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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

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.


Alex said...

I think the same is also happening with contests, I have a client who has run a number of "Click and Win" contests with great click results, yet very poor sales conversations. I think the hokey contest is attracting the wrong kind of people. Why are advertisers so hung up on clicks?

Joel Kelly said...

Because people like me haven't done a very good job of educating them... yet. The client just doesn't know any better, tells the advertiser to focus on clicks, so the advertiser does. Advertisers need to figure out what the client's goals are/should be, and show the client how they can achieve those measurably, without getting hung up on clicks.