An Overview of Display Advertising

Display advertising is one of the most effective ways of grabbing the attention of your customers and prospects through visual content and replacing or accompanying print media with Interactive Advertising. . Display advertisements use Flash, videos, images and other technologies to appear alongside any content published by a website. Display advertisements are also used for their effective customer reach.

Why display advertisement?

With a vast majority of users researching for brands online, display advertising constitutes an important marketing strategy that aims at engaging such users. Display advertisements can be used to accomplish several marketing goals such as creating brand awareness, delivering a message, driving traffic and even directly influencing the sale.

Also, display advertisements provide an opportunity for marketers to measure the return on investment as they can be easily monitored. This makes display advertising a desirable medium compared to the conventional cost per impression based advertisement campaigns.

Cost per click vs. Cost per impression

Cost per click advertisements are the ads that charge the advertiser based on the number of clicks their ads receive. Cost per click ads are used mainly for online marketing.

Cost per impression advertisements charge the advertiser based on the number of impressions the ad receives, i.e. the number of times the ad appears. Advertisers run these ads on conventional mass media.

The advertisement industry is a very competitive place. The traditional cost per impression based ad channels continue to be in vogue even though they do not offer the flexibility offered by cost per click based display ads. Many bigwigs of the consumer industry continue to use the traditional ad mediums. The traditional medium offers better avenues for gaining customer loyalty as opposed to the display ads. But there has been a massive resurgence in display ads in recent times, the reason being they provide opportunities to measure and analyze the costs and returns from the campaign.

Both the forms have some unique benefits – impression based ads help capture customer loyalty while the cost per click based ads help with analysis and planning.

Flexibility

Another important aspect that has popularized display ads is the flexibility that they offer. Display ads can be tweaked based on several parameters so that you get maximum benefit out of them. In this regard, you can create ads to select your target audience by:

Geo Targeting: The option of targeting your audience based on their geographic location.

Keywords: Targeting your audience with keywords suggested by Webmaster and other SEO tools.

Interests: Web browsers store users’ history of activity and this information can be leveraged to create ads targeted at your audience’s interests and likings.

Retargeting: Retargeting is a method where a cookie is placed on the browsers of all your visitors, and ads pertaining to your products and services are shown to them whenever they visit any other website.

Social Media: Many social media sites are now allowing businesses to display ads for site users. The vast user base of such online channels translates into greater visibility and brand awareness for the advertiser.

 

Is Your Website SEO Friendly?

Writing content for SEO is an art and a science.  Content writing for SEO requires a perfect blend of keywords mixed in an attractive and informative format.  It also calls for special understanding on the workings of search engines.

SEO friendly content is not meant only for search engines.

You must always remember while writing content for SEO that your primary targets are people. Always choose content that is engaging, relevant and helps your readers rather than content that is extremely good for SEO, but useless for anybody who reads it. The main aim of search engines is to provide quality content relevant to the keywords in a search query. If you take care of these things, you can successfully create a webpage that is optimized as well as informative. Always remember that well written content is always good for SEO but good SEO content need not be well written.

Here’s what you can do to make your site SEO friendly and useful

Avoid spam

You may use deceiving tactics and fool a search engine with irrelevant content that is rich in the right keywords. This is a short-term strategy and a black hat (unethical) SEO technique that can lead to your site eventually being banned by the likes of Google. On the other hand writing quality content that is attractive, relevant and rich in keywords can increase your site’s popularity while optimizing it for search engines.

Summarize at the beginning

This can help in two ways. Firstly it can help your visitors determine if your content is relevant. Secondly summarizing your content at the beginning increases the density of keywords right at the beginning, which is good for SEO. Also if your content is lengthy it can guide your visitors in a proper manner.

Links and lists

Lists help search engines read your content better and more easily. Lists also add a proper structure to your article in such a way that it pleases the eye.

Including links as a part of your content can be useful for both readers as well as search engines. It is always a good strategy to embed links pertaining to keywords included in your content rather than a vague call to action such as “click here” This does precious little for your SEO efforts, and many visitors may simply ignore it resulting in an increase in your bounce rate.

 

An Overview of Display Advertising

Display advertising is one of the most effective ways of grabbing the attention of your customers and prospects through visual content, replacing or accompanying print media with Interactive Advertising. . Display advertisements use Flash, videos, images and other technologies to appear alongside any content published by a website. Display advertisements are also used for their effective customer reach.

Why display advertisement?

 With a vast majority of users researching for brands online, display advertising constitutes an important marketing strategy that aims at engaging such users. Display advertisements can be used to accomplish several marketing goals such as creating brand awareness, delivering a message, driving traffic and even directly influencing the sale.

Also, display advertisements provide an opportunity for marketers to measure the return on investment as they can be easily monitored. This makes display advertising a desirable medium compared to the conventional cost per impression based advertisement campaigns.

Cost per click vs. Cost per impression

 Cost per click advertisements are the ads that charge the advertiser based on the number of clicks their ads receive. Cost per click ads are used mainly for online marketing.

Cost per impression advertisements charge the advertiser based on the number of impressions the ad receives, i.e. the number of times the ad appears. Advertisers run these ads on conventional mass media.

The advertisement industry is a very competitive place. The traditional cost per impression based ad channels continue to be in vogue even though they do not offer the flexibility offered by cost per click based display ads. Many bigwigs of the consumer industry continue to use the traditional ad mediums. The traditional medium offers better avenues for gaining customer loyalty as opposed to the display ads. But there has been a massive resurgence in display ads in recent times, the reason being they provide opportunities to measure and analyze the costs and returns from the campaign.

Both the forms have some unique benefits – impression based ads help capture customer loyalty while the cost per click based ads help with analysis and planning.

Flexibility

 Another important aspect that has popularized display ads is the flexibility that they offer. Display ads can be tweaked based on several parameters so that you get maximum benefit out of them. In this regard, you can create ads to select your target audience by:

Geo Targeting: The option of targeting your audience based on their geographic location.

Keywords: Targeting your audience with keywords suggested by Webmaster and other SEO tools.

Interests: Web browsers store users’ history of activity and this information can be leveraged to create ads targeted at your audience’s interests and likings.

Retargeting: Retargeting is a method where a cookie is placed on the browsers of all your visitors, and ads pertaining to your products and services are shown to them whenever they visit any other website.

Social Media: Many social media sites are now allowing businesses to display ads for site users. The vast user base of such online channels translates into greater visibility and brand awareness for the advertiser.

 

What are the Latest Trends in Interactive Marketing?

Diligent marketers are always on the lookout for new trends they can leverage to improve their marketing efforts. In the process they also contribute their own trends to the market.

A recent study by a Forrester Research Inc. company reveals the following:

  • Mobile marketing is growing at twice its average rate and will surpass social media and email advertising in 2012.
  • Search engine marketing is going to be the largest category in interactive marketing.
  • Companies are adding interactive marketing staff and are becoming more customer centric.
  • Many companies are cutting traditional marketing budgets to spend money on interactive marketing. As a result, interactive marketing is expected to grow from an annual 18% of  budget  to 35% of their marketing budgets by 2016.

Additional trends that are influencing interactive marketing are mentioned below.

Display marketing

  • Better measurement: Attribution models have made it easier to measure branding influence. As a result spending on online media is increasing.
  • Online video: Online videos have proliferated, helped in part by the abundance of video players. It is expected to contribute to increased consumer usage.
  • Media buys based on performance are increasing: Marketers are favoring the easy measurement and immediacy of pay-per-click marketing over other impression linked buys.

Search marketing

  • More inventory: More and more consumers are using search engines. Marketers are using longer keywords. As a result the number of searches for sale has gone up. New Google inventories are coming up and advertisers will soon be able to place their ads on many more sites.
  • SEO spending increasing: Paid searches are turning to be more expensive than SEO. As a result companies will continue to invest in SEO.
  • Bigger, smarter search programs: 80% of marketers have embraced paid searches and SEO.  And the number is growing. More than 2/3rds are managing search programs with help from outsourced partners and advanced tools. Marketers are expanding their efforts into more businesses and markets.

Social media

  • Better understanding of social media: New social media measurement tools have made their debut and marketers are improving how they reach, engage and target consumers through social media.

Mobile marketing

  • Increasing usage of mobile data: Devices are improving and applications are proliferating. This means more people are going to use internet enabled mobile phones, presenting a golden opportunity for marketers.
  • Marketers are investing in building targeted applications instead of the broader applications out in the marketplace .
  • Email marketing costs have been showing a steady decline.

What is Interactive Marketing?

There was a time when the only option company’s  had was the traditional push marketing model, forcing their offerings on people through print and other forms of media to consumers who were more often not likely to buy them. Now with the advent of the pull marketing model, we see a change in the way businesses are approaching their marketing campaigns. The strategy, in this case, is to go after an audience that is actually interested in what the company has to offer.

