Raising revenue and awareness of your Web site is a common problem for most Web site owners. One of the more common methods is to use banner advertising.
Banner ads are the boxed ads often seen at the top of a Web page. These might be text that changes every few seconds, ads for a specific site or product, free offers, or a combination of eye-catching devices or phrases advertisers hope will tempt Web surfers to click on the ad.
Since the Nasdaq downturn there has been a reassessment of online marketing strategies. As a result, banner ads have become far less popular.
Apart from the fact that banner ads are expensive to create and maintain, research shows that online viewers are more likely to click on to a textual link than an obvious advertisement.
This does not mean that banner ads should not be considered, or that they do not work.
On the contrary, if you create a good ad, and place it where it will be seen, it will definitely generate traffic to your site. Likewise, having a banner ad on your own site will mean that you are paid for displaying it. Both are good for your business.
How are banner ads charged?
The most common way banner ads are charged is by impression. This means that you pay for each time your particular ad flashes up on the screen. In a rotating banner, your ad might appear every third rotation or impression. This will cost approximately $0.02 an impression.
Alternatively, banner ads can be charged per “click through”. This usually costs considerably more as charges are only levied when someone actually clicks on the ad itself. Recent research indicates that typically less than one percent of people exposed to the ad will actually click through.
More and more companies, however, are paying for banner ads on click throughs, rather than by impression, as they know people are actually going to their site. Obviously, if you decide that a banner ad will benefit your business you will need to create one that is really eye-catching and attractive.
You may decide that it is worth paying to have a really effective one created. In this case, you could pay upwards of $1500 to have one designed. On top of this, you will have to budget for an ongoing banner ad campaign, where your ad is placed on some of the better positions on the Web. You will also have to consider which Web sites will give you the most exposure to your target market.
Where to position your banner ads?
The optimum position for banner ads would have to be at the top of the most popular search engines, and Yahoo! in particular. Unfortunately, this is very expensive. With this sort of exposure, however, your ad will generate far more traffic than from a cheaper but less popular site.
When you have your banner ad placed on other sites, make sure it is positioned on sites with topics similar or complementary to yours. This will help place your ads before your target market. Additionally, if applicable, insist that your banner ad, or link, appears on the same page as any reference to your Web site.
Likewise, you can pay to have your ad appear on a search engine results page when particular keywords are selected. Again this will help expose your ad to your target market. In this case, costs depend on the popularity of the keywords you nominate.
To determine the cost-effectiveness of your banner ads, you take the total cost of running the ads and divide this by the number of people who clicked through on the ad. Obviously, it is better to have a low cost per click through than a high one.
Similarly, in order to work out if this advertising is benefiting your business, divide the total cost by the number of new customers. This will tell you what it is costing you to attract each new customer, and you can compare the value of this against your offline store ads.
Bear in mind, however, that a well-designed site will attract repeat visits from customers. They might originally have come through a banner ad, but your content will keep them coming back.
Displaying banner ads on your site
Displaying other companies’ ads on your site may seem like a winning situation. You are paid for having an ad on one or more of your pages. However, clicking on these ads will take your visitor away from your site, perhaps never to return! There are ways of getting around this, one of which is the position of the banner on your site!
When placing your own ad on another site, it is preferable that your ad is right at the top of the page where it will be seen as the page opens. However, when it comes to your own site, it is better to position banner ads lower down the page so that the banner will be noticed after your site has been thoroughly scanned!
You will have to think carefully about this as you can charge more for banners that are placed in prime positions. And of course, your advertisers may not be happy with an ad at the bottom of a page.
Framing banner ads
Depending on your Web site budget, you should consider having the advertised site framed within your own site.
Framing allows another site to open, but it is still contained within your site. Alternatively, you can make the banner ads open up a new browser window when it is clicked on to.
The beauty of this is that you do not lose your customers altogether. Your visitors will revert back to your site when they close down the second browser window.
However, you will need to manually program this or have a professional Web designer do it. Additionally, if you are framing a site, you will have to ask permission first.