How Online Advertising Campaigns Become Successful

By: Danny Wirken

Introduction

Since the Internet started, its user base has grown increasingly and boomed to unbelievably large numbers. With the increased traffic in the Internet, advertisers realized its potential as an advertising media. As time went on the power of the Internet as an advertising media became more evident as newer and improved models for online advertising emerged. Ads can be found everywhere in the net in the form of banner ads, pop ups, emails - both solicited and spam, in-text ads, and inline ads.

With the new ways and means of advertising in the Internet, businesses are turning to it to launch and supplement traditional advertising campaigns and even as the sole medium for their ad campaign. Some businesses, however, still balk at launching full scale advertising campaigns online. This is understandable, especially for those who have no previous experience with online campaigns. It is after all very expensive to launch ad campaigns and it is better to be careful when planning to spend such large amounts of cash to ensure that the campaign will bring about a substantial return of investment (ROI). There are ways though to ensure that your advertising campaign will be successful.

Set Goals

In an article by Melissa Honabach on Secrets to Optimizing an Online Campaign that a business needs to set and communicate their relevant goals before planning and starting an as campaign. An important aspect in setting goals is being able to identify what you want the advertising campaign to actually do to help your business grow. You have to know what results you desire from the ad campaign. According to an article on The Most Effective Way to Advertise here are some questions you can ask to help you set your goals.

&bull Is your advertising part of a short-term marketing effort or one part of your long-term marketing strategy?
&bull Do you want to generate leads?
&bull Do you want to use your advertising as a catalyst to building long-term client relationships?
&bull Do you want to generate one-time sales?

After identifying the goals you should also set a goal that can be used to measure the success of the campaign quantitatively. That goal to be set is the desired ROI. To set the ROI the average value per customer or average value per customer segment should be known. This value would be the basis for calculating the expected and desired ROI. At the end of the campaign this value and the actual ROI will help determine the success of the ad campaign.

After setting those goals make sure that you are able communicate them to the advertising agency you plan to use or your media partner. This ensures that they know what you want and that you will be working on the same goals and will have the same measures for success.

However, just like in traditional advertising it is hard to measure exactly the ROI for online advertisements. There are certain metrics that are used, like the number of clicks generated by an ad or the number of sales since the campaign started, but even these metrics are insufficient in measuring the exact profit generated by an ad campaign. However, these metrics are sufficient in gauging the response or the impact of the ad campaign and can be used to determine whether the campaign is successful or not.

Run Tests

Another crucial thing factor that determines an online ad campaigns' success is the testing phase. Testing should be done before any ad campaign is fully launched. Set a small portion of your budget to test the media of choice before deploying all your resources on the ad campaign. Testing will allow you a glimpse of how your target audience will respond to the campaign. Although it might seem like a waste of time and money to spend resources on testing it could actually save you from a bigger loss in case the test reveals that the campaign might not have the impact you desire. For the testing phase of an online campaign to be comprehensive it is best to test your ads on multiple websites and to try different ad types as well as ad sizes, etc. If the test results prove to be unsatisfactory don't just back out, make the necessary adjustments and test again and again until you see a positive response from your audience and you are sure that your campaign is optimized. As Honabach said, "Ultimately, optimization is an iterative process that reduces costs over time." Just make sure that your evaluation procedures are objective and sound or else the results you'll get from your tests will be useless. The metrics for getting ROI mentioned above should be used during testing too and not just at the end of the campaign. Although it might be hard to evaluate the ad campaigns effectiveness the nature of the Internet makes it actually easier to evaluate ROI in comparison to traditional advertising.

For those who plan on using banner ads as part of their online campaign there are ways to know or test which banner ad will be more effective. This is discussed in a patent published last December 29, 2005 entitled Systems and methods of achieving optimal advertising (US Patent Application 20050289005). The invention discusses a "process of identifying influential design elements, selecting and testing banners representative of such design elements, obtaining feedback, and analyzing it to extract information from the experiments about which design elements are most important and which combination of design elements lead to the best overall banner." The process yields not only the best banner ad design but also results to a lower cost of advertising and a higher success rate for advertising campaigns.

Use Effective Professionals

Do not attempt to save on money by hiring start-up groups with absolutely no experience to handle your ad campaign. You don't have to hire the largest firms or oldest ones but just make sure that the firm you choose has enough experience and has a reputation for a decent percentage of successful campaigns.

Your online agency can also make or break your ad campaign. Make sure that the agency you choose has accessible lines of communication and can deliver results fast. Being able to deliver fast results entails their capability to analyze and respond to the data that your online ad campaign produces. The analyzed data should be such that the results will be relevant and actionable for those responsible for other aspects of the campaign. An open communication would also allow you to keep track of what is going on with your campaign.

Computers and The Internet
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