Archive for May, 2007
Internet is getting 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. Many website publishers use 728×90 as a new standard for premium banners. 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 IAB and PWC online advertising in USA in 2006. was 16.9 billion dollars which is 35% grow from 2005.
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-thru 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, contextual advertising and video ads. Email advertising is great if your ad appears in double opt-in email newsletters with targeted subscribers. Good ad campaigns can get 2-5% CTR in email newsletters, blogs or video ads.
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. It became possible to have Google ads in RSS. This is very useful for bloggers. Google also tests contextual ads based on CPA model and in video.
Another good choice for PPC advertising is using services like Overture (now Yahoo! Search Marketing) 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.
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, brand awareness 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.
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. Also, it is recommended that your banner be above the fold (in the first scroll) and rather on the left than on the right side.
If you know Serbian language and if you are interested in e-business (I’m quite sure that the second thin is true because you are reading my blog), here is one useful info. On 30.5 I will have a webinar called “Professional presence of companies on the Internet”. Webinar is held by the company EDGE, currently the only company in Serbia which organizes webinars related to business.
Topics on this webinar will be:
- Types of websites and which one to choose for your organization
- Registration and protection of Internet domain names
- 6 factors for successful website
- Online shop
- Importance of email newsletters, blogs, RSS, social networks, widgets
- Examples and tips
Price is 1990 dinars, which is around 25 Euro.
If you are interested to get more info about this webinar, click here
Successful business can’t be done without partnerships and cooperation. On the Internet you can have a perfect partnership model – using affiliate programs.
What are affiliate programs?
Affiliate programs, which are also known as associate, partnership or referral programs are type of business that includes two parties: a seller and partners or affiliates. In order to have better sales and reach more customers many sellers start an affiliate program to sell their products and services.
Here is how it works. For example, if company A sells software and company B joins in their affiliate program to promote company A software they will earn commission for every new customer or prospect they bring to company A web site. Every affiliate has an unique ID so this way seller can track sales made by each affiliate and to pay them for that.
Affiliate program types
There are two main types of affiliate programs: affiliate programs which are based on cost-per-acquisition model (CPA) and affiliate programs which are based on cost-per-click model (CPC). Of course, much better solution for sellers (and in most cases for affiliates, too) is CPA model. In this case, seller is interested to have as much affiliates as possible, because this way they can’t loose – they pay only for new clients. Commission depends on products and services in affiliate program and can be from 5% to even 40%.
CPC affiliate program type means that the seller will pay a fixed price for every click that is made on their affiliates’ web sites. Usually click price is in the range from $0.10 – $1.0. This is more risky for companies because they will have to pay even if their affiliates don’t generate new sales and with this model it is always a risk of possible fraud clicks.
Affiliate programs are most widely used in selling books, software and web services. Some of the most successful businesses on the Internet are built on partnerships like Amazon.com and Google with their AdSense program.
Affiliate programs are great for webmasters, too. Very few web site owners can completely sell their ad inventories and with affiliate programs they can fill their unused ad inventory.
Start your own affiliate program
Having an affiliate program you won’t be limited to selling only on your web site. You will have 24×7 salespersons with the help of other web site owners who will join your affiliate program. Best of all, it is completely automated process so you won’t have to do nothing. You will only have to maintain your balance on your affiliate program service and they will pay your affiliates for sales they generate. Usually, you will also have some upfront investment when you start using some affiliate program service. You will pay a one-time-fee and a commission for every sale made thru that affiliate program service.
If you are a web site owner, you have to find several affiliate programs that are best match for your web site. Targeting is very important in order to have success with using affiliate programs. You won’t have much success if you have a webmaster resource web site and promote affiliate program for cosmetics. In this case you will have success if you promote services that are aimed to webmasters. So you will have to start promoting affiliate programs for web hosting, domain registration, Internet and email marketing software.
Some affiliate programs are two-tier based so you will earn money even if some other webmasters join to the affiliate program thru you. You will get a commission each time that new webmaster makee a sale.
You can find affiliate programs that fit to your site’s content on sites that offer affiliate program services. Usually, they offer Sellers and Affiliates section. Also, there are specialized directories for finding affiliate programs like Associate Programs and Affiliate Programs.
As you can see, power of affiliate programs represents a fact that it is a win-win situation – both for sellers and for affiliates.