So, tell me what you want (what you really, really want)

When you are first thinking about online advertising (and pretty frequently after you get started), you should begin by setting some clear goals for your campaign

Begin by asking yourself a few questions about WHY you want to advertise in the first place.

Are you advertising to:

  • To improve your sales?
  • To increase brand awareness?To sell one particular product or bring attention to a sale, event or opportunity?

When you’ve really thought about this, you’ve determined the purpose of your campaign. A good start!

Now, it’s time to get to some specifics:

  • What would a successful campaign look like for you? (How many clicks, sales, leads, etc.)
  • What is your time line for achieving this goal?
  • Is this a short term goal?
  • What would these goals look like in the long term?

Once you think about these goals and have an idea about what you would like to get out of your campaign, it’s important that you share them with the site(s) you plan on advertising with.

Help us help you! If we don’t know what you’re trying to do, we can’t make use of what we know to help you succeed.

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The report is live!

We’re happy to announce that we’ve finally released a free report that we’ve been working on for months.

It’s called “The Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Ads for Design Sites.”

It started based on some internal conversations we were having when we were trying to come up with a good answer to one of the most common questions we got from new advertisers – “what works?”

To figure out a good answer, we started researching.

We went through the performance data of ALL the ads that ran on Design*Sponge over the past year, digging through the data for trends.

The key questions we set out to answer were:

  • What did the ads that performed the best have in common?
  • What did the ads that didn’t do so well have in common?

You can get a copy of it here.

(You might also be able to get it from that form on the right…)

Read it, and let us know what you think in the comments!


The Design*Sponge Ad Team

Numbers Big and Small

One thing that takes a little getting used to when you enter the world of online advertising is the large and small numbers you are dealing with.

For example, on Design*Sponge, if you advertised with us for a month, your ad would likely be seen more than 7 million times. That’s a lot of times! And it sounds like a lot of times. But if your ad is seen 7 million times, how often can you expect your ad to get clicked on? 20%? 10%? What if it is a really good ad? 30%?


Above average click thru rates are not in the 10-30% range. They are not even in the 1-3% range. That’s right– an amazingly successful ad on a design site will likely not even have a click thru rate of 1%. According to industry standards, your ad is doing above average if its click thru rate is above .1%. Talk about sounding small.

How could that be true? Well, how many websites do you look at a day? How many times do you go to Google? The NYTimes? Facebook? Or maybe you are like me and have a fondness for sites with pictures of cute animals on them (I’ll see you over at Cute Overload in a few minutes!). Just think about how many times a day you look at Design*Sponge.

Chances are you spend a good portion of your day online and look at many different web sites. And probably every single one of those sites are showing you ads-not just one ad but many ads. Ads of different sizes and shapes. Text ads, animated ads-great ads and terrible ads. How often do you click on those ads? Probably not that often.

Did I really just write that? On a blog about online advertising? That you probably don’t click on online ads very often?

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Meet the Team: Leslie

Hi everyone!

My name is Leslie and I am the Associate Relationship Manager at Design*Sponge. My main focus for the Design*Sponge ad team is also my favorite part of the job: helping our small business clients, who are often new to the world of online advertising, get up and running. Like Felice, I did not end up at Design*Sponge because of my background in online advertising. In fact, my experience lies in the education and the nonprofit world.

In 2008, I left the Boston area to follow a dream I’d had since I was 11 years old: to move to San Francisco. I picked up and left everything I knew to move to my favorite city in the U.S.

In between job searching, doing freelance work and strapping on my sneakers to explore the great neighborhoods in San Francisco (including visiting many of the shops that have been highlighted on D*S), I found myself with a little bit of extra time on my hands.

During a conversation with my brother Aaron, (a.k.a. “AC”) about Design*Sponge, he happened to mention that there was plenty of work to go around on the ad sales side of things. I am an avid fan of Design*Sponge and I was excited by the idea of working for the site. I loved the idea of learning a new field and doing my share for what seemed to be quickly becoming a family business—so I jumped on board!

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Learning the Lingo: The Basics

To get started with on-line advertising it helps to have a grasp of the lingo. There is a lot of insider vocab that may be thrown around willy-nilly but the first tip I am here to share is: ASK! You are definitely not the first person to question what a certain term might mean. Your ad sales team is prepared to help you. Even if you think you know what something might mean but aren’t 100% sure—ASK! It is okay and we would much rather you understand all of the intricacies before you get started.

I am going to give you a few of the basic terms to get started:

ABOVE THE FOLD: the highest placements on the page that can be seen without scrolling down the website.

CAMPAIGN: your ad sales strategy in order to bring more business to your company.

CLICK: when a viewer on a site clicks on your ad and is brought to your site (different from an impression or pageview when a viewer just views the ad and does not click on it).

CPM: Cost Per 1,000 pageviews. Ads are often sold in this way and often means that they will not appear on the page all of the time (unlike a flat-rate ad).

CREATIVE: your ad image.

CTR: Click Through Rate. During your campaign we can determine your CTR by dividing how many clicks your ad has received by how many pageviews you purchased. This number can give you an idea about how well your campaign/ad is doing and how the viewers are responding.

IMPRESSION: Each time the site is viewed on someone’s computer, the site is re-loaded or a different page of the site is viewed.

PAGEVIEW: For our purposes, this is the same as an impression.  (However, it is possible to have a pageview without an impression – if there is no ad on the page.)

VISIT: Each time a viewer looks at the site (different than a pageview because a viewer could look at multiple pages on the same site and it would be one visit but multiple pageviews).

I hope this helps you to get started and begins to decode a small part of online advertising for you!