Using Your Banners
One key question about banner ads is how to track down the sites that will actually host them. The type of site will depend on how you want to go about deploying your banners ads, and there are two ways of doing this.
You can go for free banner exchanges. There are a number of exchanges out there; like anything on the web the easiest way to track down the site which will best suit your needs is to use a trusty search engine. Once you’ve called up a selection of free exchanges, read through their pitch. None of these websites will be able to guarantee that customers will see your banner ad, far less click through it to investigate the product being advertised. But click-throughs will increase if you have developed a really effective banner ad.
There are ways to achieve this. Offer key information about your product, such as positive testimonials or reviews, or discounts. At the design stage you can ensure your banner ad really stands out from the competition employing a stylish design or animated content, choosing the right banner designer is also important.
What click-through rate should you be looking for after tracking down various sites? Well, the average for most sites is around 2 to 5%. That might not seem like an awful lot of custom after you’ve expended all that effort on your ad design, and tracking down sites to host your ad. But what if you’ve placed a banner ad on a high traffic site? There are many sites out there which receive huge numbers of visitors every minute (such as Google, Yahoo! or Amazon).
Consider the content of the site you are advertising. This will also have significant bearing on where you actually choose to promote your product. Use your search engine to refine the sites you are looking into. You want to specify that your banner is only going to come up in specific categories, such as sports, manufacturing, business, information technology and so on.
A popular search engine such as Yahoo! can cost up to $50 (on a cost per thousand basis) to purchase minimum impressions (usually in the region of 100,000). Therefore the cost of your banner ad on Yahoo! would be anything up to $5,000 for a month. This is comparable with an average circulation trade journal. The difference is that instead of being seen by a few thousand potential customers your audience will run into millions.
If you have a larger budget at your disposal you should be looking into using your banner ads on some high traffic commercial websites. For placement on the websites of cable television website, such as CNN, you would be looking to fork out around $15-$35 for minimum impressions. In order to drill that down to specific audiences – say Travel or Beauty Therapy – this would increase to $80 or so. Again, think of where your target customers will be looking. If your product is IT-related, think of PC Week’s website.
It can be tempting to think of cheaper, more generic targeting. But focussing on more specialised areas will help you to refine your advertising campaign to greater success.