Change is an interesting thing; sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s bad. I think it all depends on WHY the change is happening. The why is both the most important aspect of change, and in the case of BSA version 3, it’s what excites me most about yesterday’s sizable update.
This update revitalized the BuySellAds marketplace and overall website. It wasn’t a small step forward like every “startup” blog out there demands. It was a single, massive, leap. We flipped a switch, and boy was it fun! I would like to take some time here to explain more of the WHY’s behind the change and also highlight some of the more notable things that were part of this wild upgrade.
Our marketplace was getting too heavy
The more we grew, the harder it was for advertisers to find great placements within our inventory. One of the larger goals of this release was to help bring the quality sites at BSA up to the top.
Our non-marketplace content was AWFUL
We have always been so focused on growth, building out our infrastructure, scaling our team, and recruiting excellent sites, that we did not pay enough attention to the actual written content on our site. For this release we spent a decent amount of time articulating what we do and why folks should do business with us. There is a comprehensive new about section: Overview, Buzz, Our Team, and Press Room. There is a whole new section for Publishers: Overview, Marketplace, Managed Services, and Testimonials. There is a whole new section for Advertisers: Overview and How it works.
Our PRO product required some changes to the marketplace
The most exciting news of this release isn’t necessarily what’s happening now; it’s the fact that the new marketplace is a great launchpad for our PRO product, which will also be releasing soon.
Nothing is ever perfect. Why not re-invent parts of our business each year and put forth a strong effort to improve? This release helps communicate to users our never-ending commitment to them, and that we’re in this for the long haul.
New primary navigation menu once logged in
There are still some alignment issues here, but we decided to consolidate all of the logged-in nav items to one place in the top right corner of the page:
(no, I don’t really have 6k in my BSA account, that’s just funny money for testing :) )
Searching and browsing are now two separate “actions”
Within the old marketplace browsing and searching were basically the same thing. This worked well for a long time, but as our inventory grew it became harder and harder for us to cater to advertisers who knew what sites they were looking for, and those who wanted to wander. So, we split them up. It allowed us to make browsing more enjoyable and make more sense, and it allowed us to make search more powerful and specific. To start a search, simply use the new search bar in the header:
The marketplace is now the homepage
We drop users right into the buying process now. If you’re looking to join as a publisher, we believe it will be a conscious decision, and that you will be willing to look around a bit. We hope you’d give us a shot even without a huge call to action on the homepage.
Publisher signup process is a bit more specific
We used to have a more vanilla one-size-fits-all approach to publisher onboarding. The truth is that it’s not a great way to onboard some of our best publishers. We still believe in self-serve and putting powerful tools in the hands of publishers. We also believe that with as little as 15 minutes of our time up-front, we can set-up publishers for much better success at BSA. So, we have divided folks up into Small, Medium, Large, and Network segments before they get started with us:
New flyout – or – a quicker way to view site details
The old flyout that gave you a quick view of sites in our marketplace didn’t have enough info. We re-invented the flyout to show advertisers more details and help them build carts quicker, without having to have 10 browser tabs open at the same time.
Responsive design is all the rage these days, so we couldn’t resist making our site at least a little responsive to various monitor sizes and devices. I say “responsive-ish” because it’s definitely not fully responsive, but we’re off to a great start.
“Monthly Uniques” are now the default stat in the marketplace
This is somewhat of a test. We decided to show monthly uniques by default (you can still see impressions by switching to the list view vs. the tiled view). This isn’t set in stone, but we think it’s a good move.
New tabs for display “medium” across the top of the marketplace
The old marketplace didn’t do a great job differentiating between the different mediums that we support (websites, tweets, etc). It was hard to hone in on a specific medium that you were looking to buy against. The new marketplace makes medium much more prominent, and we expect this to also help us grow each medium more actively.
Support for email newsletters
One of the new mediums is “email”, so, naturally, we now support selling ads in email newsletters.
Bunch of user interface improvements
Definitely too many to list here, but here’s a quick collection of some of my favorites.
New calendar widget
A decent looking printable invoice (finally!)
New table and filter styles
A more simplified and sexier checkout process
Quicker ad cancellation process
All in all, this was a really fun release for us. It was enjoyable to create all of the new content, improve the overall UI and integrate some new concepts into the marketplace. In some ways, while writing this post, I felt a little underwhelmed… “all of that work for this?… there’s got to be something more.” And then, I remembered there IS more. This entire update was to help set us up for what is to come. And THAT, my friends, is what really gets me excited. Expect more news from us soon :)