Online advertising is here to stay, especially with industry experts reporting that some 70 percent of Americans are online, that many start their searches for products online, and that they often make their purchase right from the Internet.
While you may realize that you should be doing some online advertising, you may not be sure about the form in which it should be done. Before allocating where your online advertising dollars and attention will be focused this year, start by considering all your options. Online advertising is big business. In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), online advertising revenues for 2007 totaled over $21 billion, which was a 26 percent increase over the prior year. Even with a sluggish economy, online advertising is seeing strong numbers.
Making Wise Choices
The fact that so much money has been spent in online advertising does not necessarily mean that it has been effective. Without doing some research and really evaluating where the best possible place is for a company to advertise online, your expenditure could be money out the window. With so many options for where advertising dollars can be allocated online, it is important to keep in mind that not all forms are created equal, and what works for one company may not work for another.
One of the most popular forms of online advertising is the growing sector of videos, such as those on YouTube.com. Online videos have become so popular that ComScore, an online research company, reports that over 10 billion online videos were watched during the month of February 2008 alone, which was a 66 percent increase over the same month in 2007. People like watching videos; if a company can tie in their site, product or service with an interesting online video, they can see a lot of success from this cost-effective method of reaching consumers.
Other popular online advertising routes for companies to take include Google ads and other search engine and pay-per-click (PPC) options. However, these routes, as popular as they are, require a tightly focused campaign in order to see a decent return on investment. In addition, search engine ads are often the subject of click fraud, which has received a lot of attention lately, as companies like Google (which has a $6-billion-per-year advertising network) try to find solutions to stop the problem.
E-mail marketing is another popular route to take, to keep your company fresh in the minds of people. But if it is not done correctly, people will see it as merely spam and will unsubscribe from the list quickly and without hesitation. It can be a very effective tool for those that use it correctly and to their advantage.
Budgets and Bang
The first thing a company needs to do, this time of year, is look at what their budget is, keeping it realistic, to see what they can allocate to online advertising. In order to get the most bang for the buck, it is important to continue what works and to ditch what does not. Accountability is everything in advertising. If a company is spending money on a marketing effort and not seeing a definitive result, it is time to try something else.
Every company should do some online advertising in 2009. But where and how they should do it will vary for each company. The best thing to do is to take some time to research the various methods, test a few out to see what works, or consult with an online advertising expert to get things set up and evaluated. Taking these steps will help create a prosperous new year, with plenty of leads being generated through online advertising efforts.
Popular Online Advertising Options
- Video – like those on YouTube.com are cost-effective and, done correctly, can raise consumer interest.
- Banners – these ads run on sites; when people click on them, they are taken to the advertiser’s site.
- Social networking sites – very popular sites with the younger generation. They can be an effective tool to reach potential customers.
- Classified ads – craigslist has become an effective way to market to the masses, while putting out nothing but time to create the ads.
- Advertising networks – they create the opportunity to reach many people and bring traffic to a site, as well as providing reporting statistics on views and click-throughs.
- E-mail marketing – while sending an e-mail blast to just anyone may be considered spam, effective opt-in e-mail marketing can be an important advertising tool.
- Search engine ads – such as those on Google help to target and reach an audience that is looking for a particular product or service.
Pay-per-click placement – gives people the opportunity to only pay for those that actually click on their ad. This is available through some advertising networks, search engines, and other popular sites.