Don’t expect magic results from advertising on the web – its high measurability also quickly exposes what works and what doesn’t. But target the right strategies and you will turn clicks into dollars.
As an advertiser, here are some things to consider when executing your next online campaign:
- Online planning and objectives
Do you have a good understanding of your current market position? This will help you define your prime market, the best way to reach them and what your objectives are with them. Your advertising objectives should be realistic, particularly when taking your budget into account.
- Your online mix
Like any medium, there are several options available when deciding your online advertising channel. Your decision will largely depend on your budget and your objectives. If your budget allows you to choose multi online channels and sites, how will the mix work together? And how is online leveraging with any other media you may be using?
- Your new best friend
Some performance-based advertising is self managed. Where you are dealing with a sales representative (your new best friend) ensure you communicate your objectives effectively. They should then match this with tailored recommendations on where you should “expose your ad” on their site. You know your business best, they know their site best – by working together you will develop a better understanding of what works for you and what you can realistically expect to achieve.
- The environment your advertisement appears in
Who is viewing your ad and what mindset are they in when they are exposed to your advertising message? The type of site, content section and environment may dictate what your creative will say and do.
- Your online creative
Industry standard response rates can vary greatly for each creative size and format. No matter what format, is your advertising message stated clearly? Have you made it crystal clear what you want your audience to know about you, your offer and then what you want them to do about it?
- Your website
It has been said that on average a person will decide within the first eight seconds to stay and look around a site or leave. Does the offer on your advertisements match the page they are clicking through to? Is your site designed to optimise results from any traffic you are generating through your advertising? Remember – you have eight seconds to grab them!
- Your return on investment
What processes and standards are you putting in place to measure your results during and after a campaign? How are you using these results for your benefit?
Once you’ve answered these questions and worked out your budget, you’ll start to get a clear idea of the type of online advertising you want to pursue.
At the cheaper end of the spectrum, performance-based advertising offers a measureable return on your investment and can meet the needs of advertisers wanting to generate response. Solutions such as Google AdWords, Facebook, and affiliate marketing can be highly targeted and bought with a nil-risk buying model (no results, no need to pay). If these campaigns are closely managed, they can deliver strong results.
Where to next?
The next level up is advertising on vertical or niche sites. These websites will specifically target your market, usually in a highly engaged environment, and can provide quality response combined with valuable awareness-based benefits.
Advertising with larger, mainstream sites and portals can deliver visitor numbers to your site, and is great for brand awareness. But these sites often require a minimum spend threshold, which may be prohibitive to smaller businesses.
All forms of online advertising are highly measureable, and this is a key strength over other mediums. But does this inherent accountability mean the host site is solely responsible for generating leads and sales for their advertisers?
No. It is the role of the website to fulfill their advertising agreement with you. This may be based on several available buying models, including an agreement to expose your ad on a forecasted impression level and/or fixed placement over a specified time period. It is within the site owner’s interest to work with you and give you a positive advertising experience.
But how you as the advertiser execute your campaign is the chief driver to meet your objectives and achieve success.