Guide to Internet Advertising (Advertising Mediums Part 3 of 4)

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Internet advertising has become a multi-billion dollar business and a standard element of the marketing mix for large corporations. In fact, their off-line activities have become vehicles to drive consumers onto their websites, where they can deliver a much richer brand experience than can be achieved in print or even through a television advert.

So when major companies are investing so heavily in internet marketing, it means that there are definitely opportunities to be had for small businesses.

So let’s look at the areas for consideration when considering internet advertising:

What Is Internet Advertising?

Advertising on the internet can take many forms. One of the simplest and most direct of which is ‘Google Adwords’, where you run paid-for, text-based adverts next to the search results list when someone searches for something related to your ad. Google has a very sophisticated system that allows you to target your ads globally or even within a very small and precise target area. You can also branch out and include your ads in their ‘content network’, which means that your ads will be included in pages where Google have agreements with the site owner to carry their ads. For instance your ad for ‘Car Parts Supplies’ might appear on a website dedicated to cars. This type of advertising is called PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and means that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad to visit your website.

Another form of internet advertising is Banner-Based advertising. This is where relevant websites will carry an image-based (or in some cases even video-based) adverts. This used to be very difficult for small businesses to get involved in because you would have to talk to a media agency to buy the space on a ‘network’ of opted-in websites, but again Google came to the rescue and created a simple system that allows any business of any size to run banner ads on their ‘network’ of sites. This form of advertising is called CPM (Cost Per Thousand – the ‘M’ is the Latin symbol for Thousand), which means that you pay a set amount for every thousand views of your banner ad, whether the viewer clicks on it or not.

There are other forms of internet based advertising that you can run, but for the average sized business, you should only consider the above two. Even then, with banner advertising, you really need to be promoting your products nationally or internationally to make this worthwhile.

Does It Work?

Yes it does. There are sceptics of internet advertising, but these are normally people who have run bad campaigns and lost money. If you do the right things (as highlighted below) then you can expect a very good return on investment.

I Am Interested – What Do I Do?

There are certain things that you have to get right in order to run successful internet ads. Firstly, make sure your website looks good and most of all professional. Internet advertising is all about bringing people to your website, if it looks bad, then it’s just like a potential customer walking into a cluttered, poorly kept shop – they’ll just leave! Also, make sure that what they are looking for is right in front of them when they ‘land’ on your site. Secondly, talk to an expert and let them create the ads and the campaign for you. Lastly, either have them monitor your campaign, or get them to teach you how to do it. Then make sure you are monitoring it daily or at least every few days to ensure you continue to get a good return on investment.

If you take these factors into account, then there is no reason why the internet shouldn’t work for you as a viable marketing medium.

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