paidContent.org - More Publishers Abandon Relunctance On Homepage Takeovers

David Kaplan
paidContent.org
Friday, May 29, 2009; 2:07 PM

With display ad revenues trending downward over the past year, publishers have been looking for new ways to boost sales. In addition to tests of bolder display formats being coordinated among members of the Online Publishers Association and similar work by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a number of publishers have been warming up to homepage takeovers, which is when a sponsor's ad dominates 100 percent of the opening page and no other ads are shown.

?Marketers gain leverage: This past week, MSN and TVGuide.com began running ads on their respective homepages that bled over the traditional ad units and covered up page elements like search fields. MSN was initially reluctant to run the takeover by Toyota, said Scott Huebscher, an interactive creative director on the car maker's account at Saatchi and Saatchi, in an interview with ClickZ's Douglas Quenqua. The Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) portal eventually went along with it when the agency agreed that the navigation elements up would not be obscured for more than three seconds. More after the jump

?NYTimes needs no convincing: When it comes to homepage takeovers, few have been as arresting and noteworthy as the ones engineered by NYTimes.com. The newspaper site's homepage has been a canvas for the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) vs. PC campaign since last year. The recent futuristic Intel (NSDQ: INTC) ads, which featured the NYT's own brand as part of the ad is a good example of a more aggressive display strategy. Forbes takes a closer look at the Intel ads and notes that spot was part of a collaboration with the computer chip maker and the newspaper website's ad sales team. In general, the takeovers are part of a larger plan to move away from cheap, direct response oriented ads and trying to give display the kind of brand heft that having a full page ad in the print version has. Since the ads don't seem to run that frequently?and they tend to be fairly eye-catching?a reader revolt doesn't appear to have emerged. But determining whether the ads are having a significant impact is harder to tell. But the growing prevalence of homepage takeovers suggests that marketers and publishers are going to be testing consumers' tolerance a lot more.

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