What is a Reskin?
A reskin is a branded image which replaces the background of website. It literally means putting a temporary skin for an advertiser over the top of your websites design (hence the term re-skin). Often sold as part of a Sponsorship or Homepage Takeover, these ads can be very effective if costly. Reskins are always essentially co-branding exercises. This means that if your site has a brand which other brands would like to be associated with, this is one of the most effective ways to monetize that.
The major problem with reskins is the fact that there is no single reskin definition for all websites. This is because they are all designed differently so there is no simple generic design spec available for all reskins. More than this, the type of reskin available varies from site to site. Some are clickable or even interactive, some include the space around the logo at the top of the site and some only include strips down the side.
In almost all cases a designer from the website will have to work with the advertiser to implement a reskin. This means this option is not available to most sites unless it is planned in from the get-go.
The only times reskins are available at scale is through Ad Networks who have worked with a variety of sites to standardize reskin specs. This however is not nearly always the case and must be checked out individually.
What it looks like
Here are a couple examples of how they can look:
Reskin Website Advice for Site Owners
If you are able to reskin your site it can be a quite lucrative if possibly troublesome proposition. Ideally you would want to set up your site so reskins can be added at will like any other ad unit. This means designing your site to accommodate reskins from the outset, so plan ahead.
Reskins can be sold for a CPD as part of a Sponsorship or Homepage Takeover which means you can monetize the brand value of your site as well as the impressions you have to offer. You should be careful however that you are very specific with the advertiser on what you have to offer. Tell them from the outset whether your reskin can be clickable, if the clicks can be tracked, and the specification of the file they have to supply.
For this type of advert, testing is essential. Make sure you always insist the files/code are delivered to you a suitable amount of time before it is scheduled to go live. Having one or two days to test prior to launch (to give time for troubleshooting) can be priceless.
Also be careful to not make any contractually binding impression promises if possible. You are not selling on a CPM model and shouldn’t be bound by it. These types of ads will have more problems than others for a variety of reasons. This means you could see quite a high discrepancy between the amount of impressions you predict and the amount you deliver (with an especially high variance between ad units).
The most important thing when selling these ads however is to have someone who will be able to talk to the advertiser, test, set up and troubleshoot the ad. Ad networks can take this burden off your hands, but not in all cases.
Reskin Website Advice for Ad Buyers
Reskins can be a highly effective if expensive form of advertising, especially as part of a Sponsorship or Homepage Takeover. They are only a good idea however if you have the budget and a designer available to create a high-quality reskin. Those are quite big “if’s” – this ad type can be excessively troublesome due to not being standard in any way. The site you work with will also have to play quite a big part in ensuring they run properly and this can be quite difficult even for the most seemingly proficient of sites.
Our overall recommendation would be that if you do use this ad type, that you run a small test to work out the kinks with your chosen site before committing to a full on campaign. Also ensure whatever metrics you want recorded are possible before getting started as nothing is a given with this ad type.