What is a 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:

Spiderman

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:

 

Homepage takeover Advice for site owners

A homepage takeover can earn you a lot of money compared to other types of advertising. This is because your homepage will likely not generate a lot of clicks, but will create a lot of impressions.

Many people enter a site through the homepage, meaning it will probably get a high level of page views. However, if your site is designed well, most people will want to continue into your site once they’ve hit the homepage, rather than leave via an ad.

Also, as many people enter through site homepages, they often have a high ratio of unique users. This means the ads people see on this page, are the first ads they see on your site.

Adding all of these facts together means that a homepage has a lot of potential value. It paradoxically often earns little money however. A homepage takeover is a great solution to this problem.

This is why you can charge such a premium. The more well known your site, the more premium you can charge.


FAQ

What is a homepage takeover?

A homepage takeover is a type of roadblock in which the homepage is filled by ads from one company for a specified time frame

Is a homepage takeover Effective?

Homepage takeover (HPTO) is a high-value type of co-branding deal. This is where an advertiser is paying for the value of being associated with the website brand

How do homepage takeovers work?

Most of the time a homepage takeover is sold as a sponsorship deal on a cost per day basis. This means that the homepage takeover will appear all the time for a set period

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