Interactive (pull) marketing has become the preferred solution to traditional (push) marketing, and for good reason. We know marketing is the art and science of connecting with customers. Interactive marketing goes a bit further. It is the process of connecting with customers to facilitate a conversation with them, and to react or change depending on how the customer acts.

It is important to note that interactive marketing is different from online marketing. It can be safely said that online marketing is a component of interactive marketing. Like the former, interactive marketing also leverages the power of the internet to get its job done.

Take Amazon.com for example 

The company is an excellent example for how interactive marketing can be used to connect with customers. When customers search for a product, the site records those preferences. Based on these preferences and recent purchases if any, customers are shown recommendations that match their selections. What would you do as a customer in such a case? You may go through some of the recommendations and if they strike a chord with you and maybe go ahead and make a purchase. What the company did was turn a single purchase into an avenue to promote more purchases.

Companies and business have realized how effective interactive marketing can be and they treasure this ability. IM is also called trigger based marketing, because you are reacting to customers, in effect they trigger action on your part. Surprisingly, it is this function that makes it more effective than traditional marketing.

How can you use interactive marketing to engage customers more personally?

The good news is interactive marketing is applicable to all businesses. Some examples where IM can be used are B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer), high/low transaction businesses, prospect management and customer management. There are various approached to IM; here are the commonest (and popular) ones.

  1. Leveraging social networks – Use tools like Google Alert to identify blog posts and online discussions related to your service/product. You can then provide your input on the same and post links back to your website.
  2. Website visits – A great way to bring in new business is to create a website that is tailored to your target demographics’ likes and dislikes. Look to Amazon and Yahoo for inspiration!
  3. Conversational emails – Never underestimate the power of conversational emails. Identify customer interests and have a follow-up system in place that keeps the conversation flowing till the transaction has taken place.

Mobile marketing – promoting your offerings through SMSs – is also an interactive marketing technique that you can consider.

Times are changing for small business marketers, to succeed you need to stay on top of the trends, test and see what works for your business.

Interactive Marketing “Best Practices”

The number of companies adopting web-centric business models is increasing. As such, the internet has become an important avenue for brand expression and customer interactions. But it is also true that though many businesses are investing in driving website traffic, they are not getting the expected results. The reasons are many – low conversions, unsatisfied site visitors and high abandonment rates. But there is good news yet.

These problems can be tracked by technologies and solutions that already exist, and with their aid you can segment customers, target offers and content effectively and test marketing strategies for effectiveness/relevance on an ongoing basis.

Some interactive marketing practices that will help you gain an edge are;

  1. Develop dynamic websites and manage them well
  1. Assemble targeting rules and customer segments.
  1. Deploy/deliver site navigation and targeted content automatically.
  1. Track behavior of visitors to your site
  1. Analyze how effective your content and campaigns are
  1. Make adjustments and improve experiences online incrementally.

Other interactive marketing practices to consider? 

  • Multimedia: By using different communication channels and touch points you become more accessible to your customers. It is not a fire-and-forget execution. It is a long term strategy that enhances and reinforces brand experiences. With the aid of the opportunities that media provides you can create brand messages that are pervasive and easy to recall.
  • Personalize: One of the most useful aspects of interactive marketing is the possibility of creating user experiences that are unique. Think about this. One person can look at a website at the same time as another and yet have different experiences. On websites, personalization has come to be expected and in interactive ads, personalization is what makes the ad unique.
  • Tell a story and enhance usability: All good advertising tell stories. But the art lies in telling stories in a short period. Anything you create online should be user friendly and intuitive. A designer may find it difficult to see defects in his/her creation; this is where a user interface expert can help.
  • Include an offer they “can’t refuse”: If you are running an interactive ad, then include compelling offers. Offers add excitement and improve response in interactive ads.
  • Let your customers help promote your brand: One interesting development in brand affinity and personalization is that users are advertising brands inadvertently. Now, anyone with quality video editing software and a digital camera can make their own commercials. By making amateur commercials and uploading them on video sharing sites, consumers actually help in promoting brands.

Mobile Marketing – 2011 and Beyond

There are various reasons why mobile marketing will continue to rise in the next few years (the Mobile Marketing Association predicts mobile marketing spend will rise 124% from 2010 to 2011):

• Smartphone Hardware / software. Improvements in the hardware / software of the smartphone itself (i.e. faster processers, more memory, better operating systems, more apps – allowing for more functionality and better user experience).
• Smartphone Users. Many more people will be using smartphones (Nielson predicts that by the end of 2011, there will be more smartphones than feature phones in the US – a jump from making up about 10% of mobile devices in general in 2008 to about 50% in 2011).
• Social media environment. Mobile is well suited to social media
• Mobile technology/platforms/channels. Certain mobile technologies/platforms/channels will come of age / just continue to grow in importance. See below.

