, but steadily, growing.

To my dismay, my ad impressions are lower than ever. Only fifteen thousand in the last 30 days. That’s down from 20,000…which is down from 25,000. (A few months ago, the ads were getting over 30,000 impressions!) It seems that my ad impressions are decreasing at a rate that’s far faster than the rate that my traffic increases.

Before I do much complaining, lets get a few facts straight:

  • My ads are served by the wonderful BuySellAds marketplace.
  • As per BuySellAds’ regulations, I don’t run any Flash-based ads. That means no sound, no video, no annoying salesmen dancing across the text you’re trying to read.
  • The ads are six small squares, sized 125×125 pixels, in the right-hand sidebar.
  • I set my own pricing. This means I can charge what I think is fair to both the advertiser and myself, instead of being stuck with pennies. I had been charging $30 for a thirty day period, which at one time had meant upwards of 30,000 impressions.
  • I manually approve the ads before they are shown here.
  • The ads pay for hosting and domain expenses, as well as the hours I put into writing. It’s no picnic pushing 6-7 posts out each week; a constant struggle to meet the daily deadlines without being reduced to releasing subpar-quality content.

Obviously I was not happy when I discovered that only one of my ad spots was still filled, the others having vacated earlier in the day as advertisers checked on their investments and took care of their ad bookings for the next month.

You see, advertisers will only pay for what they see to be a good investment, which is figured with a ratio between the cost and the number of times a banner ad is viewed. $50 for, say, 100,000 ad impressions would be considered a very good deal, as it works out to be about $0.50 CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Now if a website charged the same $50 for only 25,000 impressions, that would work out to be $2 CPM. If you could get more eyeballs for the same amount of money, why would you go with the lower-traffic site?

These aren’t Pay-Per-Click ads (like Google’s) we’re talking about here. The advertisers don’t care too much if their ads get clicked. They’re more worried about them being seen. If the ad views go down, I get a lot less money. Period. I can either cut my rates, and make less money, or not be able to book the ad spots at all, and make less money.

What happened to the impressions? I’m pretty sure it’s a result of AdBlock. I’ve, for awhile, used Thaya Kareeson’s excellent BuySellAds WordPress plugin to prevent my ads from being blocked by the EasyList filter, which had included a line that would block content from s3.buysellads.com. That meant that my ad impressions were nearly in line with my pageviews. Guess what happened. I found this little gem in the EasyList filter:


They added a line in to block ads on this website specifically. Here I had been thinking they were just blocking BuySellAds’ ad HTML at the DOM level instead of just blocking the script server, but no, they went and made it personal. Anything with a class of .adblock (which includes ads generated by BuySellAds) is stripped from my web pages. Upwards of four million internet users have the EasyList filter installed and, whether they know it or not, they can’t see the ads if they come here.

An Approach to Fair Ad Blocking

Wladimir Palant, author of the ever-popular AdBlock Plus extension for Firefox, recently penned an interesting article on the AdBlock blog: An approach to fair ad blocking.

As I stated many times before, my goal with Adblock Plus isn’t to destroy the advertising industry. In the end, the Internet does need money to run and ads are still the most universal way to distribute that money. The only problem is that ads are becoming increasingly intrusive and annoying as webmasters try to maximize their profits which is the main reason people install Adblock Plus. So the idea is to give control back to the users by allowing them to block annoying ads. Since the non-intrusive ads would be blocked less often it would encourage webmasters to use such ads, balance restored.

Now it isn’t a secret that Adblock Plus hasn’t been performing particularly well towards that goal. While users can theoretically choose not to block ads on some sites, most users simply install Adblock Plus, choose a filter subscription (which will block all ads without exceptions) and forget about Adblock Plus.

I’ve long been one of the many who feel that ad blocking has gotten out of hand, but it certainly is interesting that the author of the extension has similar views. I think of AdBlock as a pop-up blocker; it’s for nuking the Flash ads that play sound or dance across your screen, not for removing all ads, and the publishers’ revenue with it. No, I don’t click ads, save for the occasional 125×125 banner on a tech site, if an interesting one happens to catch my eye.

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Google Axes AdSense “Video Units”

If you’ve used AdSense within the last few years, you may have heard of their Video Units. They’re finally being discontinued, and frankly I’m not surprised.

Video Units always seemed strange to me. Basically they would scan your pages for keywords like usual ad blocks, and display text ads as usual, but the ads would be displayed along with YouTube videos chosen based on the same keywords. So you end up with automatically chosen videos being displayed on your site, along with some ads.

I’ve always thought of video as content, not a supplement to advertising, and I like to be able to control what content goes on my site. Virtually random videos seem like an odd idea to me.

Plus, wouldn’t that mean that you (and Google or course) are making money off someone elses’ videos, while the creators don’t get any compensation? That hardly seems fair. (Warner Brothers, or some other hollywood company, certainly wouldn’t think so if their clips came up in the units now and again…)