Buying Online Advertising

I've had a few questions related to buying online advertising lately, and it's occured to me that many still buy blindly without knowing what type of results to expect from an online ad campaign. Here are 5 buying tips that may help :
  1. If you're buying on a Flat Fee basis, first find out how much traffic the advertiser gets to the website themselves. Some good tools to determine how much traffic a website gets are Alexa and While these tools are far from perfect, they do give you a general idea of how popular a website is. Flat fee advertising should only be done short term (no shorter than a month) until you determine your cost per lead and find it's successfull. Don't commit long term to flat fee agreements - things can change quickly on the web and you don't want to be locked in. Legitimate companies usually allow you to cancel for any reason - but get it in writing.
  2. If you're buying a banner ad on a cost per thousand basis, keep in mind the following : A well targeted banner ad will get a 0.25% -0.40% clickthrouh rate. That translates to somewhere between 2.5 to 4 clicks per thousand banner exposures....and that's if it's targeted very well. Figure your cost per click costs from your cost per thousand visits(CPM) : if you're paying a $15 CPM - that's $3.75 to $6 a click. Paying just a $10 CPM and those click costs are $2.50 - $4.00. Find an opportunity to advertise at a $4 CPM and you'll be paying between $1 and 1.60 per click. My advice find CPM's of $4 or less and change your banner monthly, and whenever possible buy "behaviorally targeted ads".
  3. Cost per click advertising is the easiest and most risk-free form of online advertising. Advertising on banner networks at a fixed Cost Per Click (CPC) (as found on the BC under Marketing > Advertising), or on keyword advertising such as Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing makes getting solid results more predictable.
  4. Text based ads work better than pretty pictures. A good text ad can have a 1% -4% click through rate, while a 0.4% click through rate on a banner ad is notable. So, if you're building a brand, use banners, if you want immediate ROI use a text ad. A banner ad consisting of several text ads (looking similar to Google AdWords) is also a very strong and proven strategy in banner advertising.
  5. Test your creative - most advertisers will allow you to submit multiple ads and have tools to help you find out which one works best. You might be surprised to find that an ad you thought wouldn't work is working quite nicely.
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