Advertiser Spotlight

Advertiser Spotlight – Zondervan’s Joni & Ken

Looking through our banner ad rates for April, we noticed that one had some tremendous numbers. Today’s post features Zondervan’s campaign for their new book Joni & Ken.

Zondervan ran these banners in two of our weekly newsletters: Marriage Partnership and Today’s Christian Woman. By sponsoring these newsletters, Zondervan reaped the benefits of our roadblock format. They were the sole advertiser in each email, which featured both a top and side banner, capturing the undivided attention of readers.

This campaign attained an exceptional number of impressions and high click-through rate. Their message particularly seemed to strike a cord with the subscribers of our marriage newletter, who were espescially responsive.

Why such an amazing response to this ad? We have a few ideas.

What it communicates:

Zondervan achieved an often elusive balance in this ad: being personal and showcasing the product. The backdrop of the ad presents the idea of two people’s story. The dark tones and classic, striking fonts suggest a romance—but one of strength and maturity (no bonnets or bridal veils here). The text lures subscribers with the promise of an untold story (picking up on the subtitle of the book), and the portrait puts flesh on that promise. Then, in the foreground we see the product, the manifestation of that story.

The ad offers a personal connection with the viewers through a prominent figure in the Christian world, Joni Eareckson Tada. Then the image of the book cover makes it obvious what exactly is being advertised: not a movie, conference, or article—a book. This ad connects readers to people and the product at the same time.

What it offers:

Zondervan’s call to action is inviting rather than demanding; it allows the viewer to enter the story. The audience member is not asked to “Buy Now” or “Learn More,” but is offered a gift: Read a Sample. It always pays to be generous with your audience.

Whom it reaches:

This well-placed ad was perfectly paired with its audience. Subscribers of these two newsletters are primarily female, married, and between the ages of 30 and 54. Zondervan knows that these are the kinds of readers who are interested in the story of a Christian marriage.

Congratulations on an outstanding campaign, Zondervan! Go shake some hands in Creative.




Posted in Advertiser Spotlight, Email Marketing, Online Advertising

Key Advertiser Spotlight: Grand Rapids Theological Seminary


For our May advertising spotlight, we are featuring Grand Rapids Theological Seminary’s (GRTS) Talking Points Conference banner. This banner, which ran in February to advertise the March event, had a click-through rate nine times higher than the industry standard.

What makes this banner work:

1. Audience. This ad is a perfect example of successful audience targeting. Talking Points is an annual conference where speakers present biblical and theological lectures on a certain issue, so it naturally appeals to Christian thought leaders. This made it a perfect fit for our Influential Christian Leaders audience, appearing on sites in our Thought Leaders Website Bundle.

2. Aesthetics. The artwork for this ad is not only beautiful, but also perfectly tuned to the conference’s topic. Using a subtle background that alludes to Michaelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” and overlaying shapes that suggest the relationship between God and man, GRTS clearly communicates the theme of creation. This artistic aesthetic appeals to the intellectual audience being targeted. Finally, the ad’s pastel, subtle design makes it unique and eye-catching.

3. Simplicity. There are many more elements that GRTS could have included such as speakers’ photos, location, cost, or the seminary’s name. The basic information is there, but the banner doesn’t give everything away. This touch of mystery makes the call to action even more appealing. The audience is probably familiar with Cornerstone University (of which GRTS is part), which they see in the URL, and perhaps with Talking Points. Pairing the aesthetically-established theme with name recognition, they’ve given their target audience everything necessary to be interested. Based on what is provided, viewers will know if they want more information, and all it takes is a simple click to find out more.

Congratulations on a successful campaign, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

Posted in Advertiser Spotlight, Advertising Tips

Key Advertiser Spotlight: Thomas Nelson Mobile Banner

Lincoln's Battle with God Mobile Banner

In this month’s advertising spotlight, we would like to highlight for the first time one of our mobile banners, especially since mobile traffic has multiplied in the past year. Last month, Thomas Nelson ran this wonderful mobile banner for Lincoln’s Battle with God, a book about Lincoln’s struggle with faith and what it meant for America. This compelling book is marked by an equally compelling ad to pull the reader in.


What makes this banner work:

  1. This banner is highly topical in a banner year (pun intended) for Abraham Lincoln, with two movies being released about our 16th President (and one even including vampires).  This has also been a hugely political year, with the country virtually split in half politically, much like it was in Lincoln’s day. Creating a product and ultimately an ad that speaks to what your audience is currently experiencing is a sure road to success.
  2. While only 320×50 pixels, the ad still manages to be crisp and well-designed, and above all else, easy to read. The images of the book and of Lincoln make it clear what the ad is promoting.
  3. The copy for this banner explains exactly what the book is about and does it in a way that makes you want to read more. The copy also makes clear that the book is available to order now.

Again, kudos to Thomas Nelson for effectively reaching this growing mobile audience.

Posted in Advertiser Spotlight

Key Advertiser Spotlight: Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson Hide and Seek DevotionalFor the August Advertiser Spotlight, we went with one of the best e-newsletter banners of July, with a click-through rate 4.5 times the industry average. Thomas Nelson ran a 300×250 banner ad for the Hide & Seek Devotional (shown below) in the Parent Connect newsletter this past month with incredible effectiveness.This banner is a static banner that targets parents to get this playful devotional for their kids.

What makes this banner work:

  1. For one, the artwork is unique as to its own, capturing the look and feel of the devotional in the banner.
  2. The main tagline “Hide & Seek God’s Word in Your Heart” is action-oriented and highly playful, with play-on words that bleed into what the devotional is about.
  3. The description does a perfect job of giving a simple explanation of what the devotional includes: “52 Bible Stories plus Scripture Memory Songs”.
  4. Finally, the call-to-action for the banner has a low barrier to entry allowing those that just have their interest piqued to learn more and not feel like they have to commit to buying the devotional.

Kudos to Thomas Nelson for beautifully illustrating and communicating this devotional banner.


Posted in Advertiser Spotlight

Advertiser Spotlight – Ignatius Press

For this month’s Advertiser Spotlight, we went with the most effective banner ad of June, as well as one of the strongest performers for May to come out of our online banners. Ignatius Press ran an ad for the book When Hitler Took Austria on, the online home for Books & Culture Magazine. Books & Culture magazine is a Christian review of written work but also film, music, and arts that dares Christians to explore culture, our fallen world, and the hope that Christ brings. Thus, the magazine and site appeals to a very intellectual base of Christians. This banner is an animated GIF that targets that audience and gives some information on the book that effectively entices readers. See the banner below. When Hitler Took Austria banner What makes this banner work:

  1. Beside the interesting subject matter (which never hurts), this banner does a great job at simply stating what the book is (“A Memoir of Heroic Faith from the Chancellor’s Son”), and keeping things simple yet intriguing.
  2. The animated GIF runs through a handful of quotes from academics praising the book. Using quotes from readers or influencers can help bring credibility to a product, and a quote always catches the eye.
  3. While there is no clear call to action, it is clear that this is for a book you can buy, and it is appropriately targeted for the right audience. The Books & Culture readers are a group of culturally savvy book readers (many who are from academics), and this ad correctly targets the right readers.

Kudos to Ignatius Press for publishing such an intriguing book and running a very effective ad for it.

Posted in Advertiser Spotlight