How do you add meaningful page views to a web site?
May 25, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

WebContentAndAdvertisingFilter: How do large content sites generate more page views to fulfill ad requirements? You're running a huge web site. You're running low on promised page views to a certain advertiser, and you certainly don't want to give the $$ back. What do you do to generate more, but still good quality, page views?

Examples I've seen are: photo slideshows and contests. But arguably both of these features of a web site, though popular, don't really generate better ad performance - visitors to either of these features tend to click and actually "look" at ads less with those types of content.

Other folks seem to "buy" their visitors with AdWords, but that's hardly an ideal situation either.

What do the big boys do? Googling around on how to "fill inventory" or "page views" usually turns up the opposite problem; unsold inventory or "remnant" inventory that you then sell off to third parties. I couldn't find much on the opposite, though nicer to have, problem of having more $$ and not enough page views.
posted by twiki to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
They break up stories over multiple pages -- even when they're not very long. Then the user has to click 2-3-4+ times, creating multiple page views for what could reasonably be a one-page-view user.
posted by thorny at 8:05 AM on May 25, 2010

Large content sites do not sell advertising in the way you imagine.

Large websites sell a total number of ad impressions. The ad server just keeps spitting out the ad until it's been shown the 100,000 times (or whatever) that was paid for. That can take a day, a week or a year.

In other words while you do promise page views to a particular advertiser, you do not promose them within a specific time frame. Therefore, the need to artifically generate page views is avoided.

Usually past traffic will give the advertiser an idea of how long it will take to blog through 100K ads or 250K ads or whatever, but as reliable as that usually is, it's still just a guess that's made for the future ad scheduling calendar.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:07 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Folks, thanks for the insights so far! Keep 'em coming!

DarlingBri: unfortunately, some high profile sites do sell just the way I've said - I'm newly in charge of one and they will do just as I've described above. What you're describing is Run of Site ads, and yes, that sometimes works that way but sometimes advertisers only want to target certain areas of the site (for example, only the Cars section or only the Technology section) because it matches their product - and sometimes they have a campaign with a start and an end date and the web site needs to fulfill by that date. :)

The current solutions are not ideal in terms of actual user engagement and also not ideal in terms of user experience - I'd like to try to come up with ideas to implement that won't annoy anyone but will help us to meet goals.

(Basically, I'm wishing for a IRunAGoodGoshBigWebSiteAndHere' I can dream, anyway...)
posted by twiki at 8:15 AM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: The term you're looking for is underdelivery. Googling around for that might give you additional insight.

Generally speaking, if a campaign fails to meet its impression goal within its time frame, the site will offer to keep it running until it does, or it will allow the ad to serve in other sections/pages in addition to what was originally scheduled, or otherwise offer some sort of bonus. This will get you the money from Advertiser #1, but it also cuts into available impressions for other paying advertisers, so having a good idea of how many views a specific page gets in a month is crucial. If the campaign is still running but way behind schedule, as long as it is not the only campaign running in its space you can adjust its weight/rotation/priority on your ad server to try and catch up, but this comes at the expense of the other campaigns.

(Apologies if all this is something you already know, since you've certainly got experience with advertising.)

Anyway, regarding splitting things up into pages to increase ad delivery: there was an AskMe on this very subject last month and the overwhelming response was "I hate when websites do that."

There's not an easy way to increase ad revenue for a site without annoying its readership. The big guys spend a lot of time wrestling with this problem, too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:51 AM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Metroid Baby, that was a huge help - thanks for the terminology. Exactly what I was looking for.
posted by twiki at 11:42 AM on May 25, 2010

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