The Internet is becoming very important part in our lives, especially in business. Successful business can’t be imagined without Internet presence. Many companies have their own corporate web sites and email newsletters but it is not enough. Online advertising is the next logical part of every integrated marketing campaign in order to spread the word about your company.
Online advertising is much more different than in early Internet days, back in 1995. At the beginning of online advertising age the most used banner formats were 468×60 pixels, 120×60 pixels and 88×31 pixels. Several years ago new ad formats appeared like so called skyscraper ads. We recommend you to visit Internet Advertising Bureau to see universal ad packages.
Online advertising spending grows exponentially. According to a research made by eMarketer, in 2005. advertising spending in USA will be more than $10 billion dollars for the first time. They predict that it will reach $12.9 billion dollars! This is really great especially if we know that in 2002. advertising was $6 billion dollars. Three years is not so long time, but when it comes to the Internet it is.
There are many sites that have some ads. Usually they are smaller or larger animated images called banners. Online advertising is so oversaturated that many studies show that people developed ability to screen out ads. The first banner was published on HotWired web site in 1994. It is a famous banner with text: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right HERE? YOU WILL!”
At the beginning banners had decent click-through rates, sometimes even 10%. Today, usually CTR is between 0.1-0.3% even lower because of banner saturation.
Marketers needed new online advertising models so they started making ads using Flash. Using Flash technology, marketers are able to make interactive ads that look like mini home pages and in most cases those ads have much better CTR. Ads made in Flash can be seen on many popular portals like Yahoo! and MSN.
Today, the best results show email advertising and contextual advertising. Email advertising is great if your ad appears in double opt-in email newsletters with targeted subscribers. Good ad campaigns can get 5-10% CTR in email newsletters, even higher in some cases.
Google made a revolution in online advertising introducing the contextual advertising models in their services AdWords and AdSense. AdWords is based on a model that advertisers can choose desired keywords so every time someone makes a search on Google with their selected keyword their ad will appear on Google side bar or on the top of search results. This is good because many people don’t see them like advertising, they see them as search results, and therefore, CTR is higher. It is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising so that advertiser only pays when someone clicked on their ad. AdSense, on the other hand, allows publishers that they ads appear like texts only on relevant web sites that have similar target audience like their business. Google AdSense is great for web site owners, too, because they can monetize their web site traffic. Recently, it became possible to have Google ads in RSS. This is very useful for bloggers.
Another good choice for PPC advertising is using services like Overture and AdBrite. Overture allows keyword bidding and many popular sites like Yahoo! and MSN use Overture service for their sponsored search results. AdBrite allows you to choose web sites on which you want to advertise.
We have listed several useful free services that will help you in making your next successful PPC campaign.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Keyword Suggestion Tool
Free Search Engine Ranking & Keyword Tracker
Search Engine Placement Check
When you start with online advertising you have to be able to give answers on several questions.
1) What do you want to achieve?
If you don’t want where you are going, you will never get there. You have to know what you want to achieve with your online advertising campaign. It is like when you make projections in your business plan. You will have to make your Internet marketing plan. Your goals can be to get 100 clients, 2000 subscribers to your email newsletter or anything else. Just be specific and clearly define your goals in order to achieve them.
2) Where to advertise?
This is the next logical step. Depending on what your goals are you will choose your target sites. Do you want to use online advertising for your branding? Then the good use can be larger banner campaign on popular ad networks. It is most likely that you won’t have some great CTR but many people will see your ad and it is cost-effective. If you want better response rate, good thing is to advertise in email newsletters. If you want to get clients with minimum risk you should use PPC advertising on search engines or affiliate programs based on pay-per-sale.
You won’t choose same places to advertise if you want to reach newbies and decision makers. You have to know what you sell and to whom. Market segmentation is essential.
You have to choose quality and visited web sites. We have listed several useful free services that can help you to determine site popularity.
Google Page Rank Prediction
Link Popularity Check
3)Out Of The Box approach
Don’t be scared to experiment with your ads. We have already said that there are many ads, so you will have many competitors. You want to get the most from your advertising dollars. Test, test, test! Be creative and use technologies like Flash or DHTML in order to make your ads stand out from the crowd.
4) Words sell
You have to choose good message for your ads. To clearly define your offer and to call on action. Don’t forget to include words like “Click here”, “Register Now!”, and “Free Report”, to offer contests for popular gadgets like iPod. Good thing is to include interesting questions in your ads, questions that start with “How To…” messages that start with numbers like “7 Email Marketing Best Practices”…
Things to avoid
Although, some people can tell you that pop-ups can bring you many new subscribers, we recommend you not to use pop-ups. Different studies show that people don’t like this technique. Don’t make your banner images bulky, it will have a slow loading time. Not everyone use broadband. Optimize them to have good loading time. Some people make their banners look like Windows dialogue boxes or place a combo box image on their banners in order to mislead their visitors and to have better CTR. Don’t use that technique.