My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Skinning -- The Anti-voken

First of all, a voken is an ad that appears over top of the content that you're trying to view on a website. They're Top-Layer Animations, Flash animations that are meant to make it impossible to ignore the advertiser's message.

And they're really annoying.

Because people can so easily ignore typical banners (people have basically learned to ignore the first 100 pixels or so of a website, greatly reducing the effectiveness of top-of-page leaderboards), vokens are often used to seize the visitor's attention. It's usually hoped that if the creative is interesting or entertaining enough, the user won't mind that they're being content-blocked. Odds are greatly stacked against that happening, though.

Skinning, however, is like the anti-voken.

You get the same attention-grabbing effect without the outrageously annoying intrusion. Remnant space on either side of the page content is branded with the advertiser's message or colours, and the wallpaper may fill the whitespace within the content.

Skinning can make a website look like it's "brought to you by" the advertised brand. If the site is highly-trusted and has good visitor engagement, the brand may be looked on quite favorably.

Of course, the opposite could easily be true as a site's loyal visitors could see it as a takeover attempt, or an attempt to siphon some of their goodwill toward the site.

In either case, though, skinning is a better idea than a voken. Vokens, yes, can be interesting and entertaining, but always at the cost of the visitor's time.

With a voken, you aren't grabbing a visitor's attention, you're hijacking it.

So if you're a publisher looking to increase ad revenue and invite interesting executions from advertisers, offer things like skinning or wallpapers. Allow content to be sponsored, "brought to you by" the advertised brand, which is definitely not the same as allowing content to be controlled or affected by the advertiser.

People like me are always looking for new, interesting ways to advertise our client's brands online, and smart publishers with solid ideas for executions stand a much better chance of landing on a buy than a site that's just trying to pitch us on hijacking their users' engagement.


Kyle said...

Thanks for informing me, I had no idea what voken was.

Joel Kelly said...

My pleasure!