One of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website is through online advertising. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true. However, determining how to reach the right audience and convincing them to visit your site is where it can get tricky and somewhat overwhelming. Paid search, social networks, display, video, mobile – the list goes on, and it continually changes. Just when you get comfortable with a plan, a new technology or platform arrives on the scene. Fortunately, there are a few basics we can count on (at least for now). For this discussion, we’ll focus on ad networks and video ads.
Ad Networks are great for reaching a targeted audience with banner ads over a large list of websites with a single buy, as opposed to ads on individual sites. The main advantages are:
Reach – An ad network containing hundreds of websites helps extend your reach beyond the major portals and premium sites. This aggregate of sites, known as the long tail, delivers reach to quality websites, usually at a much lower price than premium portals.
Targeting - Because of the huge number of websites available, the ad network brings massive amounts of user data that can be used for multiple targeting options: behavioral, contextual, geographic, retargeting and more. In other words you can minimize waste by reaching a precisely defined audience that is more likely to buy your product.
Optimization – Buying through an ad network allows you to optimize the campaign and apply the same parameters for impression goals, frequency capping and more. A cohesive buy gives you greater control and should perform better.
Online Video ads continue to evolve as a viable advertising option. Video usage has exploded on the web and continues to grow rapidly. According to Comscore, in December 2011, 182 million users in the U.S. watched an average of 23.2 hours of video per viewer.
Like ad networks, video ads offer numerous targeting options that allow you to precisely reach your target. However, video ads should be more than just running your TV spot on the web. Doing this falls short of reaching the full potential of online video. Effective video ads should feature interactivity that allows the advertiser to truly engage the viewer. For example, overlays embedded into the video could contain links to a Facebook page or a special-offer page that is tailored to the customer. The objective is to create an interactive experience for the viewer.
Video ads and ad networks can be highly effective traffic drivers to your website. They are just a couple of the myriad of options that can be used. As with any ad program it is important to align the media tactics with your specific website goals.
We’ve all been shocked to hear the news of the recent earthquake in Haiti and to see the disturbing images from news reports. The damage and suffering is hard to comprehend. In fact, sometimes whenever disaster strikes in an area of the world that seems far away it is easy for us to see the stories on the news and be concerned, but then go back to our daily routines. However, when you get a first-hand account from people you know, it really hits home. This happened to me this week on a couple of occasions. First, I received this report from a relative who serves on the board of directors of Hope for Haiti’s Children:http://www.hopeforhaitischildren.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=101:onthegroundinhaiti&catid=57:earthquake&Itemid=92
Then, yesterday I see this Facebook posting from a college friend who has traveled to Haiti as part of a medical relief team: “I'm in Haiti now. 10,000s dead. Many still trapped. We performed 35 surgeries last night. Many amputations. Need morphine, IV, antibiotics, Orthopeds and anesthesia. Please pray.”
Their stories are obviously heart-wrenching. The needs are great and will continue long after the news coverage subsides. Please pray for the people of Haiti and the relief workers who are risking their lives to help others. Also, there are many good organizations that need your donations, including Hope for Haiti’s Children. A couple of others are listed below. I’ve made my donation; please consider making one, too.