local media insider

Just lucky? Or did site wraps help elect this judge?

Just lucky?
Wraps have higher click-throughs and can be sold by the day to events or other time sensitive promotions.

Planning to increase revenues from election advertising in 2012? Wallpaper ads, usually reserved for large community events, may be a sought after commodity. In a close race for District Court Judge in King County, Washington State, two judges bought "wallpaper" advertisements on local community sites.

Sound Publishing, directory of sales and marketing, John Greenland,says the two local judges alone spent $4000 on wallpaper ads on the small sites in the last 2 weeks and 2 days of the election.

The "wallpaper" ads, or "wraps" which surround the outer top half of the web site are sold exclusively by the day.

In the race for District Court Judge in King County, Washington State, candidate David Tracy bought a "wallpaper" ad and an ROS medium triangle on all content pages on the South King County community cluster of ten community websites (RentonReporter.com, TukwilaReporter.com, KentReporter.com, Auburn-Reporter.com, FederalWayMirror.com, ConvingtonReporter.com, MapleValleyReporter.com, CourierHerald.com, BLSCourierHerald.com, and VashonBeachComber.com).

Tracy's campaign ended 9 days before the November 2nd election, which opened the door for his opponent, Matt Williams, to purchase the remaining days of the wallpaper ads.

Williams, who wrapped the site for the last nine days won the election by less than 2%, or about 1834 votes.

Timing is everything: Matt not only had the last word, but also about 100,000 more impressions - a 50% difference - the Click Through Rate (CTR) in the days before the election doubled, perhaps due to voters waiting until the last minute to make their choices.

Could this campaign have changed the outcome of a close race? Here are the stats:

David Tracy

227,377 impressions

204 ad clicks

0.09 ad click rate

Matt Williams (WINNER)

342,457 impressions

402 ad clicks

0.12 ad click rate

Judge Position No. 6 short and full term

Matt Williams

49606 50.55%

David Tracy

47772 48.68%

Sound Publishing began selling site wraps mostly for event advertisers in the summer of 2010 and was impressed by the higher click through rates and ability to create higher per day pricing.

Lessons learned: Having wallpaper ads ready to go by 2012 could generate large dollars in a short period of time - since the ads are exclusive, small sites can double rates the last two weeks before the election. Larger sites can also consider sell only the front page or news channel.

Most local sites that advertise to large events should have wrap ads on hand for fairs and festivals. We know of one local site that sold more than 300 days of the wraps in one year. Restricting site wraps to community events is one way to keep them relevant and timely - this is a great way to monetize niche sites and channels.


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