Marketing on the Internet

2. Online Advertising

You can pay to have adverts on other websites promoting your business. When users click these adverts, they are taken to your company website.

2.1 Display advertising involves showing banners or images which promote your website.

  • Banners are eye-catching areas on the screen which draw attention to your products or services.
  • They can include images, text, animation and even sound and video.
  • Adverts can have an interactive element which encourages users to engage with them. For example, the ad could expand or reveal text when the mouse hovers over it.
  • Pop-ups are windows which open on the user’s computer unprompted. They can annoy people and are best avoided.
  • Overlays are graphical adverts which appear on top of the page. They are best used carefully, as they can annoy users by obscuring content.
  • Display advertising is usually charged by the number of impressions, or views your advert get. You could pay anything from £10 per 1,000 views.

2.2 You can advertise your website on search engines. This is called search marketing.

  • The most common form of search marketing involves displaying text adverts on search engine result pages.
  • This is called ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) advertising, because you pay each time someone clicks one of your adverts.
  • PPC advertising is the most targeted form of online advertising, and therefore highly effective. For example, a Google search for ‘piano lessons’ would return adverts for piano teachers.
  • The cost of PPC adverts is normally determined by a bidding system. They could cost anything from 10p to £10, depending on competition between advertisers.
  • Costs are controllable because you can set a maximum amount to spend. This means you can test PPC advertising at a relatively low cost.
  • The best PPC advertising campaigns target many search terms with specific ads for each one. They can be time-consuming to manage.
  • The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has a comprehensive guide to PPC advertising on its website.

2.3 You may be able to sponsor pages or sections on other websites.

  • Sponsorship allows you to customise a page or section of a website with your branding and links.
  • You could approach complementary websites to your own. For instance, a piano teacher could sponsor a ‘how to play the piano’ section on a manufacturer’s website.
  • Your business may benefit from being associated with other prestigious brands.
  • Sponsorship is usually a set price for a set amount of time.
  • As an alternative to paying for sponsorship, try and arrange a reciprocal deal. Offer to supply another website with interesting articles in return for credit and links back to your website.

2.4 New types of online advertising are being developed all the time.

  • Users tend to filter out online adverts, so new ways to attract their attention are constantly being developed.
  • The IAB regularly updates its advertising guides.
  • If you use a web-design agency, they may be able to advise on the different types of advertising available.

2.5 It can be difficult to decide which methods of advertising to use.

  • A mix is often best. For instance, you can use PPC adverts to target specific search terms, and banner advertising to raise awareness of your brand.
  • Test different types of advertising online. You can add tracking codes to your adverts to see which ones work best.
  • Consider consulting a specialist online advertising agency. Look for an agency which is a member of the IAB.

2.6 There are some easy ways to get the most out of your online advertising.

  • Many advertising programmes allow you to run a few ads without any long-term commitment. So you could sign up and see what sort of response you get.
  • Try out alternative banner designs and measure the clickthrough rates to see which work best.
  • Be as targeted as you can. Tailor adverts to the audience, and make sure links lead to a relevant page.
  • Bring in the experts. An agency can help you put together an advertising plan so you spend your budget wisely.

BHP Infosolutions

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