How to Banner Hits on the Web
By eHow Business Editor
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Internet-based clicks can be a boon to your business or Web site's growth. But online ads are like any other form of clicks. You need to think about your target audience and set clear objectives on what you want the ads to do. Here's the scoop on how to get started.
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Things You’ll Need:
* Ad network
* Target audiencs
* Ad agency
Find where to buy online ads. An ad network--one of about a hundred firms that sell ads across a number of online sites with a single purchase--is the easiest place. Other options include clicks agencies, national newspaper sites, e-mail newsletters, search engines and sites that specialize in reaching a technology audience.
Determine who your target audience is and where they are most likely to spend time when online. Those are the sites where you want to be seen. It is worth spending more to reach the people who will actually become customers.
Learn how effective each type of ad is. Banners--the clicks boxes that appear on a Web page--are the most common, but have become less and less effective. Interstitial ads pop up on a page or interrupt between pages, but can be much more expensive to produce and place. The key is targeting a specific audience like parents, home owners or dog lovers.
Hire an ad agency or designer (see How to Hire a Graphic Designer) who specializes in Web clicks to design an ad for you. Pay careful attention to the wording, message and how your company or service is branded. Make sure it is consistent with your overall marketing so you reach the appropriate audience, and they don't click off of your site once they find you.
Shop aggressively. The market is competitive, so look around for the best prices and a deal that meets your needs. clicks sales people expect you to negotiate prices.
Choose the price structure that works for you: If you choose per impression, you may pay a CPM (cost per thousand) each time your banner appears. Per click-through, you'll pay for each hit your ad gets. Per lead, you may pay each time you get an online registration or a request for a catalog. Per sale, you pay each time someone buys something you've advertised. Rates are highly variable.
Review your results and make adjustments as necessary. Changes can usually be completed and integrated within days. Check to see if you met your goals once the campaign is done. If not, give some thought to revamping your campaign or choosing another form of clicks.
Buying Traffic - Paid Newsletter Inclusion
Part 1 of a 3-part article on lead generation and how to Banner Hits.
We discuss 3 ways of driving traffic directly to our site, and present our findings here. This first part talks about paid inclusion in newsletters, and ads / banners on tech & marketing sites.
The 3 parts are as follows:
1. buying targeted leads - placement in newsletters aka 'paid inclusion'
2. PPC ad campaigns - adwords / google, the clearest source of targeted traffic
3. buying clicks - for example buying 50,000 visitors
The secret appears to be that there is no easy way to Banner Hits. There are a lot of sites and products claiming to bring you traffic, but in reality, it is difficult to arrange for people come to your website, click around, and buy something. We tried 3 techniques and share our findings with you here.
We are of the opinion that 1) PPC campaigns are a definite must 2) paid inclusion in newsletters, ads and banners, can be successful if well-placed and well-designed, & that 3) bulk targeted traffic is a scam.
Note: industry information on lead generation is somewhat guarded. Lead generation and the purchase of traffic is a complicated business, with networks and affiliate groups. There is not much info on this subject to be easily found on the internet. We present this account with a pinch of salt. We would be very interested to read about your experiences.
Part 1 Buying paid inclusion in newsletters
We purchased advertisement inclusion in two well-known opt-in / subscription newsletters. Both inserts were in the price range of $750 - $1000.
For both campaigns we provided a banner ad with text for inclusion in a newsletter published on the internet and sent out to various email lists, made up of 25,000 to 500,000 opt-in subscribers.
We were told to expect anywhere from 300 to 3000 click-throughs. From that number, 10% of the visitors might take out a free Opentracker trial, and of those trials in turn, a percentage of people would purchase website statistics subscriptions.
We created separate landing pages for each mailing, so that we can very clearly see, by url, how many people landed on each page.
In both cases the numbers were lower than expected.
For the first mailing, we received 10% of the visitors we had been told to expect, but the visitors showed a high level of interest, based on pageviews.
For the second mailing we received the amount traffic we had been told to expect but less than 10% of the visitors created trial accounts. The average number of clicks was much lower, indicating that this group was clearly less interested than the first mailing group.
Here are three sample variables we use to measure success in this situation:
1. acquisition cost-per-visitor
2. the average number of pageviews that each visitor generated, as a measurement of how well-targeted the traffic is
3. the percentage of visitors who follow the primary call of action and "do what we want them to do" - in other words sign up for a free trial
1. the acquisition cost-per-visitor was substantially higher than we had expected, i.e. whereas we may pay $0.50 or $1.00 per visitor on Google or Overture, we were paying up to $4.00 per lead in this lead generation campaign. A lead is a lead, however, and if they are well-targeted, they are worth the investment. Which brings us to
2. the number of pages the visitors view. This is important. There was a large difference in the quality of the traffic. For the first mailing, the average visitor viewed 7.5 pages, and hence was likely to create a trial account. The group that received the second mailing averaged 2.5 pageviews each. The lesson is to stress the importance of well-targeted traffic. The question remains; 'why would one group of visitors look at more pages than another'?
3. the percentage of visitors who follow the primary call to action and "do what we want them to do" - in other words sign up for a free trial, was larger for the first group than for the second. This can easily be explained by looking at the average number of pages viewed per person. The finding is that the lower the average number of pages viewed, the less likelihood of conversion.
If your campaign spans several days, try to experiment by changing the landing page, and measuring the results that different versions deliver. On the right, please see the places that people clicked, in order of popularity.
At one point we noticed that the average pageviews were disappointlingly low, meaning that nobody was reaching our target page (the sign-up page). We changed the landing page and directed the visitors directly to the 'create a free trial' page. This led to an even further drop in the average number of pages viewed.
People did not respond well to being landed directly on a sign-up page.
There is a lot of literature on this subject on the internet. The challenge is to offer a well-built page which is to the point, invites exploration, and leads visitors to complete a desired action. In this case a text-link produced the best results (see diagram).
text links were most effective at driving traffic
See the diagram above (click to enlarge). The diagram tells you what percentage of visitors clicked on each image or link on the page. The text links towards the bottom of the pages attracted the most visitors.
Conclusion: Paid Inclusion
You do not know what the quality of the traffic that you will receive is going to be. There is no way to guarantee that your visitors will take any action, which tells you that you need to both a) have well-targeted traffic, and b) make your site a great place to visit.
Nobody can "force" people to come to your website, look around, and make purchases. Of course, some people are paid to surf to your site, a sneaky tactic which is covered later in part 3.
What to Bring - Budgeting
In our experience, you need a budget of several thousand dollars to test the waters; a regular budget of somewhere between $500 and $1500 per month, or every other month. You should budget a larger percentage to continue purchasing sources of traffic that work for your site. Also budget a small percentage of your marketing wallet for experiments, to find new sources, and tap into new marketing channels.
next: Part 2 - PPC pay-per-click campaigns