Let your designers do their job

If you are lucky enough to have actual professional web designers on the payroll, please let them do their job.

Web design is one of those thankless professions that everyone feels innately qualified to participate in.  Most editors would never consider making a suggestion about code to their tech team.  These same editors don’t think twice about handing down detailed direction about colors, fonts and layout to a designer.

Design is something we consume and react to every day, so it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.  I’ve been guilty of this myself, but I learned some things which (mostly) keep me from attempting to micromanage design.


Choose the best microphone for your video

How important is quality sound to your video?  If you’re recording a webinar and charging a sponsor $40,000, it had better be perfect, but “man on the street” interviews won’t suffer from a little background noise.  Just about any microphone can get the job done, but there are real advantages to having the right microphone for a particular situation. Here’s how to choose: (more…)

Are ad networks evil?

Jim Spanfeller’s article on Paid Content about online pricing discipline, advertising vs. direct response, and the evils of ad networks is a good read, but I think it misses the mark.  Here’s a telling quote:

“These metrics drive the conversation and the core objectives of online advertising away from demand creation (which is basically the definition of advertising) to demand fulfillment or, put another way, direct response.”

The flaw in this reasoning is that it assumes that demand creation = display advertising.  In fact, I believe that demand creation on the web is happening mainly through social media and content marketing.  To think that an online display ad is creating demand for a product, no matter how brilliant the creative, is dangerously dated thinking. Online display ads can create awareness or even interest, but demand?  Not so much.

Ed Dunn left a great comment on Jim’s article:

“…Mommy bloggers writing narratives on a product/service is more potent than a banner ad.  Discussions on a social network about an upcoming movie is more potent than a banner ad. The ability to scan content and return contextual referrals is more powerful than a banner ad. The ability to tie a product into a twitter #subject tag at the moment is more powerful than a banner ad”

So, is it a mistake to allow an ad network to pollute your site with low-quality ads and pay you a $0.27 CPM for something you’d sell direct for $27.00 CPM?  Yes, it’s a huge mistake.

However, the bigger mistake is for marketers and agencies to believe this bulk buy strategy actually advances their marketing goals.  It certainly is easier for a media buyer to be the hero when they can deliver massive impressions for little money.  It’s up to us as publishers (especially niche publishers) to offer marketers a smarter solution.

This post was first published on eMedia Vitals.