Ad Market Down, Innovate to Increase Value

logoseamlesswebboxIn a down economy, many things take a hit.  One market that is hurting right now is the advertising market.  Advertisers are spending less money, pulling ads that they don’t necessarily feel good about, and eliminating all ads that do not convert.  This means that websites that rely on advertising revenue to survive must respond in any way possible.

The two most important things that you have to consider when selling ads are website traffic and advertiser relevance.  Since advertisers are going to need to see real results to continue to advertise in this economy, websites need to be able to produce those results right away.

  1. Increase the value of the site. Increasing the value of a website will help drive more traffic.  The more traffic you get, the more ads you can serve.  This will help you reach more advertisers, and charge more for each ad.
  2. Increase the quality of your ads. Increasing the value of your ads means analyzing what it is that your users are looking for while they are on your site.  If it is a free service, most likely there is information that your users are looking for.  Nailing down the right ads to fit with the user experience can increase your click through and conversion rate a great deal.

For a quick example, take a look at two very similar websites, Seamless Web and Menu Pages.  Both sites are designed as online directories of restaurants in New York City.  Both serve the same purpose: I want to order food but I don’t know where or what.  On both, I can narrow down my search by location, value, type of food, etc.

The major difference is quite simple, Seamless Web allows you to order directly off of the website, while Menu Pages does not.  What does this mean?  Seamless Web has created an enormous amount of value to their site by making it more useful to its users.  And while Menu Pages is a great service, and possibly more popular, they fail to meet all the needs of their users.  For that reason, Seamless Web is set up to get more traffic, and more traffic can lead to greater ad sales.

One final example is Plenty-of-Fish, a free online dating site.  Plenty-of-Fish creator Markus Frind created the site with a simple concept, find an industry in which all competitors are charging, offer the same thing for free, and sell ads.  The idea has flourished.  By adding value to the site (making it free), he has made it one of the most popular online dating services in the world.  With all the traffic he gets from members and potential members, he can serve more ads than similar websites.  And if the average click through rate of an ad is constant, more ads means more $$$.

These are a couple of things to consider as you begin to create or redesign a service.  Websites that show real value to advertisers are going to get the advertising money.  And in this type of economy, it’s something that you need to do to survive.

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4 Responses to Ad Market Down, Innovate to Increase Value

  1. beanbag says:

    Since Seamlessweb’s business is based on online ordering, it’s obviously constrained to only include restaurants that offer delivery/takeout. Of those restaurants, they have to sell their service so seamless ends up with a subset of the delivery/takeout restaurant market. They have done a good job, but are not comprehensive because of that barrier to entry.
    However, Menupages seems to include any and all restaurants they can get and process a menu from within their given market. Hence, their restaurant listings are much more comprehensive. MP does not offer online ordering, a service that can obviously generate revenue if done right. They have an opportunity there. But your post discusses the ability of these sites to sell ads. Due to the reasons i’ve pointed out, MP has a great advantage over Seamless.

  2. Zach Heller says:

    Very good point. I do believe that the online ordering does constrain the number of listings for Seamless Web as opposed to Menu Pages, as you point out. However, the main point is that the exposure can still be greater on the side of Seamless because users are more likely to come to their site to order.

    You can never discount the fact that people prefer to order online versus the phone. In addition, once someone uses Seamless Web, they are more likely to come back every time they wish to order. The value in more restaurant listings, I believe, is less than the value in an online ordering platform. But you can analyze this either way.

  3. I want know what is zachheller.com website’s work

  4. watch5 says:

    I really like your informative and knowledgeable website.
    Thanks for sharing with us.life seems not easy for every one so do not forget enjoy our life every time.

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