local media insider
Round up:

Seven hot categories for premium ad units

With examples from LocalMediaInsider's Premium Ad Challenge

Alisa Cromer
Cutest use of Premium Ads was this corner-peel for a baby contest.

Premium ad formats - wallpapers, push downs, corner peels and the like - can difference between getting a "Wow" and a testimonial from the customer, and fighting for the next buy.

The technology is relatively simple. A "quick build" platform such as Impact Engine, can launch a premium ad campaign from a few pieces of creative in about 15 minutes.

But sales reps still need to know which advertisers should be using premium ads, why and when.

So LocalMediaInsider editors teamed up Impact Engine, offering a $1000 reward to find the best campaigns.

Here is a list of the seven hottest categories with campaign examples from contest nominees and entrants:

1. Entertainment

Premium ads that users click on the most are often in the entertainment category; thinking click to stream the trailer for a  new hot movie. Entertainment as a category also includes theater openings, music, ballet, and virtually any kind of theater arts that have an entertainment component. Cirque De Soleil, for example, using premium ads with videos of performers.

Television and cable shows are another category to consider, see example below.

The 'webskin,' or wallpaper ad (click to open)  run by Karen Buckner, Digital Sales Manager at CBS 47/Fox 30 Jacksonville,  promotes that night's episode of Elementary online. The campaign delivered 31,000 impressions - a relatively small buy. However, it took place over a short period, with a CTR of .41% and a total engagement (click throughs and mouse overs) of 23.99%. People like to explore entertainment online.

Click on the image to activate.

And don't forget news. For newspapers with big traffic, consider trading premium ads for television time that can be stock-piled and used for any kind of promotion that needs an extra push.

2. Events

No surprises here. By nature, events are time sensitive and major events are often heavily promoted in a severely compressed periods of time, say, the week of and day before

Think in terms of festivals, job fairs, expos, and of course, the entertainment category, concerts and sports. A good opportunity that is sometimes missed, however, is promotion of event schedules, such as theater seasons during their membership enrollment period and monthly concert schedules.

The key advantage of premium ads is that they open up to show the whole schedule without the viewer needing to click off the site. To a certain extent, an events schedule is news, and thus considered informative by more viewers.

Below is an example from Granite Broadcasting, whose online director, Paul Filip,  used pencil expander to promote the 2014 Country Megaticket at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, co-partnered with BD Gaming. The ad starts big (click on the ad to see the action ) and then self-closes into a clickable pencil. The total engagement on this campaign was 57.43% with 54,437 impressions and a CTR of 1.12%.

3. Store and automotive sale events

Sales are in fact, events, and are called events by marketers who schedule sales for malls. But any kind of sale, even from a car dealer, can be bumped up with premium ads.

For the below ad, a  runner-up in the Premium Ad challenge, the team at GoErie.com - Andrew Kochirka, Graphic Designer; Tom Krawiec, Online Rep; and Amy Izbicki, Sales Manager - created a  premium ad campaign to coincide with a media blitz on the three days before and around Memorial day. Total engagement rate was 93.27% with CTR's in the hundreds

Click below to activate the ad; see the step-by-step case study on the campaign for Mitsubishi SUV of the year campaign here .

4. Politics

Premium ads add secret sauce to last minute poltical campaigns. We first saw this phenomenon in 2010, when we wrote up Did Site Wraps Help Elect This Judge?

Political ads are by nature informational, time sensitive, and often need last minute buys with maximum impact, especially when television, radio or the media site is sold out. So put premium ads in  political media  kits like The  Richmond Times did this year.

PACs promoting issue awareness are another opportunity. When two hospitals merged, Dann Miller, then Director of Interactive Media at the Yakima Herald Republic, ran premium ads for The Employees Union for Yakima Memorial  Hospital (case study here), which, combined with other media buys, to gain public support during negotiations with hospital management.

The wallpaper ads linked to a petition and helped collect names, which were delivered to hospital management during an informational picket. Eventually the hospital backed down.

Below is the creative for the wallpaper and a thumbnail of the full wallpaper that wrapped around the site:


5. Television advertisers

Broadcast advertisers are highly visual and like the extra visibility premium ads - plus the extra, measurable interactivity they can't get with  broadcast television. Even print and radio sites can convert television ads into video formats using Mixpo or Impact Engine, for use in premium formats. Print media typically (but not always!) have larger site traffic, so adding interactive video  from television to a print site is a logical idea.

Meanwhile, television sites have been doing this for years. Ryan Barber, Interactive Sales Manager, at WCTV.TV, won runner-up status in the Premium Ad Challenge, by adding online buy to Legacy Toyota's television schedule and wound up with the ad watched online for a total of 433 minutes – or more than 7 hours, during one week. See case study here.

6. Seasonal advertisers

Events, sales and political advertising are not the only categories that have peak seasons.

Think of holidays, school starts and changes of weather for landscapers and air conditioning companies,  that create market peaks when the most buyers want to purchase. Helping advertisers time their most significant buying times with addiitons like premium units  is a valuable service. (AdMall and Buzzboard offer information on seasonal sales peaks if you use those platforms).

An example from premium ad nominees is ia sticky-note ad that offered  "free enrollment" in Cadence Fitness & Health Center between January 2 and February 4, and ran on The Chattanooga Times Free Press's home page.

Click the image below to see the ad.

Don't forget Colleges and universities which often have a variety of messages that need to be communicated in a timely manner to the community. Think about open enrollment periods, job fairs, etc.

7. Contests

Contests are naturals for premium ads, especially if they are co-branded with the local media.

The "teaser" corner peel below that promoted "You've got the cutest face" contest is a great example posted by Chris White, Digital Media Technical Manager at Morris Communications. Total impressions, 152,366, with a CTR of 1.43% and total engagement of 36.75%.

Click to enlarge - this one's really cute:

Finally, in the contest category, our Premium Ad Challenge winner is an advertiser contest for a high ROI client - a high end residential outdoor remodelor. The client put up a $50,000 Backyard Makeover as the prize in a campaign created by Andrew Burney, WMEE.  In this case the broadcast ads drove listeners to the premium ad for the contest on WMEE.com.  

Click on the image or this link for the full story.

Like most of these campaigns, the premium ad is just part of the solution, serving as the go-to page for the broadcast ads. But the campaign also used text, Twitter, Facebook, and streaming.

In summary, think of premium ads as a way to give an extra punch to the best ad campaigns and advertisers.  To identify target advertsiers for premium ads by the challenge, rather than the category, see also Best Practices for using premium ads.

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

auto, remodel, outdoor, health, events, concerts, theater, contests, premium, rich, mixpo, impact engine


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