The Advertiser’s Playbook: Online Advertising Overview

Thought online advertising meant just web versions of print ads? Think again!

Although print advertising is still effective, it’s important to tap into the new world of online advertising, since this is the prime source of information for some market segments.  And, research from various sources (Nielson, MRI, eMedia Strategist, and our own analysis of media kits and publication data over the years) repeatedly shows there’s minimal overlap between people that get their information from the web and those that obtain it from print, so if you want to reach your entire target audience, you need to use both advertising channels.

Online advertising takes many forms – e-newsletters, banner ads, webinars, white papers, virtual trade shows, videos, podcasts, social media, pay per click…the list goes on.  With all the technology available, an advertisement can be much more than just words or an image.  Online ads can incorporate motion and sound—something a print magazine ad is incapable of doing.

Online Advantages
A major advantage to online advertising is accessibility.  Unlike print, where the ad reaches only a certain amount of people, online ads have virtually no limit and can reach anyone in the world around the clock. Long after the advertisement is posted it can continue to brand your product or company.

Online advertising also provides something print advertising could rarely deliver: information about the people who are actually responding…clicking on your ads, downloading your whitepapers and tuning in to your webinars. While print advertising can provide you with circulation data and readership details, it can’t provide the names and contact information for the last 10 people who really, actually viewed your information (though the amount of data provided varies by publication).

Website Ads
Web ads are what people tend to picture when thinking about online advertising. They are the equivalent of a print ad and are typically one of the first online ventures a company makes. Just like a high frequency print ad campaign, web ads have great branding power. Advertising on a publication’s website can bring more than just branding though; it can provide traceable leads to your website, while costing less than a traditional print campaign. And remember: web ads don’t have to be strictly text ads.

Read the post “Lead Management: The Weak Link between Marketing and Sales” for more info.

Eletter Ads and Eblasts
Targeted emails, be it through a publication’s e-newsletter or your own email blast, have the potential to reach a great amount of interested people. One of the most popular avenues to get to a website is by clicking a link in an email, especially if the email comes from a source the reader already knows, loves and trusts. Email lists can be customized to your target audience and are typically less expensive than a direct mail campaign that requires additional funds for printing and mailing resources. Email blasts also don’t need to be just text. Flash and video ads provide more content in the same amount of space as a text ad.

Article Postings
One thing that is sometimes forgotten when talking about online advertising is posting articles, such as whitepapers, case histories, application notes or any other style. While these items are clearly not ads, they work as such and are invaluable lead generation tools. People searching publication websites are hungry for articles that are of actual significance to them. Article posts provide the reader with valuable content, while providing the advertiser with valuable information at the same time. Data gathered from article postings can tell you the specific products or applications in which readers are interested.

Webinars, Pod Casts, Tech Casts and More
Like article postings, webinars and other types of web videos provide valuable content to a reader while supplying data to the advertiser. In addition to providing leads, this type of online advertising can help the person or company stand out as an expert in the subject area not only with potential clients, but also with the publications. When publications see you as an expert, they might seek you out for input on feature articles, additional webinars or other publicity opportunities that will strengthen your expert status.

Social Media
A little newer to the online marketing repertoire, social media is quickly gaining ground. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and blogs continue to blur the line between the socializing or networking world and the B2B marketing world. It’s no longer uncommon to find a company business page on Facebook or follow company news through Twitter or a blog. Social media sites are user-friendly, highly accessible and easily updated… things that made them popular as the social sites they started out as a few years ago.

In addition to the business pages on Twitter and fan pages on Facebook, companies can run ads on social media websites to generate greater attention (…think affinity groups on LinkedIn!).  As these venues become acceptable forms of business communication, the sites will provide a new outlet for advertisers looking to target a specific group of people.

Read the post “Mixing in Social Media” for more info.

Paid Search Marketing
Paid search marketing, or pay-per-click (PPC), works in a similar way to how social media sites target specific audiences. By paying for your ad to appear only when specified keywords are typed into the search field on Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines, advertisements are now highly targeted to exact customers interested in what you have to offer. The content of the ads and the keywords in a paid search campaigns can be easily updated as needed (like social media sites, these settings are in the control of the advertiser).

Perhaps the best asset of PPC marketing is that it is one of the few marketing options where you have complete control over the monthly, weekly, and even daily, amount of money spent on your campaign, versus other advertising options where the publication or website determines the price for an ad placement or a whitepaper posting. There is no minimum budget requirement—you can set your limit for just $5 a day if you want—nor is there a restriction against changing the budget during any stage of the campaign.

Paid search also has the ability to generate an expansive amount of impressions and clicks that can be tracked to conversions (if your campaign is set up for it). Using Google Analytics (which is free!) to link to your Adwords campaign, for example, will provide you with the increased ability to track the true success of your marketing efforts.

Read the post “Analyzing Google Analytics” for more info.

Customization and results analysis are key to any campaign. Different marketing objectives – branding, lead generation or clickthroughs, for example – require different combinations of available tactics. Online and print opportunities have varied, and valid, purposes.

The constant adaptation of ideas to new online venues has given advertisers more options and ultimately more customizability. And it’s all continuing to expand. When starting a new campaign, be sure to research all the available avenues to make sure you’re employing the best technique for your marketing objectives.

If you’re not sure, give us a call…we can help!

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