The Online Publishers Association (OPA) announced today a new initiative designed to help stimulate a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet that meets the needs of marketers by better integrating their messages into the fabric of the Web. As part of the announcement, a broad group of its members will implement new interactive, display advertising units across their sites. Starting in July, these new units will be available only through the publishers' direct sales teams.
“Members of the OPA are offering a set of new principles and unique display advertising units to continue to foster innovation and leverage an environment that research has proven delivers better results for advertisers,” said Pam Horan, president of OPA. “Agencies are looking for new ways to integrate their clients’ brand experiences with more interactivity on the page, and these new units provide a way for them to accomplish this while capitalizing on the halo effect of the high-quality media brands.”
These new advertising units reflect the publishers’ desire to achieve four key objectives that will guide the evolution of online display advertising into its next phase:
· Inspire creativity and high-quality advertising: Develop display units that will inspire a creative renaissance in high-quality advertising by providing a larger canvas for creativity, content and functionality.
· Provide a greater share of voice for the advertiser: Increase the relative proportion of advertising space (in a single unit) to editorial content and, where possible, run fewer but more captivating ads on the page.
· Introduce a measurement to capture impact: Develop a metric that emphasizes the impact creative advertising can have on Web viewers while preserving the Internet’s well-established ability to engender response.
· Enhance interactivity to build user engagement with brands: Offer a broad range of interactivity built into units such as video players, lead capture and advertiser content that will be sharable and have permalinks to spotlight and encourage the best in creativity, while weaving the advertisements deeper into the social fabric of the Web.
The initial participating OPA members are: BabyCenter, Bizjournals, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, CBS Interactive, CNN, Condé Nast Digital, Discovery Communications, ESPN, Forbes.com, FOXNews Digital, IDG, iVillage Network, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Meredith Interactive, msnbc.com, MTV Networks, NBC Universal, New York Media, The New York Times, Reed Business Information, Reuters, Time Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and Weather.com, with more OPA members to be announced. In January, these publishers had a combined, unduplicated reach of 108.3 million visitors, or 66 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience. This group of sites also represents 8.17 billion total minutes of time spent during the month (according to Nielsen Online).
“As consumers and advertisers increasingly turn to digital media, we must create formats and programs that support and sustain the differentiating aspects of our businesses,” said Martin A. Nisenholtz, founding chairman of the OPA, and senior vice president, digital operations, The New York Times Company. “Agencies must be given the tools to build brands on the Web and publishers must provide the formats for their advertisers to thrive, while balancing the needs of their users.”
The proposed new advertising units are:
· The Fixed Panel (recommended dimension is 336 wide x 860 tall), which looks naturally embedded into the page layout and scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls.
· The XXL Box (recommended dimension is 468 wide x 648 tall), which has page-turn functionality with video capability.
· The Pushdown (recommended dimension is 970 wide x 418 tall), which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.
The publishers have committed to offer at least one of the three advertising units by July 1, 2009. Advertisers interested should contact their publishers.