With much of today’s business done on the internet, companies clearly need to advertise online, but as always it’s the costs and fear of the unknown that puts many off. In a recent survey sent to 25,000 SME businesses, 31% said they advertised online but 52% of the advertisers said their advertising was not profitable and 54% saying very little of the traffic received converted to business.
So what can be done? How can website advertising reach a point where it is free or at least cost effective? ?
There are two clear areas of opportunity. Firstly, think of who you’re targeting. Across the advertising market, whether you’re using an agency or running campaigns direct, running ad campaigns across -networks’ (network of sites showing your banner ads) can deliver huge variations in profitability and this variation is due, in the main, to the level and sophistication of the targeting used.
The better targeted campaigns, i.e. the higher the relevance of traffic arriving and clicking on your ads, the higher the chance of users converting on your site to business, and more profitable campaigns. If your company sells garden tools, you’re better off advertising on gardening websites than gaming sites.
Some networks offer -contextual- (showing your ads only on pages where the editorial content relates to the ad, the theory that users on that page will click on the ad as it relates to their area of interest). Others offer -yield targeting’ (testing and maximising exposure on sites and pages where they get the best click through rate or conversion). While others offer -behavioural targeting’, where ads are only shown on the page if the user arriving on the page has followed a certain behaviour of online navigation that relates to the target of the ad. So the user’s behaviour on previous pages or sites are used to place the ads. For example, if the user coming on to the page has just visited a travel site then ads shown could be for sun tan lotion, flights or holiday insurance.
The second area of opportunity is becoming a -publisher’ of adverts. That is, running display ads on your own site and earning per click or impressions delivered. If you have a good slab of traffic on your site not monetised (convertible to cash), then you should set up a display ad campaign with an ad network or Google Adsense.
No matter if you’re an advertiser or looking for ads to put on your site, it’s possible with a little research to make website advertising effective.