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Larry Schlagheck

Larry Schlagheck VP of Media

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Test, test, then test some more with your online ads

You’ve all probably seen the large ad in the upper right-hand corner of the DrivingSales.com site.  It’s tough to miss!  We have some great advertising partners utilizing this position including Contact At Once!, Dealertrack, DMEautomotive, and VinSolutions.  This ad position has always been an awareness-building / branding tool.  Each ad always received a ton of impressions but the click-thru percentage was quite low.  Let me explain.

When we launched this position it was a rotating unit.  Meaning when the page loaded, ads for the advertisers mentioned above would rotate through about every seven seconds.  So, while you were reading and enjoying our content you may have seen 15 – 20 ads rotating through this position.  The result was that each advertiser received a ton of impressions and everyone was happy.

Fast forward to this past June.  We began using a new ad server and it was not working well with this rotating ad position.  Ads weren’t being served up (randomly) or a blank box would show where there was supposed to be an advertisement.  We had to make a change so decided to serve up the ads in this position on a page-load basis.  In other words when you now go to the site the ads don’t rotate every seven seconds but instead you see one ad until the page reloads.   Initially we were concerned.  How would the advertisers accept this?  Would their results diminish?

The results have been amazingly positive.  Let’s look at one particular advertiser.  Under the old scenario of the rotating ads it was getting, on average, 76,000 impressions/month, but its click-thru rate was around 0.04%.  After we made the change its impressions went down to about 20,000/month but its click-thru rate went up 5x to 0.20%. And, its visibility on the site went from seven seconds at a time to two minutes.

As DS.com continues to grow and page views increase, so will this advertiser’s click-thrus.

Point being, don’t be afraid to try new things with your online ads.  Test, test, and then test some more.  Remain nimble and open to new ideas and you’ll find what works best.

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