Success Story: How Lessiter is Monetizing Omeda’s Personalization Tool

    Recorded on: July 7, 2022

    Learn exactly how Lessiter Media is monetizing Omeda’s Personalization tool by offering sponsors welcome popups on their website.

    In this webinar, you’ll learn the origins of this successful program, Lessiter’s paid plan for personalization, and the revenue earned.

    Download Slides

    See full transcript

    Speaker 1 (00:00):
    Hi everybody, and thanks for joining us for this morning’s webinar. My name’s Katie Tucker. I’m the Senior Client Success Manager at Omeda and I’m joined this morning by Luke Weel from lesser Media. And unfortunately we’re having a little bit of technical difficulties with our cameras this morning, so I think you guys would prefer to see the slides rather than our faces. So we are going to have our cameras off but this morning we’re going to be taking a look at how Lesser is monetizing Omeda’s personalization tool by offering sponsors welcome pop-up on their websites. Luke is gonna share how they’re selling this program, including pricing, structure and targeting. Before we get started, I just have two housekeeping items for today. First, we will be recording this webinar so you will be able to watch it on demand. Second, we will have a live q and a at the end of the webinar, and we definitely wanna hear from you, so be ready to ask some questions. You can go ahead and just drop those in the chat as we go through the webinar, and we’ll make sure we get those answered. Now that we have that out of the way, Luke, why don’t you start us off by walking us through how this program started?

    Speaker 2 (01:11):
    Yeah, thanks Katie. Glad to be back here. I know we talked about this at OX5 a little bit, so but it’s good to be back and get a little more time to dig a little deeper into things. So yeah, before we get into kind of where we are today and how we’re using the Omeda’s personalization tool successfully for this advertising program program, it’s important to take us a look back at kinda where we started and how we got to where we are today. So back in 2017, we, we first started offering our dedicated pop-up spot to advertisers, and this was done through a third party ad server. And we had it set up so multiple advertisers could participate in this each month. It was broken out by days of the week, so we could have, you know, advertiser A on Monday, advertiser B on Tuesday and, and so on.

    And then we also kept a, a couple days to ourselves so we could promote our EGUs or webinars or events or whatever the case may have been. So it, it got off to kind of a slow start as any new program does. You know, but as, as we got more advertisers signed up for this and we got more data and were able to present to other advertisers 2018, we really saw a bump in this program in terms of revenue and participating advertisers and pretty much doubled what we had saw in 2017. The first year we did it still was leaving some room for growth still had some openings across our publication websites and that but as the momentum picked up, we continued to gain more of that data that we could share and, and show the, the results of the program and why, if the advertisers needed to, to be part of this, which took us to 2019, which the sales continued to grow.

    The websites were selling out their spots kind of across the board of our publications and revenues, again, almost doubled from where we were in 2018. So things were really picking up steam. We were in a really good spot, happy to move forward with the program. In 2019, we also started testing out OMI a’s personalization tool for the first time. So we were generally using that just for our own internal uses. So our EGUs, our web signups events, podcasts, things like that that we just kinda do in-house and would keep the advertisers popups on the third party server

    In 2019. The second half of it we had a lot of the spots sold out for the year for our advertisers through the end of the year, and we started getting some notices from Google from, for some of our websites that they had some issues with our popups, with our advertising popups. So it started out that they were too large. So we, you know, we started making them smaller. Things were good for a while, and then we got another warning from Google saying, you know, they’re still too large. So we went through that kind of back and forth with them for a little bit. Finally got to a size popup that we thought was, was okay didn’t have too many issues with it after that, but then we started getting notices that they were displaying too quickly on our website, and we kind of, kind of a nuisance, I guess, if you will.

    So we, we tried making some changes to that to, to do some delays. Then we also did it, we displayed it on the second webpage of a visit to see if that would help at all. Ultimately, we got to a point where it just, you know, we, we kind of exhausted all of our options in terms of the pop-up program and Google was, when they would alert us to the issues, they would let us know that we’d potentially see some negatively negative impacts in our search rankings if we didn’t do anything about it. So, you know, we never got to that point with them. Every time we made a change, things kind of seemed to sort themselves out for a little bit until we got the next notice. And ultimately after we got through all of our options that that made sense to us with these popups.

