Advertise Better By Advertising Less

    June 1, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Matt Haughey dug around in his site analytics and found out he might be able to make more ad revenue by not showing ads to his most ardent visitors.

Improving ad performance by showing fewer ads sounds like the kind of philosophy Phil Jackson might bring to website planning instead of dealing with Kobe Bryant.

Haughey posted on his Fortuitous blog how he’d like to convince other site publishers to shut off the maelstrom of banners, rollovers, auto-plays, and popups for the most frequent visitors to their websites.

There are two major types of site visitors by Haughey’s reckoning: superfans and noobs. Superfans have loyalty and keep coming back. At the other end of the spectrum are a vast number of one-time visitors, the noobs who hit the site and flit away to another destination just as quickly.

He also observed some pretty consistent behavior from those noob visitors:

What I realized when I looked at my Google Analytics reports was that the majority of ad clicks are coming from these one-time visitors looking for information….

New visitors to a site love to click on anything that brings them closer to their goal, and often times that’s an ad. This, in essence, is the entire business model of per-click advertising.

Since the noobs were providing so many clicks, it seemed to make sense to give the most loyal repeat visitors a better site experience. By turning off ads those superfans ignored anyway, Haughey increased the perceived value of his site for them, while losing little in the way of ad clicks:

What I found was that overnight, the click-through rate increased. The overall impressions went down, but non-members were clicking much more than frequent visitors.

We would guess WebProNews readers would be pleased to make their top visitors happy while improving their click-throughs. Not every blog or site is the same as Haughey’s, but his experience certainly looks like a good reason to experiment with his more-is-less approach.