The In’s and Out’s of Advertising Online

Online Advertising TipsAfter a bit of discussion in the comments of another article (Advertorial Publicity, A Tale of Cowboy Love) about the benefits of online advertising, we thought it would be useful to follow up with a more comprehensive look at the in’s and out’s of online advertising. There are many ways to advertise with paid ad placements for your business online. With a comprehensive approach you can ensure regular and well targeted traffic gets to you in addition to the traffic you get from natural search results.

Types of Advertising

  • List on Tourism Websites – We’ve been discussing this option in the article “Which Tourism websites perform the best for you“.
  • Google Adwords – This can be particularly effective because not only can you bid to have your ad appear on the top of google search results for relevant search phrases, your ad can also appear on the Google Adwords content network. The content network is made up of websites who place google ads in their websites to earn advertising revenues (this product is called Adsense) and so your ad will appear in relevant pages on sites like Tripadvisor and a huge range of other travel related websites.
  • Facebook ads – This can work really well in conjunction with your Facebook Page as a way to gather more fans to your page in a targeted way or to your website directly. You can specify the demographics and location of those who you wish to see your ads.
  • The budget you set for both Google Adwords and Facebook is flexible with the ability to set daily budgets and the amount you are willing to pay per click.
  • Place ads direct on popular websites that reach your target market – e.g For targeting domestic travellers you may consider news websites like Stuff, NZ Herald etc. This can be more expensive as it is sought after online real estate but certainly also guaranteed with a high number of ad impressions.

Measurement of Online Advertising

Some things to consider if you are advertising online are the way the advertising is measured, a few key ad measurement criteria are:

  • Ad Impressions – this is basically the number of “page views” your ad has had so gives you a good idea of the overall exposure the ad has had during the placement.
  • Clicks – this is how many “clicks” there have been on your ad that have led to your website (or the link you provided for the ad landing page), so a direct measure of how many that saw your ad were interested enough to click on it.
  • Click through rate (CTR) – this is the percentage of clicks from the ad impressions so you can see how effective your ad has been with the target market it was exposed to. Different ads and formats will attract different CTR’s e.g a special offer with a call to action is likely to have a higher CTR than a simple brand ad.
  • Apart from these measurements usually provided by the publishers, you can also track results yourself with a look at your traffic sources from your website statistics and if the ad is campaign specific you can also measure the results in terms of booking value generated to work out your return on investment.

How Online Advertising is Charged

This can vary a lot between different publishers and it has it’s own set of unique terminology, here are some of the main forms of charging for ad space:

  • Paying per click (CPC or PPC) – this is a common approach with large ad networks such as google and facebook that offer broad exposure, essentially you are only paying for each time someone clicks on your ad, no clicks = no cost.
  • Paying for Impressions (CPM) – this is a charge per 1000 impressions, this helps to ensure a minimum number of views/impressions for your ad are achieved.
  • Paying for Time – this may be a cost per day, per week or per month for example for your ad to appear in the ad spot you select.
  • Share of Views (SOV) – some advertisers may give you the option for how often your ad will appear in the ad spot you book. This is achieved by rotating ads as a page is refreshed, so you may opt for 50% share of views or 100% for exclusivity for example.
  • Section Advertising or Sponsorships – comprehensive websites may offer the ability to advertise or sponsor relevant sections of their website such as the travel or destination section which can ensure a more targeted advertising placement.

Maximising Online Advertising

There are some really interactive and clever things you can do with online advertising to enhance your campaign and increase it’s performance, some tips include:

  • Make your ad interactive rather than just a static image, it could be a flash file with movement to attract attention or a video for example.
  • Ensure you include a call to action like “Book Now”, “Click Here”, “Enter Now” – this is a key advantage of online advertising because you can easily provide an instant way to enable the action through a simple click of the ad to the next step.
  • Create a special landing page on your website for the ad to click through to, this can be particularly useful if the ad is campaign focused with a special offer or a competition – that way when the ad is clicked on the relevant information appears straight away to encourage them to take that next step quickly e.g. enter their details for a competition or make a booking with the special offer.
  • Use viral marketing techniques to encourage the sharing of your promotion through social networking e.g a special offer ad may click through to a landing page that includes criteria to get them to follow your updates online and share your competition with others through Twitter or Facebook.
  • Make sure everyone in your team is aware of the advertising and particularly if there is a special offer or competition involved so the booking or sales process is simple should anyone contact you “offline”.

This is just a smidgeon of detail about online advertising but some good basics to help get you started. Have you got any stories or experiences to share about online advertising?

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