Sure, it is important to have well-worded and visually appealing ads with strong brand messages. And yes, it is also imperative that these ads reach as much of your target audience as possible for maximum and repeat exposure. But you can put the most wonderful ad in front of throngs of potential buyers and still fail with poor ad placement.
Ad placement can mean a myriad of things depending upon the format of marketing being discussed. For example, website ads should be built into the main framework, such as within a sidebar, so that they show all the time on all pages of the site, regardless of new content. And you’ll want them placed ‘above the fold’—which means that viewers can see them without scrolling down. However, ad placement in a newspaper could mean placing a small ad for your gym next to an article about vitamins, rather than a page-spanning ad next to an article about things that can be done at home to save money.
Sprint recently posted an extremely concise and clever ad on CBS.com. Viewers watching the network’s television shows are exposed to two consecutive 30-second spots on every commercial break. Sprint bought an ad proclaiming they the network helps you get exactly what you want, when you want it—and to prove it, the screen simply shows a click-through button that lets the viewer skip the rest of the ad. This instant gratification associated with the brand name is extremely smart, doing more to make a good impression and convey a clear message in one or two seconds than a full-minute ad might. The problem occurs when this ad comes first in the series of two ad spots. Rather than send the viewer straight back to their program, by clicking (following the CTA) the viewer is merely rewarded with…another commercial. Simply by swapping the placement of the two ads, Sprint’s advertising endeavors could have twice the power.
Similarly, the Associated Content website raised the hackles of its loyal readers when ads were placed mid-article, interrupting their reading flow. In this case, the ads became associated with interruption and frustration—so a viewer’s first impression and relationship with that brand was negative. But while more discreet advertising has its merits, tricky ads (such as invisible links on websites) also never win consumer favor.
Marketing experts must do more than place expensive media buys for amazing creative. They must have a hand in the ad’s placement from unit purchasing to proofing the final result. And of course you’ll want your marketing team to come to your defense against the venue if an ad is inappropriately handled in any context—and prevent future mishaps.
To ensure that you’re getting the best ad placement possible, you should not only confirm that intelligent human eyes or ears land on and approve your company’s ad in every context, but also seek ways to measure the success of various ad placements. While this is easy to do online, you may have to be more clever with other marketing formats. For more on this subject, visit last week’s blog about Tracking and Coding.