09 September 2013, by A. Cedilla
When it comes to building your advertising strategy, you first go with clearly stating your goals. You want to people to be aware of your brand. You want more people to visit your website, and you want more of your visitors to buy from you and use your services. Generally, everything else falls under the purview of those three goals, things like: what kind of advertising to use – banners, text ads, page-peels, etc. and where to apply your chosen ad-types – the best websites for them, the specific type of site (newsgroup, banner exchange, etc.)
Your ads must align with your goals. You want people to remember your brand? An eye-catching banner posted on the most heavily visited sites for your target market can help with that, as well as help inform interested parties where to find you on the internet.
Something to keep in mind as you do this is that you need to have an idea of the people you want to reach with your advertising efforts. Who are they (demographics) and how many do you need to keep your business going? Are you doing mass-market products, and if so, where is the target mass located? Are you aiming for a small yet very lucrative pool of sailing enthusiasts? Is your service geared for homeowners, new mothers or comic-lovers? Are you locally based but ship worldwide? Do you cater to tourists?
Think of the people you make your products for. Where will you find them, how can you get to them, and how can you help them see your product will make some part of their life better?
You can find your target market in places that cater to the particular niche where you intersect as buyer and supplier– in the subject-specific newsgroups and forums, in popular authority sites and blogs…they’re looking for more information in the places where they can find it, and it’s up to you to meet them at those places and make yourself (i.e your brand, your products and-or your services) known to them. You don’t put banners about your sale on hunting gear on websites that cater to the vegan lifestyle. That’s a waste of time and your advertising budget.
You do have a budget, right? That’s another thing you have to keep in mind when you plan and execute your ad campaigns. Optimization isn’t just for search engines, it’s maximizing the effects of your efforts and getting the most out of your money. More bang for the buck doesn’t just apply to customers. For example, you can pool resources and join a banner exchange, where the participating websites display their banners on each others’ webpages.
Know The Numbers That Count
Hits are the number of times that another computer has accessed your site or accessed the files on your site. Hit count doesn’t equal visitor count. If your homepage has a lot of images, banners or media files on it, each time every one of those files is accessed by a foreign computer counts as a hit, so if I have, say, a sample gallery on my professional graphic artist’s homepage that’s composed of 4 lines of images made of 20 small icons each, one person accessing my page and letting it load completely on his computer can generate at least 80 hits in one go, also counting any other file like banners or sound-files that auto-play, for example.
Page views or impressions are what you call the event when a visitor views a banner ad. Banner ad rates are generally calculated by impressions. If you have 2 banners on a particular page and a visitor views the page twice, he generates four impressions.
Banners are the most commonly used forms of ads out there. They come in many sizes and are meant to catch the eye and entice the viewer to click on them — thereby redirecting the viewer to your website. Banners can be animated (moving graphics) or they can be static, just displaying specific information, like a visual ‘soundbyte’ about your business or products.
Banners are meant to be stepping stones to your site, and viewers ‘click-through’ them to get there. A banner visually cluttered with all your website details is unappealing, and trying to jam too much data in one image can make viewers gloss over the banner without another thought. Your logo and your tagline, attractively presented, is a good place to start.
What Are Your Options?
Static banners are plain, non-moving, non-animated images that stay on their webpage. Animated banners are the ones with movement, and such banners are usually in GIF format — think of a series of frames that, when viewed rapidly in sequence, make the image move. Rotating banners are banner ads that move through different pages on the same site, so a visitor might see several ads while remaining on the page. These banners are generally used in high-traffic Web sites. Scrolling banners, on the other hand, act similar to modern billboards, and the visitor views a number of ads, scrolling to reveal a different ad every 10 to 30 seconds.
Banner Ad Tips
- Design your banner to load quickly. Time is at a premium, and your target can click a way to a new page before your banner can fully load. A good target to aim for in terms of size is 5K
- Keep things simple — clutter, whether visual or ‘textual’ can be off-putting. Leave the sparkling background and psychedelic blinkies to the novices. Make sure your banner is readable.
- Use Alt tags for visitors who use the internet with their graphics turned off or can’t see your banner ad (for reasons organic and otherwise.)
- Make sure your banner ad links correctly to the right page in your website. Getting an error message when when you expect something else is a bad thing, and may be seen as signs of sloppiness.
- When you choose to employ animated banner ads, limit your ads to two to four frames. More frames bloat the size of the file, and can slow loading times.
- Always include a call to action, such as the common “Click here.” An interesting ad that just sits there looking pretty at the party isn’t any good. You have to invite the viewer to dance.
- Always check to see how your banner translates across different browsers and at different resolution to make sure they looked polished and professional.
We’ll continue next week with the more advanced banner ads.
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