BAD ADS are a waste of every person's time, so avoid making them. Following are some ads that, while perhaps attracting some small portion of the Internet audience, aren't designed to succeed in drawing traffic.
I won't detail why these ads fail. Some are more obvious than some others, but as a self-proclaimed fucking advertising god, I have an eye for these things.
You might look at a couple of these ads and say to yourself, "What? That's not bad!"
The problem is, you're now studying them, rather than ignoring them in the Wild Web Wonder.
For instance, the "If you love something" ad is neato burrito -- but I've been staring at it for hours now.
(Making this a miniature version of saturation marketing. You're not interested in this, because it's very expensive, long-term stuff.)
My job here is to show you what works and what doesn't when trying to draw the eye of a might-be interested reader in a non-invasive and yet compelling manner.
Unfornately, totally explaining it would require a book -- which you can find any number of -- and frankly, I don't get paid enough!
But you can gain some insight by studying the message of the ads, how they're composed.
spread the word?
Prolonged, consistent exposure is essential -- how often have you clicked on a link, advertisement or otherwise, after seeing it more than once?
Then again, your ad is not going to be stuck on some site that has ten readers reading it regularly. Sure, they'll know you, but is ten all you want? Prolonged exposure in front of a few hundred readers is prime-time on the Web.
Four thousand impressions will last a couple weeks, but not a couple months. Last month (January 2002), we garnered:
Click on one of the links above and you'll see what we mean -- depending on the page, the colors stand out from the rest of the page, the fonts are different, and they're "above the fold," meaning people don't need to scroll down the page to see them.
*which admittedly is a phony number touted by major online marketing firms, but since we're beating their average, we'll go ahead and brag about it. At least we aren't claiming something outrageous like some lying, thieving, baby-eating ad agencies. Sheesh.
RIGHT STRONG COPY
Yep. And you noticed. And now you know why correct spelling is important -- because otherwise you look like a fool, which may be all that's needed to chase away that potential viewer.
Disclaimer: If you have a reason to misspell a word -- as I did when I used "right" instead of "write" -- then ignore the above. End of spelling lesson.
We don't have the space to cover ad copy in general, so let's talk in terms of your Adfarm ad, which consists of two things -- a headline and descriptive text.
That's all? Yes -- but this is a good thing.
The Web is text-centric. We ignore the pop-ups, the animations, the banners. When Salon invades the story we're reading with a wank cartoon pushing Visa, we click away.
The vast majority of our time on the Web is spent reading words, not listening to audio files or watching flash presentations.
Text is king. It's non-invasive, and if relevant to the reader, produces clicks.
The challenge is creating compelling copy. A snappy headline draws more attention than a weak one. Strong descriptions draw more click-thoughs than flat verbage.
Look at headlines for NA!P ads. Some simply name the page, like "Crazy Asian Drinks". That's because the title of the page already draws those with an interest in such content.
On the other hand, rather than name the ad for our links page "NA!P Links," we went with "Damn Fine Links," feeling it better communicated the idea of what we were offering.
One ad we saw on Adfarm pushed "NewtonLeibniz: Links & Junk" (see it in the left column). Bad on both fronts -- no one knows what "NewtonLeibniz" is. However, this wouldn't be a big problem if the following text had interested the reader -- but describing the page as "Links & Junk" simply means there is stuff to click (a not-rare commodity on the Net) and other stuff labeled "junk." Why click? You can find links and junk anywhere on the Web.
Say the creator of that ad had pushed it as "NewtonLeibnitz: Most Amazing Blog EVER". He'd get traffic from a) bloggers, b) blog fans and c) people who'd click just to see how good his shit was -- and maybe get a few regular readers from each group.
"Damn Fine Links" may not be a blockbuster ad, but it does communicate that we like them, and often, that's all that's needed.
Question is, what needs to be said in your headline and text in order to draw viewers?
MULTI-SITE CAMPAIGN? BEWARE
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