Advertising is a big subject. The first thing to note is that advertising works. When well executed it works very well. The traditional difficulty in determining the level of sales for which advertising is responsible is summed up in the well worn cliche ‘I know that half my advertising works but I don’t know which half’. This kind of difficulty has often caused admen to get a bad name (Typical advertising joke: Don’t tell my mother I’m in advertising – she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse!).
On the web, the problems of measuring the effectiveness of advertising are greatly diminished and typically the costs are considerably less than apply in the print media or on TV/radio. Often advertising can be secured free and on this page, Artefact will show you how to do that.
First, let’s make a comparison between a typical ad in a newspaper and a banner ad on the web. You are advertising, say, a skin care lotion for women. You might pay $10,000 for an A4 size ad in a typical paper with a circulation of 300,000. The paper will claim a somewhat higher readership as more than one person on average will have a browse through each copy sold. Let’s say the total readership is 600,000. Right, we can now cut down the effective market for that ad to about 300,000 again – the half of the readership that is female. We can cut out an unknown proportion which is not in the least bit interested in using a new skin care lotion. We can cut out a further unknown proportion which will never even see the ad in the middle of a bulky newspaper – after all, how many people look at every page and every corner of every page? Of those who do see the ad and are interested, they will have to remember the details, maybe a telephone number or a web address and remember at a later time take action. How many will you lose between the time they say… ‘Mmm, I must give that a try sometime’ and the time they actually remember to do so? So out of 300,000 how many relevant prospects will actually see the ad and go to the trouble of finding more information? Not so many!
Typically, if you buy 300,000 banner impressions on the skin care page of a popular women’s health/beauty site it will cost you a great deal less than $10,000. For that you get 300,000 views of your ad by people who are already demonstrating an active interest in the kind of product you are selling by virtue of the fact that they are looking at the page where your banner is situated. Moreover they cannot help seeing your banner flashing away on their relatively small computer screen. Furthermore they are online at the time they see your ad and are only a click away from your site and detailed information. If your site can take their orders and payment online, hey presto!
Now it has to be said that people are getting almost as good at automatically filtering out banner ads on the web as they are at ignoring the ads in papers and magazines. Typically even an attractive banner will generate less than 1% click-throughs although this mark can sometimes be well exceeded. And perhaps only 1% of that 1% will buy! So you need a huge number of banner impressions to make any impression on sales.
Artefact can direct you to opportunities to make and to place banner ads cost effectively. However, it has to be said that these are often of limited value mainly because your effort lacks focus. If I am selling prosthetic limbs then ad banners through banner exchange programmes and suchlike, even if they generate some traffic on my site, are not very likely to result in sales. I might be much better advised to pay for some advertising on a specialist site where people in need of prosthetic limbs go! On the other hand if your product or service is something designed to appeal to the mass market, then the more free advertising you can obtain the better and it may well be worth the time and effort of setting it up. But beware of the downside too…there may be no cost in money but there’s usually a quid pro quo in the form of having to litter your site with the banners of others, often totally unrelated to what your site is about and therefore likely to diminish your site in its appearance and appeal.