    We got to a point where, you know, the threat was we’ll just completely remove you from our search rankings, which kind of a death sentence if you, if you go that route, . So, you know, we got to a decision point very quickly with this program and with our advertisers, obviously the first couple slides, and there’ll be a slide at the end that kind of paints a better picture of the, the revenues we were seeing from this program. But from 2017 to 2018 to double revenue 2018 to 2019 to double revenue, again, selling out spots you know, a revenue stream that we were that you could count on kind of month after month, year after year still room for growth within the program. So you have that on one hand. And then on the other hand you have Google saying, well, if you continue doing this, you know, sorry, kinda kiss your search rankings goodbye.
    Speaker 1 (06:17):
    Definitely a tough position to be in there, Luke.
    Speaker 2 (06:19):
    Yeah. Yeah, it was. But you know, it’s, it’s, the, the pop-up certainly wasn’t, you know, our number one driver for revenue or anything like that, but it was, you know, a fair amount of revenue we were seeing. And like I said, it was a growing program. We still had room for, for more growth within it. But when, you know, someone like Google comes along and kinda gives you their ultimatum and they kinda make that decision for you. So unfortunately we had to pull the plug on the program. We ran everything through the end of 2019. We fulfilled all of our advertising obligations but then we had to pull the plug on it. And, and as you can see here, as we got into 2020 to start things off, we did not have a pop-up ad program, so that revenue stream was just completely gone.
    Which was kinda sad, sad to see because it was a successful program in growing. But kind of on the flip side we continued using the personalization tool through Omeda for our own internal promotional efforts. So again, the webinar signups that we host, podcasts, the subscriptions, our own events, things like that, and those were going really well. We weren’t having any issues with those. You know, a good response. The click-through rates were strong. So we, you know, we kinda had those things on cruise control moving forward into 2020. And then of course, COVID-19 hits and the world kinda comes to a screeching halt. And in turn you know, sales started to take a hit, you know, not, and I’m sure not just in our industries, but probably all industries, that was something that was being seen.
    So, you know, some of the, the traditional revenue streams that we would count on and depend on to be strong throughout the year or throughout the year, we’re starting to see a, a downward trend. Advertisers were kind of tightening up the purse strings, not spending as much or on the things that they normally would. So we, we got to a point I’m sure like every company did, where we kinda had to have a brainstorming session of, you know, what can we do to change this narrative? And the marketing team we tasked ourselves with, you know, we had several meetings on this just coming up with a list of ideas, you know, good, bad or otherwise, what, what could we possibly do to help generate some new revenue or increase the revenue streams that were, were seeing a lag from the, the pandemic and all those types of things.
    We came up with a, with a big list of things and, you know, some are are still on that list that we are, you know, hoping to get to at some point. But one that really jumped out to us, the more we thought about it is just kind of a, a quick transition. Something that we had some experience with in the past. Something that we were using a tool for currently was obviously the pop-up program. So using Omeda’s personalization tool, it’s, we’re using it for ourselves. So we, you know, the next step for that. It, it was greenlit pretty quickly of, yes, look into this, get it started. So, you know, we reviewed our own internal promotions. Those were very successful. We were, you know, seeing conversions for events and downloads and things like that. One of the big hurdles obviously was Google, how are they gonna react to this?
    You know, do they have issues with it? So we did a throw dive on this with our, our tech person at the time to make sure he wasn’t seeing any issues. ’cause He was kind of the gatekeeper with Google at the time, or any, any complaints or anything from their end were coming in directly to him. He wasn’t seeing any issues with our personalization popups just to make sure we, we reached out to Omeda as well to have them review everything and kind of sign off and give their stamp of approval that, that this shouldn’t be any, shouldn’t be any issues moving forward with Google. And, you know, once we did that, then we kind of took a step back and started looking, well, what does this look like from a, a paid ad program? You know, what, what’s gonna have to change from what we were doing previously if we do it through a, a you know, all those types of things.
    And we put together a sales sheet for our sales team to review, kind of sign off on as well to make sure that, you know, we weren’t changing things too much or making their lives too difficult with this program. And this is kind of what we came up with. So we made it available on all seven of our publication websites. And we sold month long exclusive rights to a single advertiser each month. So over the course of the year that left us with 84 spots that could be sold. And on the left there you can kind of see that that’s a a screen grab of an example of what our popups look like. So we, we set a ten second delay on it. You know, we don’t want to just hit someone right in the face as soon as they get to our website.
    That user experience is something we you know, gave a lot of thought to as well. ’cause We know popups can be annoying. If you ever been to a blog, you get hit with about 20 in the first 10 seconds. So we wanted to really make sure the user experience wasn’t affected too badly by this. And we haven’t really received any negative feedback from it at all. So the Tencent ten second display, it has kind of been our sweet spot. And it, plus it only displays once per day per user. So this isn’t, you know, every webpage they’re getting hit with this advertising message. It’s just, you come to our website, you see it once you go on about your day, if you come the next day, you will see it again. But again, it’s just once per day. So not too in there. Have you done

    Speaker 1 (11:59):
    Any testing, Luke, of the that delay or the display timing, like the frequency of it? Or have you guys kind of just always run with that ten second delay in a once per day?

