Is Linkstorm a new ad format?

Linkstorm can be thought of as a new ad format, but it is really a way of enhancing traditional ad units with navigational menus triggered by a roll-over. The menus contain highly-targeted links leading customers directly to the destinations most relevant to their needs.

By separating the banner ad from its navigation we offer customers multiple deep links via menus untethered by the size constraints of the underlying creative.

The result is improved brand experience and ad effectiveness as customers find what they need faster, regardless of the size and type of banner.

Is there more to Linkstorm than a new ad display technology?

Yes, much of the magic is on the back end. Our content management technology creates and updates menus via sophisticated business rules. For example, Linkstorm can automatically generate and publish links to a retailer’s current best selling items or optimize the menu based on click performance.

The updating process is centralized. Changes are reflected instantly to all instances of the ad without remastering or re-serving the creative. Such updates can be intentional or automated based upon business rules.

Linkstorm’s robust, advanced tracking and analytics solution surpasses what is currently considered industry standard. Combined with the ability to tune a campaign in real time, Linkstorm represents an order of magnitude increase in effectiveness and ROI.

Can Linkstorm menus complement both static and rich media banner ads?

Absolutely! Linkstorm provides a cost-effective layer of interactivity to both static and rich media assets.

Linkstorm menus are not constrained to the size or behavior of the banner. You can now offer rich, dynamic experiences via banners of any size, even text links.

If you already have a rich media asset, such as an expanding ad or a video, Linkstorm can be layered on top to provide links to product information, offers, and other destinations that truly meet the needs of your customers and drive click-throughs and conversions.

Does Linkstorm offer display formats other than the cascading menu?

While we’re proud of our cascading menu solution much of Linkstorm’s power is front-end independent.

In fact, we’re in the process of launching a non-cascading “inside-the box” rich media solution. This unit will share our content management, ad serving technology and analytics.

While its ability to offer multiple deep links is restricted by the physical size of the ad unit, this enables it to be served within IFrames without requiring any action or certification by publisher sites.

Do Linkstorms overlay page content?

Yes — Linkstorm cascading menus overlay both the banner and the underlying page. It intelligently adjusts its position to always display within the visible area of the browser. The menu is unfurled by rolling over a banner, a graphic or text link. The menu collapses by rolling the mouse off the menu.

Linkstorms allow customers of all browser and screen sizes to experience the expanded content as intended, in-view, and without risk of being partially obscured by browser edges.

For publishers, this is an effective use of real estate as it can be integrated into any page layout, even if intended for non-expanding banners. A further benefit to publishers is that no matter how deeply a user clicks into the advertiser’s site via the Linkstorm menu, the user is always just one click back to the publisher’s page.

Can other companies create Linkstorm menus?

Currently Linkstorm menus cannot be designed, constructed and served without our involvement. However, there are many parts of the strategy, information architecture, copywriting and creative design process that are familiar to ad agencies, and we’re happy to work in tandem with agencies on any of these tasks. Our long-term goal is to empower agencies, publisher ad sales teams, and many other partners to use Linkstorm themselves to strengthen their own client relationships, with Linkstorm supporting the back end.

Can Linkstorm ads be served and tracked through a third party ad server?

Yes. Linkstorm ads can be served via popular third party ad servers including Atlas, Atlas Rich Media, Dart (DFA), Falk, etc. — or we can serve them directly. All your traditional performance metrics are available in both cases, and Linkstorm can provide additional reporting on metrics that are proprietary to our platform. Go here to learn more about our unique metrics.

What analytics are available?

Linkstorm offers a whole new set of analytics that allow advertisers to better understand how users interact with their banner ads. Click here to learn more about our unique analytics platform. Note that the combination of Linkstorm’s actionable reporting, and the fact that Linkstorm menus can be centrally updated on the fly without re-mastering and re-serving the ad, implies a quantum leap in performance and tuning.

How are Linkstorms priced?

Our display ads are priced on a CPM basis and would be additional to any other media buying or serving costs you have. Pricing may vary on volume and on whether you are a publisher-reseller, ad agency, or buying directly. CPA, Flat Rate and CPC pricing models can also be negotiated.

What's involved in setting up a Linkstorm ad?

Linkstorm ads are easy and fast to set up. No other advertising vehicle can to turn your marketing strategy into action this quickly!

Linkstorm menus can be constructed in direct correlation to your marketing goals. For example, you can organize the navigation paths according to customer segmentation, stages of the purchase cycle, or your own product categories. You can either tell Linkstorm what the menu should be and we’ll implement it, or to make it even easier to get started, we’ll often draft a first cut of a menu that you can react to. After a couple of review passes, you’re done. Then we (or you) design banners with appropriate call-to-action to entice your customers to engage with the menus — and we’re ready to go.

For a high-level view of our complete 4-step process, click here.

If you are a Publisher, click here to learn about our publisher certification.

As a publisher, how can I run Linkstorm ads on my site?

In most cases, you don’t have to do anything special to accept Linkstorm ad buys. For more information, read more about our Publisher Certification here.

Do Linkstorm ads perform better than other ad formats?

Yes. We have many case studies that demonstrate the performance benefits of Linkstorm. See a sampling in our Client Results section.

What are the usability benefits of cascading menus in ads?

Linkstorm cascading menus effectively offer multiple navigation paths via one of the most familiar navigation methods on the web. Additionally, we carefully craft the menus to offer distinct, logical choices that allow customers to quickly find the information they are looking for. This allows customers to funnel themselves into a self-qualifying navigation path that can reflect their specific interests, stage in the purchase cycle, product preferences, etc.

While rich media advertising allows the advertiser to put a limited number of links into the banners, space constraints make it impossible to match the granularity of a Linkstorm menu.

Linkstorm cascading menus easily hold dozens of deep links, bringing your customer closer to the information they need to make purchase decisions. No more generic landing pages!

Does Linkstorm collect information on users?

Linkstorm’s ad products do not require the collection or storage of any personally identifiable information. We track user engagement with Linkstorm menus via HTTP requests and clicks are tracked through redirect URLs. No beacons/tracking pixels or cookies are required.

Linkstorms seem very simple to replicate. What am I missing?

You’re right, they seem simple to replicate. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Develop a lightweight, cross-browser JavaScript library that can run on any site.
  2. Create a menu editor that allows you to customize the menus according to your advertiser’s wildest design and content ideas.
  3. Create an interchangeable Flash-based ad unit for publishers or advertisers who prefer it.
  4. Create an ad serving platform that can serve millions of these menus per hour across the world.
  5. Make your new proprietary ad formats compatible with existing third party ad serving and analytics platforms.
  6. Create an analytics server that captures interactions with every ad, from roll-overs of individual nodes, duration of interaction, clicks, etc. Make sure you’re also able to capture data on viral distribution performance.
  7. Create a reporting tool for your proprietary analytics.
  8. Make sure your menus’ performance can also be measured by third party ad servers for traditional analytics and reporting.
  9. Create a content management system that allows every ad to be dynamically updated with unique content wherever they appear, even when virally distributed.
  10. Work with all the publishers and networks that you expect to run your new ad format and customize your product to comply with the individual sites’ policies and requirements.

That’s basically it. (Set aside 4-5 years to perfect it.) Oh yes — and remember to patent it