CarsDirect.com Publisher Internet Brands Shakes Up Ad Formats

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Jennifer ChauDigital publisher Internet Brands has seen a revenue uptick from a new ad unit implemented across some of its sites.

Since launching the so-called InFold format from ad tech provider Infolinks across its auto community and travel and leisure verticals, revenue in those verticals grew 2.5 times across Web and mobile, with CPMs increasing by more than 180%.

Based on the results, the publisher has plans to launch the unit across its health division later this year.

Internet Brands is a 16-year-old online publisher whose portfolio began with one website: CarsDirect.com. It has evolved from its roots in auto research to provide online media, ecommerce and community sites in multiple verticals. Its publishing brands also include FrugalTravelGuy.com, DoItYourself.com and other vertical sites geared to auto, home, travel and health topics.

Jennifer Chau leads business development for the company’s auto vertical division, which has more than 23 million unique visitors across a family of more than 300 websites.

In selecting the InfoLinks unit, Chau noted that InFold’s appearance was the key distinguishing factor behind the publisher’s decision to shift from a competing ad unit. The ad docks to the bottom of the browser window, and hence is "in view" without disrupting the page. It can be activated by contextual factors including on-site search queries and referral links.

“That location gets a lot more attention than the standard leaderboard placement at the top of the page, where users know there is going to be an ad there and literally don’t even see it,” said Dave Zinman, Infolinks CEO. He noted that with eye-tracking studies his company has found that users have learned to anticipate where a standard placement will be, and ignore it.

InFold employs contextual rather than cookie-based targeting. Those targeting factors include site content and search queries in real time. Infolinks, a 7-year-old company, provides an interface in which publishers can select units to run, based on the page and the yield it generates for them.

Chau said the previous preferred ad format, which InFold replaces, resembled an intrusive classified ads listing with distracting colors and layout. With InFold, Chau explained that the format doesn’t “throw itself in the user’s face” or force the user to perform an action before viewing content. “One of the more determining factors in choosing the InFold product was that it doesn’t serve all the time and bombard users.”

Chau sees InfoLinks solution as part of a broad shift away from standardized formats  one that also encompasses the current craze for native ads.

“(Advertising) is not just going to be about the standard banner ads that stick on the page that everyone is blind to. It’s finding ways to actually have your advertisers come up in the unit, where it doesn’t disrupt the user experience,” she said.

 

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One Response to “CarsDirect.com Publisher Internet Brands Shakes Up Ad Formats”


  1. Alex Niemi says:

    Great article! It's good to see innovation and disruption in an industry that really needs it... tons of potential here.

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