Interesting blog by Ian Cuddy on advertising on LG web sites.
As he says in the blog Lincolnshire County Council was amongst those at the start of this. Our involvement started back in 2008.
Surprisingly there was little resistance at high level and amongst the Cllrs to the insertion of advertising per se. There was of course much discussion about the how and the what of advertising on our site.
It’s fair to say we started with the most “intrusive” ( as judged by others) offering with 3 adverts running on a page and all of them moving.
Since the start we have moved to a single add running on a page. Not all of our adverts are animated either.
The most significant issue we had was from a surprising source. We served over 2 million pages to the general public with less than a literal handful of complaints. However in the first few days we had much in the way of criticism from our internal staff.
The sort of quotes we had were of the type of “how dare you put adverts on my pages”. I found that refreshing because for some years the web team had difficulty in getting anyone to take ownership for any web pages at all!
However advertising has not been removed from our site and so far as I can see there is no pressure to do so from managers or Cllrs. The web budgets show a requirement to generate income from advertising.
How has it gone?
It could best be described as patchy. And it doesn’t help we were setting this off in a run up to the recession.
Have we made money?
Yes but it’s not huge amounts… but considering we do absolutely nothing to achieve that income. Well you decide.
Would we use Google ads?
At present we are not looking at placing Google ads into our site. There seems to be a difficulty in controlling what appears on the site. For my part I do not wish to provide the internal dissenters with a perfectly reasonable excuse to shut off advertising.
You can read a piece we wrote in June 2008 about what we went through to get advertising on our site and also the results of some tests we had carried out by ‘Usability Exchange’ on how adverts were perceived by partially sighted or blind users.
You can find that information here… www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/advertising
The centre pane contains the usability exchange results and the piece written in 2008 is over on the right as a pdf entitled ‘advertising on the web’.