Banner Ads – A Wise Alternative to Search Marketing
Placing ad banners on quality content websites and blogs can be more effective than paying to show up in search results. Whilst search advertising is measured via performance based metrics using the number of click-throughs, banner advertising works by branding (something you can’t measure just using the click-through rate). This article shows how experts have valued display advertising and examines the options of obtaining quality Advertising Space on the net without breaking the budget.
Banners have a larger impact than originally thought
For years, Banner Ads have been criticized for their low conversions, but a comprehensive study confirms their importance. Following research into the effectiveness of display advertising, industry leaders, comScore and Online Publisher’s Association, have given their support for the value of banner advertising.
The study, called ‘The Silent Click: Building Brands Online’ looked at consumer’s behaviour after being exposed to banner campaigns, including their search activities in relation to that brand, their visitation to the advertiser’s website and consequential purchases. It’s a more accurate way of determining how effective display advertising can be. It examined 80 branding campaigns over 200 highly trafficked websites.
The findings were that 20% of people conducted searches in respect of that brand, they spent 50% more time on the advertiser’s website and visited more pages and they spend 10% more on products than people who weren’t exposed to the advertisements. So while the ads produced little click throughs, they did have an impact, perhaps even higher than performance based search marketing.
In addition to these findings, the study bolstered the atmosphere of the content site having an impact on the consumer’s behaviour. The brand aura is strengthened when being displayed on a high quality trusted website.
When using search marketing to brand, whether through an ad network or not, it’s impossible to ensure all your advertisements are displayed on superior sites which have consumers’ confidence. To secure placement on such sites, you’ll have to find the Ad Space yourself.
Options for buying Advertising Space
There are five ways of finding and purchasing advertising spots:
1) Organically, by searching for and contacting websites yourself,
This process is arduous and time consuming but can be very effective and requires minimal expense. You should locate websites relative to your niche who are attracting your target audience. You can find some great bargains by contacting sites that aren’t attracting much advertising. Even if such websites don’t have much traffic, your visitors will be qualified and highly targeted.
Such websites might not even have an advertising policy or structure set up, giving you the opportunity to negotiate the price and location of your ad. Popular sites will have a standard set of advertising rates, usually contained in their media kit. You will need to follow each website’s processes and organise placement yourself.
2) Browsing a Banner Auction;
Banner Auctions provide a venue for publishing websites (sellers of ad space) to list their available space for sale either by auction or flat price buy-out. It’s a useful mechanism for advertisers to find and compare available Ad Space.
This process makes finding Ad Space direct easier than starting from scratch since you can view the offers, contact the sellers and make purchases all from one place.
3) Using an ad network;
Ad networks provide a means of automatically placing your advertisement on many sites. If you lack the time to find and negotiate advertising placements yourself, then this is the ideal option for you. The costing method is usually CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or PPC (pay per click through). Networks can find placements at reduced prices by giving you inventory which wasn’t sold at the normal price.
A downfall is that automatic placement means you have no direct control of where your ads will be shown. Also ad networks have been criticized for failing to provide sufficiently targeted placements, meaning your ads are being clicked by an uninterested audience (which is a waste of your advertising money).
4) Employing an advertising agency;
This basically involves hiring an agency to use their skill and expertise for locating and negotiating placements on your behalf. Reputable agencies have many clients, enabling them to buy impressions in bulk. They can run the whole process from having each banner designed to arranging specialised and targeted ad placements.
While they provide professional expert service, many require an account minimum to undertake such service. You can carry out this task yourself or browse a Banner Auction website if your budget is limited.
5) Setting up an affiliate program.
You can arrange for other websites (affiliates) to display your banners and pay them for each specified event. Most work on either pay per click-throughs or paying a commission on making a sale (called pay per action advertising).
This method is results based and accordingly very cost effective. Due to the high number of websites running affiliate programs, referrers look for trustworthy and reputable program managers.
If you start a program, you will need to be attentive and punctual in managing your affiliates. Treat your affiliates fairly and provide timely accurate reporting.
An ideal marketing plan should include some form of advertising combined with the use of social media, press releases, newsletters, viral marketing and any other way of obtaining exposure to your website. When dedicating a budget to advertising, make sure you research all the options available for buying Ad Space to make informed decisions and to get the best use out of your marketing dollars.