Advertising on the internet can be an important part of your marketing strategy, helping to drive traffic to your website. Research shows that advertising online works well with other forms of advertising to help give your brand name or product a significant uplift in exposure. Unlike some traditional advertising, online advertising can deliver visitors immediately - through a simple click on your ad - and provides measurable results.
The internet is vast. To maximise the effectiveness of your online advertising, you need to ensure that your ads appear in the right place by selecting websites that can deliver the right audience for your product or service. For instance, you might consider online publications or price-comparison sites that cater to your target market.
A simple and effective way to find the most appropriate websites is to put yourself in your customers' shoes, by typing in the sort of search terms that they would use. As long as the websites that come up aren't competitors of yours, they might be good places to advertise. A quick check will tell you whether each site has the right sort of image and offers the web advertising opportunities you're looking for.
An alternative approach is to advertise directly on a search engine as part of your search marketing. You can also buy advertising from a 'content network' that uses search technology to automatically display your ads on different websites that are likely to have the right audience. Although you have less control over exactly where your online advertising appears, this can be very effective.
There are several ways to advertise on the internet. You can pay for website advertising with a price based on the number of times the ad is displayed. So the more viewers see your ad (or at least the page on which your ad is shown) the more you pay. This simple form of payment might suit you if the aim of your internet advertising is to build brand exposure. It's often referred to as CPM - cost per thousand (with M being the roman numeral for 1,000).
Other alternatives take advantage of the interactive nature of the internet. If you advertise online with the aim of increasing website traffic, then pay per click advertising (PPC) is ideal. You only pay for the viewers who actually click on the ad and come to your site.
Taking this a step further, sometimes advertising on the internet is charged for on a cost per action (CPA) basis. For example, you might be able to negotiate an agreement where you only pay for the number of viewers who actually buy your product as the result of an ad. This kind of payment scheme requires a close relationship with the website where your ad is published, and is typically part of an affiliate marketing relationship.
There are several different online advertising design options. You may be able to buy a banner ad across the top of the page or different sizes of ad in different places. Skyscraper ads are vertical banners down one side of the page and can achieve a great deal of impact.
Where you place your advert on a website is crucial. For instance, a banner ad on the home page might get the most exposure, but an ad on the page that is the most relevant to your product might provide more effective promotion.
While a static display ad is the simplest option, even simple animation may help attract more attention to your ad. While the main aim of many ads is to boost your website traffic, more complex rich media such as videos can be used to provide a more involving ad.
You will probably want to use a professional designer to create your online ad, though there are online advertising design tools for simple ads.
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