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How To Start Buying Ads Online

I spend a bit of time on online marketing forums and one of the common questions I see asked is how to drive traffic to a new website. My first suggestion is always to write unique, relevant content and make sure that the site is optimized with the keywords that are being targeted. I like starting with SEO because it’s a long term strategy. The content on your site does not go away. The second suggestion I generally make is PPC because it’s targeted and if done correctly, it can be affordable.

Obviously there are tons of other ways to market your site besides SEO and PPC (like guest blogging, forums and social media) there comes a time though that you’ll probably want to try display advertising. This can be an effective strategy especially since the average person needs to see new information at least 3 times before it registers for immediate recollection.

As with any marketing tactic, there needs to be a bit of a strategy behind it. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started.

1.) Who Are You Targeting?

You don’t want to just start buying ad space without first considering where your target market is spending their time online. The first place I would look is at your Analytics sources to see where your traffic is actually coming from. If you look past PPC, direct traffic and organic traffic, I would look to see which sites are referring traffic to you and find similar ones to potentially advertise on. You can also get creative based on your product. If you sell treadmills, you probably will want to advertise on running sites, fitness sites and weight loss sites.

2.) What’s Your Unique Message?

If you’re just starting display advertising, you probably don’t have a huge budget. This can make it difficult to compete in industries where you have mammoth competitors because you can’t just plaster your logo or company name on a banner. That’s OK. You just have to be unique in your messaging. If you haven’t identified what sets you apart from your competitors, this is a great time to. Are you the strongest, most affordable, the fastest, most sleek? Put this message on your banners.

3.) Do Your Homework!

Before purchasing any ad space, you’ll want to create a list of places you’d like to advertise and get their pricing guides. I highly recommend focusing on your CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) and getting the most bang for your buck. If you can get 10,000 impressions on one site for a $5 CPM ($50 total) or 50,000 impressions on a very similar site for $1 CPM ($50 total), which site makes more sense to advertise on?

4.) Placement On The Page

Let’s take the same situation as I’ve described above. Now let’s say the site where you can get 10,000 impressions for $50 has only 1 ad on their site and it’s highly visible, right at the top of the page. On the flip side, the site where you can get 50,000 impressions at $50 has 5 other ads on the site and the one they’re offering you is buried at the bottom of the page where nobody will see it. Which is a better deal now? Placement on the page and the number of competing ads on the site should be another consideration when you make your ad purchases. I’m proponent of advertising above the fold with as few competing ads as possible.

5.) Rotate Your Ads

When possible, use 2 or more versions of your ads when advertising, especially when you can see the clickthrough rates. If you’re buying ads based on CPM and not CPC (cost per click) you definitely want to use the banners that have the highest clickthrough rate possible. Not only does this mean you’re driving traffic to your site, but it also can help you evaluate the effectiveness of the ad placement. If you have 2 drastically different ads rotating on the same placement and both have a very low clickthrough rate, there is a chance that not many people are viewing your ad at all. Your ad dollars are probably more effective spent elsewhere.

About Brad Litwin

Brad Litwin is the Marketing Manager for A2 Hosting. He has been with the company since 2007. His specialties include affiliate marketing, content writing and SEO. In his spare time he enjoys running and reading.

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