Get your online advertising right

Don’t expect magic results from advertising on the web – its high measurability also quickly exposes what works and what doesn’t. DENISE SHRIVELL targets the right strategies that will turn clicks into dollars.

By Denise Shrivell

Online advertising

Don’t expect magic results from advertising on the web – its high measurability also quickly exposes what works and what doesn’t. But target the right strategies and you will turn clicks into dollars.

Recently I came across a comment from a small business owner who had advertised on a well-known website. The firm’s campaign appeared in a relevant environment and had generated many visitors, but no one had bought its product. The small business owner declared he would not advertise with that site again.

This got me thinking. Where exactly does the responsibility lie for the success of an online campaign – with the site or with the advertiser?

If we shifted this example from online to traditional media such as TV, radio or print, the business owner’s reaction might be very different. The ads would have sent many potential customers into his store and resulted in plenty of inquires by phone.

Most likely, the result would have been a pretty satisfied advertiser who considers the conversion of these inquiries into real business to be their responsibility.

As a long time advertising sales person I have seen many businesses (both small and large) place reliance on a website’s ability to generate clickthrough and sales results. But this focus should be shifted. It is the advertisers’ campaign execution, from planning to appearance to measurement of results, that matters.

As an advertiser, here are some things to consider when executing your next online campaign:

1. Online planning and objectives

Do you have a good understanding of your current market position? This will help you define your prime market, the best way to reach them and what your objectives are with them. Your advertising objectives should be realistic, particularly when taking your budget into account.

2. Your online mix

Like any medium, there are several options available when deciding your online advertising channel. Your decision will largely depend on your budget and your objectives. If your budget allows you to choose multi online channels and sites, how will the mix work together? And how is online leveraging with any other media you may be using?

3. Your new best friend

Some performance-based advertising is self managed. Where you are dealing with a sales representative (your new best friend) ensure you communicate your objectives effectively. They should then match this with tailored recommendations on where you should “expose your ad” on their site. You know your business best, they know their site best – by working together you will develop a better understanding of what works for you and what you can realistically expect to achieve.

4. The environment your advertisement appears in

Who is viewing your ad and what mindset are they in when they are exposed to your advertising message? The type of site, content section and environment may dictate what your creative will say and do.

5. Your online creative

Industry standard response rates can vary greatly for each creative size and format. No matter what format, is your advertising message stated clearly? Have you made it crystal clear what you want your audience to know about you, your offer and then what you want them to do about it?

6. Your website

It has been said that on average a person will decide within the first eight seconds to stay and look around a site or leave. Does the offer on your advertisements match the page they are clicking through to? Is your site designed to optimise results from any traffic you are generating through your advertising? Remember – you have eight seconds to grab them!

7. Your return on investment

What processes and standards are you putting in place to measure your results during and after a campaign? How are you using these results for your benefit?

Once you’ve answered these questions and worked out your budget, you’ll start to get a clear idea of the type of online advertising you want to pursue.

At the cheaper end of the spectrum, performance-based advertising offers a measureable return on your investment and can meet the needs of advertisers wanting to generate response. Solutions such as Google AdWords, Facebook, and affiliate marketing can be highly targeted and bought with a nil-risk buying model (no results, no need to pay). If these campaigns are closely managed, they can deliver strong results.

Where to next?

The next level up is advertising on vertical or niche sites. These websites will specifically target your market, usually in a highly engaged environment, and can provide quality response combined with valuable awareness-based benefits.

Advertising with larger, mainstream sites and portals can deliver visitor numbers to your site, and is great for brand awareness. But these sites often require a minimum spend threshold, which may be prohibitive to smaller businesses.

All forms of online advertising are highly measureable, and this is a key strength over other mediums. But does this inherent accountability mean the host site is solely responsible for generating leads and sales for their advertisers?

No. It is the role of the website to fulfill their advertising agreement with you. This may be based on several available buying models, including an agreement to expose your ad on a forecasted impression level and/or fixed placement over a specified time period. It is within the site owner’s interest to work with you and give you a positive advertising experience.

But how you as the advertiser execute your campaign is the chief driver to meet your objectives and achieve success.



Denise Shrivell

Denise Shrivell has been in the advertising and media industry for over 20 years working in agency media departments in both Sydney and London and in senior sales and development roles for major magazine and newspaper publishers such as News and Fairfax. In 1998, Denise initiated and implemented the first online revenue platforms into the BRW, Personal Investor and Shares sites. In 2000 Denise joined start up web site Essential Baby and was instrumental in developing and implementing strategies and revenue platforms to grow EB, which was purchased by Fairfax Digital in January 2007. Denise is now consulting businesses in their revenue and advertising strategies, training sales people in online selling and producing articles for various publications.


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