My first post about a “homepage takeover” ad was seven years ago when the Wall Street Journal (WSJ.com) and the New York Times (NYTimes.com) sites ran what I thought then (and still do) was a brilliant ad. (But I didn’t know the technique had a name like “homepage takeover.”) I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, however, as the ad didn’t just take over the page, it mingled with the page — demonstrating some witty interplay with the 2008-era conventions of a news website.
While not as witty as the Apple example that interplayed with the web page context, over the years, the “homepage takeover” has evolved in a way that I notice often (due to me visiting the site more often, not necessarily because they do it more than others) on IMDB.com.
Such takeover ads (not to be confused with the “interstitial” ads that cover-up the page when you visit a site, say, Forbes.com) typically are displayed as the background of the editorial content of a website.
Today, Wired.com unveiled a new design that uses takeover ads on section landing pages–but not, as yet, on their homepage. (Click on a tab at the top of any page).
I do not believe there are any ethical issues in accepting such advertising. It is extraordinarily obvious that it’s an advertisement and I find it no more intrusive than a five minute commercial block in the middle of a broadcast channel TV show.
As a marketer, I think it’s easy to declare that a page takeover ad does what banner ads don’t: get noticed.
As a publisher, I think it’s easy to declare that it’s the only ad format that you can honestly say, “it’s not about click throughs, it’s about branding.”
As a publisher, I can say these ads are incredibly expensive to place.
As a friend to the 12 people who read this blog, I’ll say this: Wired.com’s brand and 20 years of excellent content enable them to try things that others might discover will blow up in their faces.
Wired.com’s front page and two section landing pages: