Online Advertising 101

Many online advertising opportunities are available to increase your organization’s visibility, website traffic, and inbound leads.

Online advertising complements other online marketing activities, and can be especially helpful in filling a void while search engine optimization efforts are initially being undertaken. Online advertising also provides valuable analytics and insights that can be used to improve overall online results.

Different advertising approaches are appropriate for different business situations – selecting the right approach is key. Three distinct online advertising approaches are:

1. Pay per Click (PPC) 

Pay per click is a type of advertising available through search engine providers such as Google (Google AdWords) and Bing/Yahoo (AdCenter). In simple terms, pay per click is based on a keyword bidding system. Advertisers agree to pay a “per click” amount per keyword. The ad is displayed (an impression) on the top or sidebar of search engine results pages, and ads are ranked based on a number of factors. Costs are only incurred when the ad is actually clicked.

The strengths of pay per click advertising: results can be closely monitored, and budgets can be adjusted in real-time based on how the advertising campaign is performing. If the advertiser does a good job with developing its ads and having well-structured and compelling landing pages, conversion results can be very positive.

2. Advertising on Social Networks

Advertising on social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn allows advertisers to take advantage of demographic information to target specific communities of interest. This form of online advertising is typically based on a pay per impression model – costs are incurred each time the ad is actually displayed.

The strength of social networking advertising: it can be targeted to precise demographics, and will only be seen by those who fit the specific profile.

3. Banner Advertising

A banner ad is a form of advertising that entails embedding an advertisement onto a web page – typically on a frequently visited site such as a news site. Banner ads drive traffic to the advertiser’s web site.

The strengths of banner ads: they are relatively low cost and can provide exposure to a large audience, depending on the popularity of the site on which the ad is displayed.

The Bottom Line 

You should consider these advertising tactics as part of your online marketing strategy. As with all things marketing, you need to consider your target audience, competition, and business objectives when determining whether online advertising makes sense for you; and if it does, which vehicles are best suited to your situation.

Regardless of the direction you take, you must be prepared to test, analyze, and refine in order to optimize results. An analytical approach is always critical to online marketing success.

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Ben Molfetta
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