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Improving your website performance with paid advertising

Your new website is launched, and you are anxiously waiting for the return on investment through better engagement with customers, increased website traffic and more sales enquiries – not to mention solid online orders!
 
However following your website launch, it can be many weeks before you benefit from your SEO rankings to drive organic traffic to your website.  This makes paid online advertising a worthwhile investment to get more immediate returns, as well as boosting longer term traffic.
 
In the following article, we provide an overview to the main online advertising options and tips on how to leverage them to your advantage.
 
Banner Advertising

A banner ad is embedded into someone else’s webpage and appears as an image, animation, video or interactive element.
 
Some websites charge on a pay per click (PPC) basis to run your banner ads, so you pay only for the traffic sent to your website resulting from users that click on your ad.  Alternatively, some websites may expect a pay per impression (PPI) payment structure (also known as cost per impression), which means that you pay for the number of times the advertisement is displayed on the relevant website.
 
Most importantly, paid Banner Advertising enables you to leverage the popularity of an established website offering complementary services or similar target markets.
 
To ensure you get the maximum performance from your banner advertising, you may opt to have your advertising served only to specific audience segments (for example, based on a user profile or geographically targeted) which will further increase your marketing effectiveness.  This is particularly important where you are working under a PPI payment structure – where there is little value in having your ad viewed by a low value segment.
 
The placement within the site can also be managed, so ensure your banner is placed within the most relevant section – not necessarily always the highest visited page or home page.  Online banner advertising could be replicated within an email newsletter, with a banner advertisement close to a relevant article.
 
Banner ads generally give you greater creative freedom to catch potential customers’ eye with colour, movement, sound, video and interactivity. This should be leveraged as much as possible to both attract attention on page, but also communicate your brand clearly.
  
Pay per click advertising
 
Typically short text based, these targeted ads will only cost money when people click on them so you will only pay a fee to an ad provider every time a web user clicks on it. PPC advertising providers include Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter , which includes both Yahoo! Search  and Bing .
 
There are two types of PPC ads you may choose to purchase:

  • search engine marketing ads that appear on search engine results pages, such as Google Ads.
  • contextual ads that appear on content partner websites, where there is deemed to be some relevancy between your keywords and the content partner website – such as concert tickets on a music website.
 
 
PPC advertising should be continually monitored for performance of specific keyword and advertising text effectiveness against both the number and quality of visitors.  There is no value in paying for a large number of clicks from visitors who don’t visit with the intention of researching or buying your product.
 
Your analytics software should tell you what people are searching for when they find your website through a search engine, and their relative propensity to complete a ‘goal’ such as complete an online enquiry form.
 
As your SEO improves, try to eliminate keywords with which people can easily find your site and instead focus on keywords where your website does not rank so well. This might include niche products or ranges, as opposed to the main products you sell. 
 
If you have a limited budget, try restricting your advertising to different times of the day or being very specific with your target audiences.
 
One of our customers was churning through advertising dollars, paying the higher rates charged during the peak hours of the working day.  By restricting the advertising time to later in the evening when highly qualified buyers were searching, she attracted a higher sales conversion and achieved a higher ad placement – as many other advertisers had already exceeded their daily budget. 
 
Social Media / Mobile advertising

Revenue from mobile ads and searches more than doubled in the first half of 2013, reaching $3 billion, as advertisers began seeing value in offering ads over tablets and smartphones.  The increase was 145% over the $1.2 billion recorded for the first half of 2012, according a report released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
 
Mobile advertising includes display ads, text messaging ads, search ads and audio-video spots on smartphones, feature phones and tablets. The ads generally appear within mobile websites (sites that are optimized for viewing on mobile devices), mobile apps, text messaging services or within mobile search results, such as Google.
 
Social media advertising includes advertising within the actual social media platform – such as Linkedin advertisements for vacant positions, or the advertising in Facebook news feeds.
 
Google alone will capture nearly half of the U.S. mobile ad market in 2013, according to several analyst firms, while Facebook is expected to capture about 15%. Facebook reported in the second quarter that mobile ads accounted for 41% of its ad revenues, another sign of the surge in interest in mobile advertising.
 
With this in mind, it may be more useful to think of social media PPC ads as a way of promoting your organisation’s brand, rather than as a direct way of selling things. Consider also the strong benefit of building an social media presence independent of your advertising strategy, as content within these sites such as images, white papers or special offers still outperforms paid advertising in driving interest.

Jessica Blake is a Senior Marketing Consultant with Australian Business Consulting & Solutions Marketing team. If you have any questions, please contact her on 02 9458 7678 or jessica.blake@australianbusiness.com.au