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Archive for the ‘Advice for Advertisers’ Category

Hark, the responsive ad, a profound failure of imagination

by Henry Copeland
Monday, June 24th, 2013

There’s been lots of talk about responsive design for websites. If you’re not following the discussion, here’s the gist of the argument for responsive design: publishers should offer readers the same digital content everywhere, just repackaged and reformatted for different devices.

Google is pushing responsive design hard, arguing that ‘optimized’ sites will serve readers better by offering a uniform content experience. (Cynically, one might argue that Google has a strong interest in pushing publishers to push the same content out across multiple devices in various formats so the task of processing and presenting this information is simpler for Google if it’s not different across multiple devices.) The responsive design approach is cheaper for everyone too, since it means publishers don’t have to rethink their content strategies for each new device, just the formatting.

Now advertisers are beginning to explore ways to make their ads responsive. Build one ad, then tweak it automatically so it can run on a half-dozen form factors — desktop, iPad, mini, iPhone, XX and other tablets. You can see an example of one such solution here:

The idea of responsive ads seems silly to me. Imagine trying to build an ad that would “resize” automatically to run on TV, radio, glossy magazines and newspapers. In theory, this might be possible. But this strategy would result in least-common-denominator content, probably just chunks of black and white text. Though even this dumbed down ad wouldn’t work on radio, so maybe a transmitter could be constructed that would turn “responsively” this text into morse code.

Trying to resize both editorial and advertising reflects a giant failure of imagination. Just as the best web sites live and breath in the many dimensions that were unimaginable in the monochrome and two dimensional world of newsprint publishing, the best tablet and mobile sites someday will embody dimensions and colors and experiential textures that aren’t imagined in today’s world of desktop publishing and reading.

By definition, the best ads won’t be responsive; the best content and ads will be unfungible across devices because they’ll embody features that are unique to each tier of device. With this philosophy in mind, Blogads teams are busy working on new ad units that will be uniquely effective on tablets, rather than just resizing versions of desktop ad units. Watch this ever-mutating space to see what we come up with.

Friends with benefits: how some faces can amplify a Facebook ad

by kaley
Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Can a few friends move an election?

Yes, according to a recent study by James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego. During the Congressional Election of 2010, Fowler’s study split 61 million Facebook users into three groups: 98% saw an ad saying “I voted” along with pictures of friends who had clicked the “I Voted” button, 1% saw the ad with no pictures of friends, and the final 1% weren’t shown the ad at all.

20% of those who saw pictures of friends responded to the ad, compared to 18% of the “friendless” users who responded. The study also discovered that the first group was 0.39% more likely to vote than the others.

Not much, say you? In total, out of 61 million users to see the ad, approximately 238,000 extra votes were cast, estimates Fowler. Considering Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio (swing states in 2008) were all won by a margin of less than 300,000 votes, that number could mean the difference between winning and losing a Presidential election.

The real-world impact is undeniable, and according to NPR’s Shankar Vedantam, campaigns are already using followers and subscribers to impact the 2012 elections:

“…[E]very time you get a message on Facebook from the Obama or Romney campaigns, or every time you get a tweet from them, saying please like this message or please retweet this, what they’re doing is taking advantage of the fact that when you amplify a message from the campaign, it’s much more effective than the campaign sending out messages directly.”

Maybe General Motors, which caused a stir back in May by pulling its entire Facebook ad budget due to a “lack of impact on consumers,” should take this as a friendly hint to reconsider.

Photo by Flickr user Justin Grimes

Advertising: give us the real stuff

by Henry Copeland
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

As we’ve observed time and again (for ten years now!) people prefer real stuff created by humans versus over-engineered “products” manufactured by droid-workers. This preference for authenticity holds for content — blogs, youtube videos, Instagrams — and also for advertising. Why should there be any difference, right?

Here’s yet another wonderful example of this reality principle at work. Dude posted two ads, one highly engineered, the other a VERY sketchy Microsoft paint experiment. Which one do you think outperformed by 2.8X?

Blogads.com makes buying online ads even easier — in three ways!

by Nick Faber
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012


For the last 10 years, we’ve worked tirelessly to make buying online ads as painless as possible for do-it-yourself advertisers. Today we announce three more updates to our DIY system that make buying and uploading your own ads even easier.

1. We now accept PNG images for ad creative! Previously, our system only accepted JPG and GIF images. Today we now accept PNG, which is the default image format for Apple screen grabs, and an increasingly popular format for web designers.


Why advertise when your logo speaks for itself (sometimes)

by Henry Copeland
Saturday, February 4th, 2012

11 affordable ad designers for DIY advertisers

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

So you’re ready to buy your first Blogads. You’ve read the best practices guide, you’ve set a budget, you’ve chosen blogs to advertise on. Only problem is, you dont have an ad.

Fortunately, this is a golden age for custom art. Thanks to Etsy, it’s easier than ever to commission a painting of your dog, or your car, or whatever else you can imagine.

And you can also commission custom ads. Here are 11 Etsy shops that can help the create your first ad without putting the hurt on your wallet.

1. Bears Graphics

What you pay: $10

What you get: Custom image (up to 300px), and 3 free revisions.

Customer feedback (100% positive): “I love it! good communicator, understood what I desired in an ad and ran with it.”


Selling big things with small ads

by Nick Faber
Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This print ad for the National Zoo of Brazil says “We can only fit this much ZEBRA on this page… Come see the rest at the National Zoo.”

How can you use the dimensions of your media to inspire great ads? Blogads.com offers 10 ad units in various shapes and sizes. Imagine this ad in a 125×125 button, or a standard Blogad, or a Mini. Is it still effective?

Don’t be limited by limitations. Be inspired. Without landing yourself in the Copycat Hall-of-Shame, that is.

(original ad via homadge.com, example image via mdpettitt)

How to advertise to super-fans

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

image via studiohansa.com

CBS Action is airing Star Trek: The Next Generation in the UK this summer, and wanted to let fans know that they are *the* home of TNG in the UK. London’s Studio Hansa created a campaign that spoke directly to the show’s core audience, and gave a 20+ year-old franchise a bold new look. Here’s how they did it, and what you can do to reach super-fans.

1. Don’t make fun.
Star Trek‘s ardent fans have been the butt of TV and movie jokes for years. To many of them, the word “Trekkie” is derogatory. This campaign avoids the “T-word” altogether, and all other cliches associated with Star Trek loyalists. If this billboard featured a line of convention-goers in Spock ears, the general non-Star Trek-watching public may have gotten a laugh, but would fans tune in?


What the Zombie Apocalypse can teach us about making killer ads

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Yesterday, AdFreak posted the 15 greatest commercials of the last year, as chosen by the Film Lions jury and the Film Craft Lions jury at Cannes. The first video that caught my attention was the “Dead Island” trailer by Axis Animation.

The 3 minutes of video that followed were creepy, provocative, and full of lessons for advertisers targeting blog readers. (more…)

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