Location-based Marketing
In location-based marketing, marketers are able to reach mobile phone users via GPS and location-based technology – basing their marketing efforts on the location of mobile users. Not only that, but they can refine what they communicate based on knowledge they already have on the user. This all leads to: relevant marketing, on-the-spot marketing opportunities, as well as various creative possibilities in which to communicate to audiences.
We’ve already seen the success of location-based social network sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla. On top of this, Facebook has introduced its location-based Places, Twitter has introduced geolocation, Apple has introduced its iAd (that includes the ability to target users based on location), Google has acquired AdMob (that includes location-based advertising capability), and more. Lastly, the Mobile Marketing Association has published the results of a survey in which “26 percent of that group has used a “map, navigation or some other mobile phone service that automatically determines your current location.”
Looks like geo-location marketing is going to big.

Augmented Reality
In augmented reality, an image of reality is modified in some way to create an altered image. Depending on the creative team behind a campaign using augmented reality, augmented reality can be used in a variety of ways. Nike used it with great success in their treasure hunt campaign to promote the launch of the sportswear giant’s T90 soccer shoe in 2008. Geoffrey Handley of The Hyperfactory (mobile marketing agency), Hong Kong wrote after the huge success of this campaign: “The 3D augmented reality is really taking mobile a step further. .. With all this digital and 3D stuff, you get this little sticker that unlocks a journey into this augmented world, It wasn’t all about selling a shoe. It’s making Nike an innovative brand, unusual and different.” More recently (2010), there have been successes such as: Stella Artois Le Bar Guide, Layar Browser, We Are Autobots, and more. Looks like augmented reality is going to increase in importance, and a particularly useful tool for people in branding.

Apps
Apps are playing a key role in the success of the mobile industry in general. Gartner predicts the mobile app market will increase from $6.8 million in 2010 to $29.5 billion by 2013. IDC believes Apple’s iPhone will have 300,000 apps will have available by year-end.
But apps are, also, important in mobile marketing. Firstly, advertising within apps. Advertising within apps is predicted to be worth $0.6 billion, worldwide, in 2010. And, secondly, branding (i.e. brand-sponsored apps). Many brands have had great success with brand apps. However, increasingly, companies are considering mobile websites instead of apps (unless they have the marketing budget for both). There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Certainly, branded apps will remain important in certain situations i.e. for enhancing user experience of the brand – but success, here, will depend very much on the creative and marketing thinking behind the app.

Barcodes / QR Codes
Mobile (2D) bar codes contain information that can be picked up by mobile phones. The information can be used for a range of marketing purposes (promotions, to activate downloads, discount vouchers, and more). Bar codes can be strategically placed in public areas adding an extra dimension to existing marketing channels i.e. product display, promotions display, adverts, and so on).
QR Codes are the most popular kind of mobile barcode.

SMS
Text message advertising has been around for a while. It’s always, potentially, been attractive to marketers because of its various marketing purposes (promotions, alerts, voting, coupons, and more), can be relatively cheap with relatively good ROI (compared with emails, for example), and more, and has a less spammy reputation than email because of the tight anti-spam regulations in the mobile industry.

SMS Shortcodes. SMS Short Code numbers are short and easy-to-remember SMS Text numbers. They are displayed on many different types of media. This enables marketers to provide product information, promote products, send audiences a link to a mobile site and more.

Spotlight Idea
http://spotlightideas.co.uk/?p=4219

Ten Steps to Doubling Print Advertising ROI With Digital Marketing

Advertise With Greater Confidence Knowing You’re Maximizing Your Response Rates

“Half my advertising money is wasted. The problem is that I don’t know which half”, said William Lever, founder of Lever Soap Company back in 1886. Sadly, well over a century later, it’s estimated that 50 percent of advertising budgets are still wasted on programs that don’t produce a meaningful response. Yet, marketing executives are being held increasingly accountable to deliver greater, more predictable, and measurable returns on investment from their advertising spend, according to Forrester Research.

While some marketers grow increasingly frustrated with declines in response rates to their traditional print advertising and shifting their focus to digital channels, others have discovered how to “crack the code” and are achieving new highs in response rates and returns on investment through properly integrating the offline and online channels. This guide aims to provide the practical, yet frequently overlooked, tips and critical action steps to dramatically increase the response rates and maximize the returns on investment from print advertisements.