    Speaker 2 (12:10):
    For, for the advertising program? That’s what we’ve gone with primarily just because that’s kind of what we are selling people, that’s the expectation. We don’t want to change anything and then see huge drop in impressions or anything like that. That being said, for our house ads, the ones we do for our own events or web signups, things like that, we do test around with the, with the display, the location whether it’s a static bar or if it’s just a popup that you can x out of quickly. So, so we do test that for our own things and, you know, as we review this program, if there’s anything worthwhile updating for, that’s certainly something we would consider changing with our advertisers as well. But yeah, for this program, it’s pretty much kind of been a, a set it and forget it type of thing with the ten second display once per day. You know, that’s the impressions and the click through rates are that we’re seeing are right in line with the advertiser expectations. So yeah, so we, we haven’t changed anything with this since we’ve launched it, but certainly something we keep an eye on and, and review as needed.

    So let’s see then the, the various price points. That was a, a tricky part to kind of put together in the beginning just because our audiences, our advertising audiences can vary quite greatly in terms of their advertising budgets and things like that across our publications. Plus the amount of impressions that we’re getting we’re, you know, we have niche publications, but then we have some that are like niche of a niche of a niche publications. So their impressions are a little lower. So our price points range from like $600 all the way up to $3,000 for an advertising sponsorship of this monthly, monthly popup. And the advertisers, they can choose to just do a static image, they can do an animated image, or if they wanted to, we can also embed a YouTube video for them. For that we, we’ve seen the most engagement in terms of like click-throughs with a static image or with an animated image. When we do the embedded YouTube videos, the, the engagement and the video views, while, you know, we haven’t had an advertiser complaint about the number they get, but it’s considerably less than if we’re just looking at straight click-through rates. So anybody that’s interested in possibly doing this on their own publications you know, just something to keep in mind there. But but again, it, you know, the decrease hasn’t resulted in any negative feedback from any of our advertisers on that front.

    So we relaunched this in April of 2021. So we got the sales sheet put together in early 2021, got it to our sales team, let them start presenting it to advertisers. And we first launched the first, or, or relaunched, I should say, the first Omeda personalization ad popups in April of 2021. And it started out slow. I mean, even though we had some, you know, momentum going 2017 to 2019, you take a hiatus like that and, you know, especially still coming off pandemic people you know, are, are, you know, very careful about where they’re spending their money. This started off pretty slow, I think April, we had two, maybe three of our spots sold in the first couple months. It was, it was a very similar story with just a couple of our publications having this spot reserved. But as the year went on and we started obviously getting in new data for this program through Omeda the advertisers started picking up these spots pretty quickly.

    And at the end of the year we actually surpassed our sales goal you know, for the last two thirds of the year that we had budgeted for this program. So really quickly, things pick back up here. It’s a very, and, and probably one of the reasons is it’s a very simple program for the advertisers to understand you know, how it’s gonna work, what they’re gonna get. They can see it firsthand by going to our website. So pretty straightforward for them and the investment and based on what they’re seeing in terms of impressions and click-throughs is, has really been worth it for them. So 2021, you know, went better than we could have expected, kind of relaunching this program. And you can see here this is, you know, dating back to 2017, kind of where this all started, 20 18, 20 19, and then 2020 just to completely kinda scrap that revenue stream.

    But how quickly it’s bounced back here in 2021 and 2022, again, really, really strong response from our advertisers so far. Year to date, we’re pretty much already past our, our budgeted goal for it. Publications are, are selling out for the entire year. We have some advertisers that just scoop up any available, any available spot. So they’re, they’re seeing the importance of this program and how it can help them as they’re moving forward and looking for ways to, to spend their money and get their, their brand and services and company in front of their, their audience. So here are just some quick results of what we’re seeing. And, and again, these vary by our public, vary pretty greatly based on publication and our audience sizes and things like that. So for a number of impressions per month, we have some publications that are down, you know, the five, six, 7,000 range, but then we also have some that are up in the thirties and 40 thousands pretty consistently.

