The first time I came across spec ads was while I was working at a publishing house. A sales rep approached the designer at the desk next to me, 5 minutes before lunch time and said, “I need something created for this really important meeting I have just after lunch, could you work your magic and create something for me really quickly?”. The designer skipped lunch that day (a big no-no in Sweden), the rep got the print spec ad, closed the deal and got all the glory.
The fact that the ad was a print ad hints that this was some years ago but I’m here to tell you that this process still works today in a digital world.
But before we continue, what is a spec ad?
The balance describes a spec ad in the following way: “In the advertising industry, a SPEC AD (short for speculative advertisement) is an ad you create on your own. You don’t work with the ad agency or client; you are simply using a SPEC AD to show your talents.”
At Localstars, we go one step further and enable media owners to show prospective clients spec ads in situ on their publications. This shows the advertiser exactly what they are buying and significantly speeds up the process for the Sales team.
Localstars work with publishers and site owners across the globe. Analysing the data from our partners’ sales processes show us that spec ads clearly work for digital in 2017. We have clients in the US continuously producing conversion rates of around 45% when using spec ads created on our platform. Across the pond, data from a recent trial in Europe came back with 42%. 42, not just the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything but the conversion rate when selling digital to print advertisers that had never before advertised on their digital channels.
When asked why the spec ads produce higher conversion rates the sales reps tells us that the main reason is that, it creates a much better conversation. When seeing the spec ad, presented in the context of the actual site where it will go live, it is as if the advertiser has already bought the ad and this is the new starting point of the conversation.
So, thinking back to the sales rep that had an important after the lunch meeting, if spec ads work the big question is – Do you think any of your sales meetings are important and deserve a spec ad? We at Localstars definitely think so.