The tetchy world of online advertising has mirrored its offline godfathers quite amicably, although many different ‘unwritten rules’ have evolved over the life of online marketing. To bring the current state of online advertising abreast for the layman, we bring you this brief tutorial which lays the foundation of online marketing, exposes the components within the realm, and how things are tracked.
Take notes if you feel compelled.
The concept of online advertising
There are many options available for businesses when marketing online, yet the basic concept involves displaying an advertising to potential clients, whether in an email, in text format, image format, animated format or video format. Before launching an advertising campaign, it is necessary to create the required advertisements. Recently, computer giant IBM claims to have patented online advertising which really doesn’t matter since, of course, IBM doesn’t sell such services.
Advertising creation is another completely different facade in itself, and therefore this subject will also need to be analyzed in another article. Each advertising platform holds different formats of advertising; for example, search engines such as Google do not display image based advertising on their search engine, and so text based advertising must be used with Google.
Online advertising, like offline messages, come in many different shapes and sizes; a list and explanation is given below:
- Plain Text – These are typically found on search engines, they are made up often of up to 30 words.
- Animated Images – These come in various shapes and sizes, and are made up of a number of different slides, providing an animated effect.
- Rich HTML – These are advertising that have a form within them, for example, the advertising could say “enter your age and click here”. The data the user then entered is then utilized on the landing page of the advertising.
- Video Advertising – These have become more popular on the internet since broadband (high speed) internet became available. They come in two formats, either as a fairly small advertising type video or as a trailer to another video, such as a trailer before a video on YouTube.
Targeting methods in online advertising
Online advertising offers some unique tools compared to offline advertising, these types of targeting of users are outlined below:
- Non-Targeted – These are online advertising methods which do not have any specific audience and are shown to random people. This is the cheapest form of advertising. Much of this advertising used to be in the form of “pop up” advertisings. This form of advertising has now subsided after much protection build into web browsers, however, it is still available.
- Keyword Targeted – Keyword targeting is when online advertising is displayed when a user searches using a word (Keyword). This is often in a search engine such as Google although it sometimes is available through other methods such as though a search facility on a website, such as a music website. This is rated as one of the best methods of advertising as an advertising can target users based on what they are searching for. For example, the search engine displays an advertising for a logo design company when a user searches using the keyword “logo design”. This is clearly a more effective method of delivering ads instead of just showing a random advertising that the user is likely to have no interest in.
- Content Based – Content based advertisements are ads targeted based upon the website content. The primary provider of this technology is Google via its AdSense program. This allows website owners to place a few lines of code onto their website and Google’s AdSense system will automatically add and track relevant advertisements to the user’s website. For example, should the website be about football, football advertisements related to football products will be displayed.
- Interest Based – Interest based results is a popular technology on social networking websites such as Facebook. When users setup their account they set information such as their hobbies and interests. This information is then utilized by Facebook to offer advertising pros the opportunity to target users with interests such as “swimming” or “Cycling”. Additionally the facilities can be utilized to target users based upon demographics such as their age, gender, or location and education level.
One of the best features of online advertising is the extensive tracking abilities for advertising campaigns. What this means is the company paying for the advertisement can track exactly how many sales were generated from any single ad placement. This is done by assigning a unique tracking ID to every advertising campaign.
This tracking ID (called a variable) can then be accessed at the company’s website’s checkout. When recording the entire customer’s personal details such as delivery address, this variable is also stored. This then tells the company that the order originated from the Facebook or Google advertisement.
Each platform and campaign will ultimately have a maximum advertising limit per day. For example, in an offline environment such as a local newspaper, there are only a limited number of adverts that a company can pay for on any given day. For example, an advertiser could perhaps spend a maximum of $5,000 per day in a local newspaper, yet if the company reaches this limit it has to look for another avenue to advertise. The same is true for online ad placements, although due to the nature of the internet much larger spending is required to read the maximum spending limit.
Although it is commonly presumed that spreading adverting across many platforms is often wiser, this is usually done to spread risk due to the uncertainty in advertising, however, if a suitable scientific marketing technique can be devised, this could easily change.