Guest Blog: Online Advertising and How to Use it Wisely

Advertising online takes a few forms. The most common are:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Banner ads
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Advertising

Pay Per Click (PPC) is the most popular form of online advertising. Using a complex algorithm called “contextual advertising,” whereby ads are selected and served by ad servers based on the search results displayed to the user. The largest PPC service is Google AdWords. Yahoo! and Bing (Microsoft) offer similar services.

Simply put, when you set up a PPC campaign you decide on the keywords you want to sponsor and you tell Google (or Yahoo! or Bing) how much you are willing to pay every time somebody clicks to your website. And you can also set a daily budget that restricts the number of clicks you get every day to your maximum budget. The problem is that this can get quite expensive and yield little in return. A strategy has to be developed that targets your audience while being as economical as possible. That means understanding in depth how the system works and how to control your exposure for maximum ROI.

In the case of Google AdWords Google’s philosophy is to provide web users with the best search results. This means that they want to display the most appropriate ads corresponding to each search, even if the best results do not pay them the highest pay-per-click fee. AdWords must therefore be written with keywords that correspond to the keywords on the page they point to. To best accomplish this it is best to create a “landing page” rich with the targeted keyword for each AdWord. But beware that Google hates spam. The landing page keywords must be relevant to the rest of your website!

Google recently released a version of AdWords specifically for SMEs looking for overseas clients. Called Google AdWords for Global Advertisers, the service allows you to find out what your AdWords cost in any country in the world and how much click traffic those keywords get. And, in addition, Google translates your AdWords with a human translator so that you reach the best possible targets! Look at this video that explains it all.

Banner ads, those small, sometimes annoying, graphics you see on websites and sometimes even opening up as a short Flash movie, are the oldest advertising format on the web. Similar to buying an ad in a print publication, buying a banner ad on a Website means paying a set fee for having your ad appear for a set period of time. The trick to effective banner advertising is to identify websites and blogs that are specific to your product or service. Often these ads are quite inexpensive and can be quite effective.

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