IVillage Redesign Gives Prominent Play to Advertisers

Starting tomorrow, iVillage will have a new look — sleeker, more modern, with a renewed emphasis on community — that includes several new opportunities for advertisers.

The centerpiece of the redesigned site is a carousel of rotating stories that will appear in a 966×530 window on all of its landing pages (one for entertainment, one for food, one for parenting and pregnancy, and so on). Advertisers will have the opportunity to place an ad in that window, giving them equal play on the page alongside the other featured stories of the day.

IVillage hopes advertisers will embrace the new placement for reasons other than size and prominence, however. For each story in that window, users will be prompted to add comments — without having to click through — which they hope will create a high level of attention to that space. Users will not be prompted to leave comments for ads (not a function most advertisers would want anyway), but iVillage nonetheless thinks the interactivity of the window will translate to better engagement for its clients buying space there.

“It’s a big piece of real estate where users will have the opportunity to chime in and tell us what they think,” Pater Naylor, SVP of digital media sales for NBC Universal, said. “If it’s a story about a family movie, we’ll ask users what family-friendly movie they are excited to see. Things like that.”

As part of the new emphasis on community, iVillage is rolling out a new feature called “Share Your Story,” in which it asks users to submit their experiences on a particular topic. Advertisers will have the opportunity to sponsor this feature. For example, paint company Sherwin Williams recently sponsored a “Share Your Story” in which users were asked which part of their community they would like to see fixed up.

“There is not a piece of content [on the redesigned site] that doesn’t invite someone to share it on their Facebook page or Digg it,” Naylor added, saying iVillage wanted users to indulge their “social impulse.”

The new design will also ensure that all conventional ad units are embedded with the page rather than above the top of the mast. “We’re not going to orphan a banner above where all the action is,” Naylor said. “We want to have your eyes glance across the whole page, and that includes ads.

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