Web publishers have to balance the line between the content that attracts the user in the first place and the ad experience that's likely to distract or interrupt that experience.
Bigger ads seem to be the current rage. In February of this year, the IAB unveiled six new display ad units it dubbed the "Rising Stars"; larger-sized ads to provide "the Canvas for the Next Generation of Online Brand Advertising." If you haven't seen the units, you should check them out - they are pretty cool and give us media planners a lot more space with which to promote our advertisers. Of course, web publishers still have to balance the line between the content that attracts the user in the first place and the ad experience that's likely to distract or interrupt that experience.
Enter Adfusion's "Panoramic" ad - a new branded content advertising solution that literally fuses together all the elements that appeal to both users and advertisers: original content, multimedia, custom functionality, and social media sharing. I've written before about advertorial, and although the Panoramic ad is owned and populated 100 percent by the advertiser, it comes across and functions differently than past advertorial options. In order to understand the Panoramic ad, you need to understand the whole Adfusion platform, so here's the skinny.
Adfusion has been in the content-as-advertising business since 2005. It has a team of experienced writers who know how to craft attention-grabbing headlines and rich, relevant content. But Adfusion isn't one of those content farms - it has built relationships with top-tier news and information publishers. These publishers elect to utilize Adfusion advertorial content as it suits their needs. Today, Adfusion delivers 125 million unique consumer engagements per month with this model.
Other important elements of the Adfusion model to know are:
Elements of a Panoramic Ad
Adfusion's Panoramic ad occupies an entire page, and each page can be custom-developed based on an advertiser's goals, objectives, and creative assets. The user experience is triggered by clicking on a headline:
The click takes the user to the Panoramic ad page, which repeats the headline and provides a custom article along with other multimedia elements like video, photo galleries, geo-locators, lead-generating offers, social-sharing widgets, or display ads.
Benefits of Panoramic Ads
Unlike ads that appear within publishers' own pages, in a Panoramic ad, the advertiser has the user's undivided attention, 100 percent share of voice. They also have brand safety and control - no need to worry if your ad is going to appear next to inappropriate content. With 100 percent page ownership and control, pharmaceutical advertisers no longer have to worry about struggling with ISI compliance requirements in digital ads.
Panoramic pages can host retargeting pixels. And obviously, Panoramic ads dovetail nicely with other branded campaigns.
Adfusion provides robust reporting of its Panoramic ads with a dashboard that provides at-a-glance ROI metrics like total engagements and competitive engagement comparisons, cost-per-view, smart content messaging effectiveness, and heat map and geographic reach analysis. The Panoramic ad has been delivering impressive results during its seven months in market including 2.71 minutes of in-ad engagement time, average video play time of 66.9 seconds, a correlated increase in branded searches and conversions, and a from-ad click-through rate of 5.19 percent.
Adfusion also automatically translates the Panoramic ad experience to a complete mobile platform, essentially eliminating the need for or expense of a custom mobile website.
Other Details Planners Want to Know
Panoramic ads to-date have attracted and performed well for such advertising verticals as travel/tourism, pharmaceutical, CPGs, telecomm, insurance, and home improvement. It takes the Adfusion team about one week to write an article, and, once they have the advertiser's other creative or multimedia assets, another week to load, test, and launch the campaign. Adfusion assigns a dedicated account executive to steer the discovery process and identify the primary KPIs against which the campaign will be measured in order to assist in the mapping of the page content. The minimum buy-in is $25,000 with a variable CPC between $1.50 to $10, depending upon the campaign.
Oh, and another underreported but often extremely valuable feature for media planners: the people at Adfusion actually return calls and emails and are pleasant to work with. How refreshing.
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A ClickZ expert columnist since 2005, Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is president and founder of Maryland-based WebAdvantage.net, an online marketing company that provides results-centric, strategic Internet marketing services, including online media planning, SEO, PPC campaign management, social media marketing, and Internet consulting. Author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day and an award-winning entrepreneur, Hollis is the Maryland 2007 SBA Small Business Person of the Year. Hollis speaks extensively on online marketing, having presented for ClickZ, the American Marketing Association, SES, The Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association, The Kelsey Group, and the Vocus Worldwide User Forum. WebAdvantage.net's client list has included Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, K'NEX Construction Toys, and Visit Baltimore. The agency was recognized as a "Small Giant" by the Greater Baltimore Tech Council and was chosen as a "Best Place for Business Women to Work" by "Smart Woman Magazine."
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