    In fact, just this past past month, June, we had one of our publications that went over 54,000 impressions, which was, you know, like really, really strong for us and the high watermark. So these slides are already dated Katie, we’ll have to get those updated . But you can see, you know, the return they’re getting for this, not only on the impressions, but then if you look over at the click-through rate, you know, three and a half to 10% click-through rate are based on my research, really strong numbers. When, when we were setting this up, everything I saw was kind of, you know, average two to 3% range is what you could probably expect or look to expect. So to consistently be three and a half to 10% has been really strongly received by our, by our advertisers, and they’ve been really happy with it.

    So you know, this continues to be a, a really strong program for us. There’s, there’s room for growth still. We’re not completely sold out for this year yet, so we have some opportunities there. And then moving forward you know, like we talked about before, just reviewing this and seeing what opportunities we have, I think, you know, seeing how quickly this program is selling out for some of our publications, it’s probably time to review pricing on some of these to see if we can increase and, and maybe help our revenue stream there as well. And then one other thing that we, we made advertisers aware of on the sales sheet but no one has, has picked it up yet, our add-on programs. So, you know, targeting known users that are, are seeing your pop-up or clicking through your pop-up following up with a second email to them or, you know, an email, second follow-up touchpoint in email or taking it offline and sending them a mailer or something like that.

    So there are additional kinda add-ons and additional revenue streams I could build off of this pop-up program for advertisers. So that would be another area for us to explore a little further and see if we can get some growth there as well. But all in all you know, this, this continues to be a really strong program for us. One that’s growing well received by our advertisers. I would encourage anyone that’s, you know, not using the personalization tool even for their own internal efforts to, to give it a look, try it out. Obviously I’m sure you know, Katie can share my, my contact info. I’d be happy to, to talk through this further with anybody or share some more examples with anybody and certainly e explore it for an advertising opportunity because the, the interest is certainly there in our industry and I would, I would have to imagine it’s there for others as well.

    Speaker 1 (20:33):
    Excellent. Thanks Luke. So we do have some questions that came in. So we’ll start off with the first one that I have here, which is basically, actually I’ve got two questions that are the same. How do you balance the advertising spots with your own brand promotions? So how are you, are you still running you know, internal personalizations and how are you balancing that?

    Speaker 2 (20:57):
    Yeah, and so that was one of the, the bigger changes we had to make when we, we started running this through, I mean, just personalization tool. When we were using the third party advertisers, like I said, we could kind of pick and choose days for certain advertisers. So we didn’t really have that overlap. When we moved to Omeda, they set up their popups based on a, a priority setting. So we set all of our advertisers across all of our publication websites as the number one priority on those websites. So if you come in, you know, Thursday morning and go to our, one of our websites, the first popup you will see is our, from our advertiser throughout the rest of the day. We do run you know, our own internal efforts for, for webinars or events or whatever the case may be, kind of as secondary priorities.

    So we, we have seen those take a little bit of a hit in terms of number of impressions and things like that, but the engagement with them is, is still the same. We’re getting clicks and things like that that we need to see to make it worth our while. But that is one thing you’ll, you’ll wanna keep in mind if you do decide to do an advertising opportunity like this for your, for your businesses is, is how that will affect your own internal efforts. We, you know, we looked at the risk first reward and, and this was worth it for us to start this up and, and have the advertisers kind of in that priority spot, but we are certainly still running our own things in the background and, and getting impressions and click-throughs and engagements.

    Speaker 1 (22:26):
    And one thing I’ve seen some other clients do is they’ve used the exit intent ad for their own internal efforts. So they’ll use that standard pop-up model for advertisers and then the exit intent ad to promote, you know, subscriptions, newsletter signups, things like that. So that is a way to kind of make it a little less obtrusive too for people if you wanted to run both of them in conjunction at the same time. See lots of questions coming in. When you notice low impressions or a low click-through rate, are you going back to advertisers and making any suggestions to the ad itself to have them make edits?

    Speaker 2 (23:13):
    We do. We, we haven’t really encountered that too often. So like the lower end, you know, the five, six, 7,000 impressions per month, that was kind of the expectation that we were thinking we’d see for those. But we have, you know, had advertisers reach out to us to help ’em with their creative you know, the best way to present something, you know, the call to action, things like that. So we are certainly, you know, open to communication with them. Most of them provide their own creative that we just plop into the, into the popup. But we do have some that need help with that. And, and we, we definitely do you know, that communication is more held with, with the, the ad rep and the client themselves when they discuss those things. But you know, the one that I always call out is just to make sure that the clients are aware of the difference between the kind of static image or animated image compared to what we’re seeing with the YouTube embedded videos. ’cause That can kind of be a I remember the first time we ran one, it was kind of a shock to me anyways, to see how how low the, the video impressions and video views were compared to what we were seeing for normal click-throughs on those. So but we kind of, we have enough, we’ve run enough of the videos now where we kind of know what to expect and, and can have that discussion upfront versus after the fact to help set expectations that way as well.

