Metro gets an online facelift

New ad opps include sponsored games, polls and homepage buttons, as well as integrated ad programs and more real estate alongside the day's top stories. and have just relaunched with a new look boasting easier-to-read and easier-to-navigate features – and a roundup of new ad opps.

As part of the redesign, more Web 2.0 features have been added to the site, including a blog section with national and local bloggers like Steve Gow, who will provide his latest Hollywood Rant, Jerad Gallinger, who’ll be showing his Political Stripes, and Victoria Handysides, who’ll tell readers why she sometimes thinks that Love Bytes. Blogs, columns and articles are open for comment, and readers can now interact with Metro writers as well as each other. All blogs, sections and columnists have their own RSS feeds.

New advertising opportunities on the redesigned site include sponsored games that can be linked from buttons on the homepage, offering readers a more immersive way to interact with brands. As well, there are integrated advertising programs which have promotional and editorial components pulled to the forefront on the new homepage, with real estate available alongside the day’s top stories. There are also featured sponsor buttons and sponsored polls on the homepage, underneath Metro‘s daily news poll.

The new site gives visitors the choice of how they want to see their news, be it the day’s top stories as chosen by Metro editors, by most popular article or by latest breaking headlines. Visitors to can also choose The Metro Snapshot, a daily roundup of what’s going on in Canada and around the world, or the MetroTube of the Day, a daily spotlight on the web’s most popular videos.

‘The new look is intended to appeal to a young, urban, dialed-in audience,’ Jodi Brown, marketing and interactive director at Metro Canada, tells MiC. ‘ has consistently given advertisers higher than average click-through rates, and with the redesign we have created an environment that is even more appealing for brands to reach urban Canadians in the country’s top markets.’

The Metro site gets 200,000 unique visitors nationally, according to the most recent comScore numbers. With the redesign and the increased focus on its interactive strategy, Brown reports the company is aiming to reach over 400,000 uniques by 2010.

In coming months, Metro‘s newspaper boxes across the country will feature a throw to the digital edition. The print edition of Metro, which targets 18- to 49-year-olds, reaches 1.1 million readers daily across Canada, and over 23.1 million globally. In Canada, the daily is published in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.