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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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Basics of selling ad space on your site - Part 1

Here are a few basic tips if you're trying to increase ad sales on your site, or if you're thinking about starting for the first time.

1. Know your audience
Do surveys asking people about themselves, and work out your site's demographics. If your site has some form of membership, or accepts donations, you should absolutely have information about those people. They're your most devoted visitors -- know who they are and what they're interested in.

2. Know your audience's value
If your site serves a niche, know how much of a niche it is. And if your site isn't very popular, make sure that there's something about your audience that makes them different from the audiences of other, more popular websites. Know your audience's value, and know exactly why I should buy on your website instead of someone else's.

3. Know your ad space's value
Once you've determined the relative scarcity of your audience, know how much to charge for your ad space. If only a small number of people go to your site (low reach) and you're charging a lot of money, your site had better be the only website on the internet they visit. Because, remember, chances are I can find your audience elsewhere. So price accordingly. Have a niche, and charge an appropriate amount based on the scarcity of your audience, and the reach to that audience that your site has.

4. Charge by the CPM
This is harder than charging by the week/month, but it gives some guarantee to your advertiser that people will actually see their ads. You might not be able to do this at first because it does take some management and administration, but it's something you should be working toward.

5. Be picky with your advertisers
If you become known for having pointless, irrelevant ads on your site, that space becomes less valuable to other, more appropriate advertisers because they'll know that your audience expects ads in those spaces to be irrelevant -- so why would they ever look at them? The ads on Penny-Arcade are an excellent example of being picky with your advertisers. Those ads are incredibly relevant to their enormous audience.

6. Use standard ad sizes
I know, I know, I've complained about standard ad units plenty, but this advice is for people looking for advertisers, not advertisers looking for brand new opportunities. Assume the advertisers you want already have ad units created and don't want to spend money making new ones just to fit into the ad space on your site. Be able to take ads they've used elsewhere and use them on your site.

More to come!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What do you wish big brands knew about the web?

This is a total cop-out of a blog post, I know, but I'm genuinely looking for some advice here.

I've been going around to some of our clients and, well, explaining the present and future web to them, and how it relates to marketing. And also, more importantly, how their audience expects to interact with their brands.

On Tuesday I'll be at one of our major clients and, at this point, I'm a little at a loss of what direction I'll take the presentation. Likely I'm suffering from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to things I could help them with, and that may be precisely the problem. Large companies seem especially likely to misuse or misunderstand this whole interwebernet thing, and it's tough to find a good way to get a lot across without just coming in with a million bullet points (not on slides, because bullet points on slides are awful and you should never use them) of what could be done better and just overwhelm them and myself with information.

So, take a large company, particularly in this market, and tell me what they're doing wrong with the internet. Be it their advertising, their website, or the way they're handling (or, more likely, simply ignoring) social media.


You'll be my total BFF if you help me out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Your microsite is a separate product

So I had a chat with @pirie yesterday that got me thinking more about micro-sites. Basically, when I say microsites suck, I mean specifically micro-sites that are an advertisement solely, that exist only to try to sell the visitor on something.

Simpsonize Me and Elf Yourself are not advertisements solely for their respective brand associations. No, they’re separate products. Simpsonize Me isn’t an ad for Whoppers, it’s a separate offering from Burger King. Landlord Lou isn’t an ad for Killam Properties, it’s a series of funny videos that contain characters from Killam Ads.

Microsites can work if they are themselves a product, themselves an offering. And the hope is that they create a good experience for the user, and they associate that good, fun experience with the brand that’s supporting it.

But if your microsite is just an ad, contains some little gimmick just to get people there but is, at the end of the day, just another ad... Well, it sucks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why is there a game in your web ad?

Is it to drive traffic to your pointless website where the real ad, the actual offer has been placed? Probably. You’ve probably been told that your goal is to drive traffic to the site, or worse, the micro-site.

In some cases this makes a certain amount of sense, especially if the visitor can actually buy your product from the website.

But if you’re advertising that someone go to your store’s physical location, why would you try to “engage” them with a game in an ad unit, drive them to the micro-site, and then try to pitch them on your product again? Why not just sell them with a real ad, a good ad.

Bad Ads

Here’s an idea: You’re trying to sell, I don’t know, coffee. Do you make a game, where the user tries to pour of a cup of coffee without over/under-filling the cup? If you’re a big food company, you just might. And then the user will be sent to the website, get sold on the new coffee (well, hopefully you actually have something new/interesting to sell them on) get up from their desk at work, and go to your physical location a few blocks away and buy some coffee. This is assuming that they’ve seen the ad at work.

Does that really sound like a logical sequence of events?

Better Ads

How about we do this: On all the major/local news sites for a specific area you geo-target an ad unit to postal codes around your physical locations. You run a skyscraper (the vertical rectangle on the right-side of websites), where a cup of coffee is quickly poured and steam fills the ad unit. Maybe there’s a very small top-layer-animation above the unit so the steam of the delicious-looking coffee can rise even higher. On most of the pages on the news sites they check they’ll see this delicious cup of coffee. The coffee and steam disappear and there’s your price-point and the addresses of the closest locations.

And we day-part it, so the ad only runs from 8-11am, Monday-Friday.

No need to drive traffic to a website, no stupid games that have nothing to do with your product. Just an ad for a cup of coffee.

Are there more interesting things we could do? Sure. Given the time and budget I’m sure there would be lots of very effective solutions, but this is simple, fairly cheap, and gets the point across and gets to the point quickly.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

20-something angst

Here's my post on Confused from Oopsy... Was that me?'s blog, called "20-something angst." And it's about my 20-something angst.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blog swap time!!

This is a blog swap guest post. Because some people who signed up for the swap didn't write a post, some people had to be re-paired up. That's why Confused from Oopsy... Was that me says she's swapping with a Maegan. As you may or may not know, my name is not Maegan.

Hi! I'm Confused from Oopsy… Was that me and I'll be attempting to entertain you today, trying my very best not scare away Maegan's freaders. I'm sorry, she'll be back again soon, promise! In fact, she's over at my blog right now delighting my freaders, so go check her out!

Blog swaps freak me out. I adore them, they're sooo much fun (that's why I put my name down again), but having to come up with something sensible to write on someone else's blog is utterly nerve-wracking! I know, I'm not the first to mention this, almost everyone (absolutely everyone?) feels this way. That doesn't make me feel much better right now...

When I got the email telling me the blog swap was up I'd long forgotten having put myself down for it. My reaction was 'Crap, not now!' - Am I allowed to say crap on someone else's blog? Maegan says shit, shit/crap, same difference. I'm ok. I'll carry on now. - I waited a few days for inspiration to strike, but eventually I had to admit defeat. No stellar idea was headed my way. So I made a list. Anything that could possibly be turned into a blog post...

  • Geeky joys: Prime factorisation What kind of a geek goes round calculating prime factors of random numbers and takes such delight in it that it can brighten up even a really crappy day? Umm, that would be me... Suitable as guest post? No. Can't remember why not. Ah well.
  • Clouds I was desperate for ideas and the clouds looked vaguely interesting... Suitable as guest post? No! Wtf?!
  • Trying to think of guest post subject Sound familliar? Suitable as guest post? Yes. -ish.
  • Trying to blog anonymously but being to scatterbrained to stick to itEver since I caught my mum reading my old blog I've been trying to stay anonymous. But I keep doing stupid things like posting the link to my current blog on Facebook. Or posting my proper name, email address (which has my surname in it) and blog URL on a public page... Suitable as guest post? Yes. -ish.
  • My favourite songs Seems pretty much self-explanatory to me. Suitable as guest post? Yes. But probably very embarrassing.

That's the extent of my inspiration. Oh dear... Maybe I can tell you a joke or something. Except I usually confused and tell you the punchline first. Or at the latest halfway through...

So I guess I'll just say goodbye, thanks very much for having me and don't forget to go check out Maegan's guest post on my blog!

Confused :-)