I have voiced my concern with the volume of ads appearing on publisher homepages in the past, and today I thought it'd be an interesting time to see whether ad messages are dominating publisher homepages still.
As an agency guy, I think the less ad units a publisher has on their homepage the better. I think as an advertiser if you're forking out between 50-130k for a homepage execution, it devalues the placement for it to be surrounded by countless text ads for credit cards and debt consolidation.
Plus, I think the user deserves the frontpage to be clean and easy to navigate.
So, effectively, the publishers are failing both their stakeholders.
And you would never see the front page of a newspaper filled with ads.
Anyway - lets look at the totals for Monday 25 August.
Yahoo!7 - 16 total ads
Excessive ad units add more clutter to an already cluttered experience. Overwhelming.
ninemsn - 14 total ads
Biggest positive is that the area above the fold is pretty clean - still, a lot of text placements here.
theage.com.au - 16 total ads
Admittedly, 8 of these placements are Sponsored Links ... and the page is pretty long ... but Fairfax are squeezing every penny out of their eyeballs and advertisers.
smh.com.au - 17 total ads
We have a winner! Optus have a med rec + OTP ... as well as the Sponsored Links placements and the awesome bottom leaderboard. More finance sales pitches than a bank manager.
news.com.au - 8 total ads
Good effort. Marks deducted for news still considering the 468x60 banner to be acceptable as well as two display ad units above the fold.
Bigpond - 4 total ads
Bigpond only have 4 external advertisers on their homepage - not bad. Let down unfortunately by their horrendous Bigpond Shopping page dominant ad.
Google - 0 total ads
And this is Australia's most popular page ... which says to me users enjoy less clutter.
I would like to see a publisher look to place LESS ads on their homepage, but extract more yield from these placements. Both advertisers and users would value less ad clutter and advertisers would be prepared to pay more.
Right now the amount of ads on homepages makes the industry look amateur and greedy in the eyes of most. And excessive ad placements effectively devalue these "premium" placements in the long term.