1. With so many distractions today, capturing customers’ attention with an ad has become as much science as art. While a great picture can tell a thousand words, studies show that wondering eyes automatically gravitate more towards pictures than words. Use a relevant, high contrast image that supports your core message. So don’t make your audience “work” – read more than is absolutely necessary. Use a picture whenever possible to enhance your offer. Pictures of people and smiling faces are very  effective.

2. If your image succeeds in capturing your readers’ attention, the rest of your ad copy must gain and keep their interest – that’s where your headline plays a pivotal role. Think of your headline as “an ad for your ad”. Its sole purpose is to captivate your audience and “sell” them on reading the rest of your ad copy. Eyes automatically gravitate towards large, bold text. Therefore, be sure your headline stands out from the rest of the ad copy. Focus on your offer’s key benefits. Most readers are “skimmers” and will make a split-second decision about whether or not to keep reading. A “skimmer” should be able to get the “gist” of what the ad is about by the picture and headline (and subtitles if applicable). Books have been written on the topic of writing effective headlines. Refer to a few and them by your side for creative inspiration.

3. Readers are “skimmers”. Avoid long, small-type paragraphs. Instead, bullet out your offer’s benefits whenever possible. Newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are written at an 8th grade level to make the content easier to consume. So present your offer’s benefits in an easy-to-digest manner. Use color and call-outs to deliver the most relevant points.

4. If your ad succeeds at capturing your audience’s attention and interest, be sure to provide a clear, concise call-to-action; tell them what to do next. Don’t leave it up to them to guess what they should do next. If you want them to call a phone number or visit a website, say so. And be sure to include the benefit of doing so. An extra incentive  can instantly increase response rates. For example  by applying an expiration date to your CTA, you can instill a sense of urgency and further increase response. If you’re selling flowers, for example, your CTA might be to visit your website and offer a coupon code with an expiration date.

5. Providing readers multiple options to respond to your ad can not only dramatically increase your overall response rates but also increase the value of your response. A Direct Marketing Association study found that customers who buy from two channels (vs. just one) are between 20 and 60% more valuable, while triple-channel buyers are 60-125% more valuable. Ads that provide readers the option to respond by calling a phone number or by visiting a web page tend to get higher responses than identical ads that offer only a single option.

6. Displaying your main company phone number in your ad is sure-fire way to keep yourself guessing about the performance of your ad. Instead, use unique phone numbers with call tracking. By assigning a unique number to each of your ads, you can accurately test and measure which ads generate the best response. You can view reports to analyze the data and adjust your advertising to increase the overall ROI. This is critically important for new ad campaigns.

7. Most advertisers today already get it. Displaying a website address in a print ad increases response rates. But where many ads fall short is by display the link to their website home page. For better results you can measure and repeat, drive customers to a unique web page, specifically designed to complement your ad, also known as a “landing page” or “micro site” using a personalized URL, or “PURL”. This method is proven to provide a better user experience and increase conversion rates. Sending customers to your home page and making them hunt through your website for the offer they’re interested in is a sure way to aggravate them and lose sales.

8. Studies have shown that the majority of prospects don’t convert into customers the first time they’re exposed to a brand, product or service. Conversions increase over time as prospects are repeatedly exposed to an offer. Since the majority of visitors to your landing page won’t immediately convert, provide an incentive that gains you their contact information.

8. Assuming 5 percent of visitors to your landing page immediately convert and another 10% take advantage of an incentive and share their contact information, you’re building a highly valuable database of prospects and customers. Nurturing those prospects with routine email offers further increases conversions over time – effectively increasing the ROI from your print ad.

9. The saying, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” doesn’t ring more true when it comes to direct response advertising. Create variations of your offer using live A/B tests to determine the best response. You might determine mid-campaign that one version of your landing page is clearly outperforming the other and redirect all traffic to the winner to maximize conversions. To make all this possible you must, of course, properly install and configure a web analytics program and understand how to interpret the data. Using PURLs, you can clearly see how visitors behave; how long they stay, where they click, how many convert, etc.  – providing you the hard data you need to eliminate the guess work.

10. Properly analyzing the data contained in web analytics and performance reports will clearly indicate how visitors respond to a given offer and interact with the content. This valuable insight can then be confidently applied to the design of future print ads to incrementally improve response rates and maximize advertising ROI.

While any one of the above tactics can produce immediate measurable results, you can expect the greatest positive impact from a comprehensive approach. I hope you’ll gain value from this guide and that you’ll advertise with greater confidence.

AIS Media Feb 10 2011
http://www.aismedia.com/press/10-steps-to-doubling-print-advertising-roi-with-digital-marketing/