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IDG introduces the Nanosite: a microsite contained within an ad unit

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Custom mini websites known as microsites allow advertisers to make available much more content, in a range of media types, than could ever fit into a digital ad.

But IDG Strategic Marketing Services is trying to change that with its new Nanosite offering. Using ClickTurn, the advertising technology arm of Widgetbox, IDG SMS has shrunk the microsite concept down to the size of an ad unit -- without losing those multimedia capabilities or breadth of content.

Jeremy Rueb, VP-program development for IDG SMS, a unit of IDG Communications, said, “The Nanosite has a lot of the functionality you would have with a microsite on a landing page, but we're delivering it through an ad banner placement.”

Without leaving the page within an IDG website, such as CIO, Computerworld or InfoWorld, users can view a marketer's video, read an article or white paper, share content, take a poll or see real-time feeds from Twitter, Facebook or IDG's media brands.

The Nanosites are designed for engagement, IDG said. “Our interaction rate is 10% to 20%,” Rueb said. “We get those metrics when people spend time on polls, download white papers, share content on social sites, watch videos and so forth.”

Developed in partnership with ClickTurn, the Nanosite is an exclusive offering of IDG. “Our goal is to take the ClickTurn ad platform and come up with new proprietary units we can sell as advertising products,” Rueb added. “We're increasing our value proposition to our advertisers by doing something they cannot do themselves.”

Although each Nanosite is built from templates, they are not cookie-cutter offerings. To develop each one, IDG pays ClickTurn a service fee and charges clients a baseline fee of $15,000.

“The look and feel of the Nanosites will change dramatically from a creative standpoint because each client has different objectives and resources,” Rueb said. “With this platform, I can pick and choose templates for each program and have ClickTurn build new features. I know there's going to be consistency in functionality, reporting and execution.”

Functions set to debut in the Nanosites of two clients are a mobile widget and a lead-generation mechanism. “One client's Nanosite will allow a user to send a link to their mobile device and add a shortcut to their mobile desktop,” Rueb said. “That will launch the Nanosite just like a mobile application.”

For a different client, IDG developed a large volume of content for lead generation, so they added a registration feature to that company's Nanosite. “This is modified lead gen, not full business card information,” Rueb said. “We need to test to see what kind of response we get.”

While the Nanosite Ad Unit is exclusive to IDG, Widgetbox CEO Will Price said the company is working with several other media companies to customize “highly immersive rich media applications that can be served as ads. Publishers have realized that they need to go beyond just selling an audience. We deliver a marketing experience through an ad unit.”

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