In the two months since tech publisher IDG finished a major redesign of its PCWorld, Macworld and TechHivesites, the company is ready to expand the centerpiece of that effort: the “Homepage Hero” box.
The box is intended to serve as a front door for each site, displaying a large slot called the “Content Hero,” where editors display the biggest stories for each day, with one section saved for sponsorships sold by the IDG Consumer & SMB division, which operates the sites. The Hero units seems like yet another bid by a publisher to “go beyond” the 728×90 banner ad to attract lucrative brand awareness dollars. But IDG Consumer & SMB CRO Brian Gleason is quick to tell AdExchanger that while the redesign does reduce the number of ad units on a page in favor of the larger, higher priced Hero unit, the format is ultimately being used to complement regular ad spots, not replace them.
“There’s certainly a place for a banner, even today,” Gleason said. “There’s just not a place for nine units on a page. Otherwise, it starts to look like Nascar – a logo placed everywhere. That’s part of the reason we did this — there’s more breathing room for both consumers and advertisers.” Within the past few weeks Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Brother and TrendMicro have tried out the Hero units, which IDG has claimed to have yielded average click rates of between 2 and 4%