Toronto Life embeds ads into new blogs

TorontoLife.com is expanding its daily news coverage into politics and entertainment with the launch of two new blogs that are prominently featured on the redesigned homepage. The changes are a calculated response to web analytics that show exactly what the magazine’s online readers – which increased this year by more than 100,000 monthly uniques to 370,000 – are attracted to and what keeps them coming back, explains Gary Campbell, executive producer of TorontoLife.com.

‘Our fundamental decisions are based less on instinct and more on data,’ Campbell tells MiC. And the numbers show that daily news blogs, two of which launched last year, are the most popular attractions for the site’s readers, increasing year-over-year page views by 2,355%. The new blogs, The Hype and The Informer, are culture and city politics news feeds, respectively.

So it follows that new advertising opportunities are placed in the thick of things – literally, nestled in between posts. The new, in-blog ad unit appears between the first and second posts on all blogs, currently bought by Peroni and Drake Hotel. At $25 CPM, the ad also appears just before comments section.

‘We wanted to create a unit that gave our advertisers some presence on the site, and participated in the flow,’ Campbell says. Also new is the ability to become the title sponsor of a blog, which Peroni beer, whose media is handled by PHD, has done with The Goods fashion and shopping blog, which put the brand in the title banner. This is in advance of LG Fashion Week, launching March 28, of which the beer is an official sponsor.

One of the unchartered opportunities on the site is a sponsorship of the comments section – which can get catty and is therefore widely read.

‘I would love to see an advertiser sponsor a discussion on the website. American Express did that on the New York magazine [website]. I think it can be an effective way for an advertiser to participate on the site in a different way,’ Campbell says.