Making Display Advertising Work

By On 20, Jun, 2011 |  In: Internet Marketing, Online Marketing |  | 0

Many times, we have new clients approach us as an Internet Marketing Firm for SEO, PPC, and social media services to drive traffic to their Website. But, one of the channels that is, quite often, overlooked is display advertising – specifically banner and text ads.

Lead generation is really about generating leads at the most cost-effective price possible. Display advertising is a great channel to achieve this because there is a lot of inventory on various, relevant Websites that can be utilized on a monthly basis. To succeed, it’s all about understanding how the game’s played and taking the necessary steps to win. The starting point is to buy the advertising space at the most efficient price possible. The first thing to look at is if the site is charging a fixed rate for the month or charging on a CPM (cost per thousand) impressions basis. To compare different display advertising options, work the numbers back to a CPM basis. For example, if the vendor quotes a fixed rate but your ad is one of four ads running in the ad space, ask for the total number of monthly impressions for the page that you are considering advertising on, divide the number of impressions by four, then work it back to a cost per thousand.

The next thing to keep in mind when comparing ads is placement. You want to compare apples to apples. You also want to stay away from ad space below the fold unless the price is considerably lower. Once you have an understanding of pricing from the various vendors, develop a short list and ask them if they have any remnant inventory or if they can discount the pricing. The bottom line is if you want to make display advertising work for lead generation, not brand building, you can’t pay rate card pricing.

After you have negotiated the best possible price, you want to work on your creative. Start by reviewing the competition. Many of your competitors may be running ads that they have already tested and are working well for them. Look for trends in what the market may be responding to. If you have tested messaging and creative for the same audience through other channels, try to test similar messaging that has worked in the past. Start with two different ads with only a single element that is different and split test two ads. You want to make sure that you are learning what works and what does not.

A great example of testing is when we were marketing a product to the engineering audience. We tested an animated banner versus a static, single frame ad, with the same message. Which one do you think won? If you guessed the static ad, you are right. This does not mean that animated banners do not work. It just shows that sometimes less is better and you don’t know until you test. We also tested innovation versus tradition and heritage in terms of look and feel. Heritage beat innovation and there was no way for us to know without testing. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say, that I thought the innovative look and feel looked considerably better from a design perspective, but it simply did not produce an optimal result.

So now you have negotiated a great price. You have developed multiple ads and tested them. What else should you look at? The answer is your landing page. Whether you are driving the traffic to a landing page (squeeze page) or Website, you want to ensure that it is converting at the highest rate possible. So how do you achieve this? The same way you do with banner ads, split test and don’t give up. It’s a continuous process.

Lastly, don’t forget that you are selling something and you are telling a story. And it all starts from your advertising and your Website. If you have any questions regarding any of these steps, feel free to ask. We’d be happy to help!

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