    Speaker 1 (24:45):
    And you mentioned your salespeople are the ones that really have that communication. So do, do you guys have dedicated digital salespeople or are your salespeople selling all products?

    Speaker 2 (24:57):
    Yep, our sales team are selling all products. So this is just you know, one bullet in the chamber for them.

    Speaker 1 (25:06):
    Great. And then a couple other questions here about the creative. What are the dimensions that you’re using for the popup? Is it kind of that standard size that you’re using for your other personalizations?

    Speaker 2 (25:22):
    For our, for our internal house popups, we, again, we’re testing different sizes and, you know, locations, things like that. But for these advertising popups, it’s I think it’s, right offhand it’s 400 pixels wide by 300 pixels high is, is just the, that’s the standard size we do for these. And that’s communicated to the, the advertisers up front so they know what size to create these for. They know what to expect you know, in terms of how, how large their pop-up is gonna be when they come to our website and stuff like that. But again, something, you know, as we continue to test internally on some of the things we’re doing, if we see something that’s working better or not working better, we can suggest those changes to the sales team as well as, as they talk through these programs with advertisers. But since we’ve launched this in 2021, it’s just kind of been that standard 400 by 300 pixel popup. The exception, again being the the YouTube videos that we embed, those popups get a little larger because we need some header copy and some body copy and a, a separate click through link in addition to the video. So those do get a little larger. But as far as the image size and video size itself, we, we keep that to the, the standard 400 by 300 size.

    Speaker 1 (26:42):
    Another question, so you mentioned that the personalizations are running on the homepage. Have you done them on any other pages on the website?

    Speaker 2 (26:52):
    Yeah, and these, we actually, these will display on the homepage, but they actual display on the, the first page that anyone visits on a publications. Okay. If someone goes to view a or listen to a podcast, you know, it would, it would pop up there as well. So it’s that first page visit on the publication site that we’re launching this.

    Speaker 1 (27:14):
    Great. and it looks like we have one more question.
    Speaker 2 (27:21):
    Brings up Katie, that brings up a good point that you can target these two specific webpages. So if you have, if you wanted to do a, you know, a popup on just your podcast page, you could offer that to an advertiser if you wanted it just on your homepage. You know, you could, you can kinda customize these popups and popup programs as, as you see fit, but there are opportunities, you don’t have to do it just by the publication domain and kinda one size fit all. You can certainly break it out and, and exclude pages if you needed to as well.

    Speaker 1 (27:53):
    Sure. I can imagine for certain advertisers, you know, putting it on a specific, you know, category type page would probably make sense, you know, based on what they’re promoting. To follow up to that question so you aren’t running two different ads at the same time though, right? It’s the same ad, same sponsor for the whole month

    Speaker 2 (28:15):
    For the most part, yeah. So it’s one advertiser per month and we allow them to run three ads per month. So we’ve had some clients where they run one ad for the first 10 days of the month, a second ad for the second 10 days, and then a third ad for the third 10 days. So we do allow them some flexibility there if they have multiple products or services and wanna get more of a message out there versus the same thing just for all 30 days. So we do, we do offer that to them as well, but most of them choose just to let pick one ad and run it the whole month. But we do have some that are, are switching it out occasionally.

    Speaker 1 (28:55):
    Excellent. All right. Well thank you everybody for your questions. I knew this was gonna be a hot topic. Luke has been kind enough to meet with some clients to discuss this, to present at the last OX and then to jump on the webinar. And I, I think this is something that, you know, benefits all of our clients to put in place. So I have no doubt that we’ll have a lot of people reaching out to their client success managers with any questions on how to set something up like this. If you do have additional questions, please feel free to reach out. To me, you can reach me at and I’m happy to pass along some questions to Luke. If we didn’t get to your question today will go ahead and follow up with you directly and then keep your eyes open. We’ve got a new webinar in the series that’s coming up where we’ll be looking at how you can create a post-event voyage and Odyssey to increase your event registration. And that will be happening at the beginning of August. So thank you everybody again for attending. Thank you Luke, for helping out with us and your time, and we’ll talk to everybody later. Thank you.