Homepage Takeover

Homepage takeovers are a relatively common strategy used by advertisers to crowd out any competition from one of the most viewed pages on a specific web site. This implementation is simple; it involves giving 100% share of voice to an advertiser on the home page of a site, resulting in no other ads being seen:

Homepage Takeover Example on Digiday

The example above features standard ad units occupied by Integral. Homepage takeovers can also include higher impact, non-traditional placements. IMDb.com regularly implements a homepage takeover the includes the IAB standard units on the homepage as well as “skins” that surround the content.

Below is an example of this in action:


Homepage Takeover Rationale

Homepage takeovers are appealing to many advertisers for a number of different reasons:

  • High Impact. Essentially, the theory here is that 1 + = 3. In other words, the reinforcement of the advertised brand gets additional exposure as a result of being seen multiple times on a page.
  • Co-Branding. The high frequency (i.e., 100% SOV) of the ads also allows advertisers to maximize the co-branding benefits that come with being associated with the publisher. A homepage takeover is a way to create a link between the respected publication and brand being promoted.

For most sites, the homepage will be the most heavily-trafficked page. As such, it’s the most commonly targeted page for a takeover. However, it is also relatively common for advertisers to “take over” other pages on a site (more on this below).

Homepage Takeover Pricing

The simplest way to price a homepage takeover is to charge the advertiser the standard CPM for the ad units shown. For example, assume a homepage that includes a 728×90 leaderboard normally priced at a $5 CPM and a 300×250 rectangle priced at $15. If the homepage receives 2,000,000 monthly views, the price tag would be $40,000 ($20 x 2,000).

In some instances, however, it may make sense to price this offering either above or below the standard rates. The reasoning is as follows:

  • Higher CPM: As mentioned above, the homepage takeover can deliver additional value by coupling ads from the same advertiser together. Moreover, it generally requires some additional work to implement properly.
  • Lower CPM: Because homepage takeovers generally represent a substantial number of impressions. As such, it may be appropriate to give a volume discount.

Because the exact number of impressions is difficult to estimate in advance, many publishers will estimate or simply charge a flat fee that roughly corresponds to the effective CPMs deemed to be appropriate.

Many large publishers sell homepage takeovers on a flat fee basis. Yahoo! and AOL reportedly charge close to $500,000 for advertisers to take over their homepages for a single day.

Many publishers also offer “roadblocks” that are substantially similar to a homepage takeover. Roadblocks may include pages besides the homepage of a site. For example, an advertiser may wish to “take over” a page or set of pages related to their product or services. Below is a takeover by Sake Fifth Avenue on the Fashion & Style page of the New York Times:

Examples of a Takeover on NYTimes.com

Homepage takeovers have several advantages to publishers:

  • Opportunity to sell large percentage of total available impressions (assuming the home page is one of the most viewed pages on a site)
  • Opportunity to strengthen relationships with advertisers by delivering high value placements
  • High quality of advertisements (coordinated ads on the home page generally give a higher impression of quality, especially compared to text-based ads).

Below is an example of how a homepage takeover might be presented on a display ad proposal: