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Sales vs. Brand Awareness: Which One Is It?

Posted July 10, 2012 by fran @ 10:39 am

With the many forms of online advertising, the decision of which ad model is “the one” can be overwhelming, especially if you have a tight ad budget. Are video, mobile, and social ads effective or should you reach users through pay per click advertising or remarketing instead?

The fact is, there isn’t a one size fits all ad model. Each ad format offers unique advantages, and the “right” ad you depends largely on what your business is trying to sell, who the target audience is, and more importantly, what you want to accomplish. Are you in it to get actual sales or do you simply want to put your brand name out there? Either way, you shouldn’t spend your advertising budget yet if you don’t have definite answers to the questions above.

If your goal is to increase sales, then consider using remarketing. Remarketing ads (also known as retargeting) pertain to advertisements that are displayed to bring users back to a website. Used by online merchants, remarketing works by tagging the computer of a user that visited a website without buying anything. When that user leaves that website, the remarking technology will display ads on other websites that the person visits to remind them to go back and complete the purchase. Remarketing is very effective because it targets users that have already expressed interest in making a purchase. In fact, studies show that remarketing can increase conversion rates to up to 125%.

PPC ads can also effective for those “hard sales”. This model works by letting advertisers bid on keywords that users type into search engines. Whenever those keywords come up, the bidders’ ad units will be displayed. PPC advertising also drives sales because these types of ads appear when users are obviously looking for something. For instance, when a person types in a search for “used cars” and a nearby dealership displays an ad on the search results, the user that performed the search would be inclined to click on the ad, and will be more likely to ask for a quote or drop by.

What about social ads? Well, as other studies have shown, Facebook ads have had a lackluster performance when it comes to converting users. However, this isn’t to say that these ads are completely useless. A recent survey by AdAge revealed that Facebook ads are purchased for awareness, rather than increasing sales. When asked “What do you use Facebook ads for?” 45.7% of marketers answered “Build awareness and sentiment for my brand.” This was followed by “Drive traffic to my website”, “Build fans or ‘likes’”, “To stay in touch with my customers”, “Generate sales leads”, and finally “Social commerce”. It’s evident that Facebook ads are mostly used for branding purposes.

If your purpose is to increase brand awareness, boost your fan count, or to get people to read your blog, social ads (Facebook and Twitter ads) could be worth a try.

Image credit: fontplaydotcom on Flickr

 

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How to Create Landing Pages that Seal the Deal

Posted July 3, 2012 by fran @ 10:24 am

Landing pages are extremely important especially if you’re running a pay per click ad campaign. After all, getting users to click on your ad is one thing, but getting them to actually take action after that is a whole different story.

Whether your landing page is a product specific page, a contact form, or your homepage, always test and optimize it to ensure that you’re getting the highest conversion rates possible.

Check out the landing page tips below to help get you started:

Showcase what you promoted in the ad – Your landing page should deliver the promise of the ad that led the visitor to it. Users click on ads because they’re interested in what it has to offer, so make sure that content of your landing page is consistent with the ad. It takes more than an appealing bait to successfully reel users in; your landing page should showcase whatever’s being promoted in the ad in order for them to take action. If your ad is about a special deal, make sure that your landing page reflects this. If you’re promoting specific products in your PPC ads, users that click on them should be able to see those products in the page that the ads link to.

Always deliver on your ads’ promises. Don’t try to pull a bait and switch on your users as this will only give customers a bad impression or your brand, and you’ll only end up wasting your ad budget.

Make it easy to navigate – Chances are, if you designed your own a landing page and if you’ve seen it a million times, then you know it like the back of your hand. To you, finding relevant information on the page is quick and simple—maybe even common sense. But this may not be the case for first time visitors. Test your landing page by showing it to users who’ve never seen it before and ask if it is indeed easy to navigate. Their feedback will help you determine if you need to tweak your page and make it more user-friendly.

Remember that ease of use is important to converting users. You want your visitors to be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible; otherwise, you risk the chances of people leaving your site to find what they need elsewhere.

Include a clear and focused call to action – This may seem elementary to some, but you’d surprised to know just how many advertisers mess up on the call to action aspect of their landing pages. Your landing page should clearly and unequivocally communicate what you want your customers to do. It should be laser-focused and the call to action should be unmistakable to visitors. Make sure that all the aspects of your landing page are working towards one thing: getting the user to click on that one call to action button. Now is not the time to be subtle. People appreciate clear and simple instructions, so don’t be shy on telling them what you want them to do.

Image credit:  FutUndBeidl on Flickr

 

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The Ins and Outs of Behavioral Targeting

Posted June 26, 2012 by fran @ 10:32 am

While behavioral targeting isn’t new (websites have been dropping cookies into our computers since the 90s), a lot of Internet users still either misunderstand the technology or are completely unaware of what behavioral targeting is.

For the uninitiated, behavioral targeting, as our trusty Wiki friends put it, “refers to a range of technologies and techniques used by online website publishers and advertisers which allows them to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns by capturing data generated by website and landing page visitors.”

It is a boon for publishers and advertisers alike, because it ensures that ads are seen by the right people at the right time.

How It Works

This is where ad networks (like AdMedia) come in. With the use of cookies, ad networks are able to track a user’s browsing history, searches, shopping carts, location, and other pieces of information. This data is used to determine which audience segment a user belongs to, which will then help ad networks display more relevant advertisements.

For example, if a user’s cookies indicate that they visited ESPN.com, NBA.com, and read articles about basketball, then ad networks may infer that that person is a basketball fan and thus display ads related to the sport.

Its Strengths

The obvious strength of behavioral targeting is that it allows advertising networks to display relevant ads. It helps advertisers get to know their audiences more, so that they can provide them with ads that matter.

On the user side, behavioral targeting helps give people a more personalized browsing experience, enabling them to find what they need much faster. Take Google, for instance. The search giant’s autocomplete feature enables it to “guess” what you’re about to search for. Simply type the first few letters of your query and Google’s search box will automatically display suggestions based on your browsing history. (Note: This only works if you’re signed in to your Google account. If you’re not logged in, the autocomplete feature will be based on other users’ search activities and the contents of indexed pages.)

Its Weaknesses

Like all things in life, behavioral targeting isn’t perfect. The technology isn’t very effective when tracking the Internet activities of a shared device. Grabbing the browsing history of several people with varying interests will return a hodgepodge of data and can make it more difficult for advertising networks to serve up relevant ads.

However, this problem isn’t much of an issue now as it was a few years ago. Recent technological developments have enabled people to have their own personal laptops, tablets, and cell phones, so shared devices is not as common as before.

Is it an invasion of privacy?

Not at all. Behavioral targeting technology does not collect any personally identifiable information and ad networks don’t get any data that can uniquely identify a single person. Data on people’s Internet activities is aggregated and is used solely for ad targeting. (The same thing goes for remarketing advertising.)

In any case, if you’re still iffy about being tracked online, you can simply delete cookies from your device. Additionally, you can enable a feature in your Internet browser so that it won’t record your history or track your activities online. Be sure to check the settings in your browse to see how you can enable its private browsing option.

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

7 Tips to Help You Retarget Ads Like a Rock Star

Posted June 19, 2012 by fran @ 10:51 am

Remarketing advertising boasts of high CTRs mainly because it puts ads in front of an already engaged audience. Compared to other forms of online advertising, Remarketing targets users that have previously visited a website. This means that the people seeing the ad are already interested in the product or service being advertised, and all you need to do is reel them back in.

However, effective as it is, there are still a number of things that advertisers can do in order to optimize their remarketing campaigns. If you really want to make the most out of the power of remarketing ads, check out the tips and tricks below and see how you can apply them in your own ad campaigns.

1. Be consistent –  Using ads that aren’t consistent with the theme of your website defeats the purpose of Remarketing, because the main goal of the campaign is to give users a sense of familiarity, and make sure that they know all about your product. In order to trigger this that feeling of familiarity or affinity with your brand, it’s best to keep the designs of your Remarketing ads similar to the look and feel of your website.

2. Include special deals – Often, people that leave your website without buying anything just need a little push to get them to complete the purchase. With that said, consider adding special deals to your ads and entice customers to come back.

3. Cover as many ad types / sizes that you can – Websites in AdMedia’s display network come in all shapes and sizes, so there isn’t a “one size fits all” type of ad. Be sure to include several creatives and sizes for your ads to ensure that they get displayed in as many websites as possible.

4. Be specific – In online advertising, the more targeted you are, the better. In your Remarketing campaign, target potential customers who have checked out specific products or categories and include those same products in your ads. Going back to tip number 1, doing this will further build that sense of familiarity in consumers and persuade them to go back to your site and complete the transaction.

5. Add some variety – Too much of something—even something that’s familiar—can also be a bad thing. Seeing the same ad over and over again can result in customers being turned off. They could start to think that your brand is creepy and your campaign could backfire. Prevent advertising fatigue by rotating your image ads regularly and displaying a variety of designs.

6. Use persuasive calls to action – Putting something familiar in front of customers may not be enough. Be sure to have a clear call to action button in your ads to direct them exactly where you want them to go.

7. Consider cross-selling – If you have products or services that complement each other, consider reaching out to existing customers to do a cross-sell. Tag the confirmation or thank you page on your site and advertise any products or services that can enhance the ones that the users just bought.

Image credit:  Tony Abrego on Flickr

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3 Great Resources that Help Boost the Quality of Your Content

Posted June 12, 2012 by fran @ 10:46 am

Publishers that get tons of visitors and garner a lot of ad clicks usually have one thing in common: Great content. If you have a website and you’re wondering why you’re not getting a lot of views or that you’re not making enough money of out your ads, then chances are it has something to do with your content. Online advertising goes beyond simply putting ads on a page; you also need to work on drawing people in and actually driving traffic to your website.

This blog post will discuss the top resources that publishers can check out in order to improve the quality of their content. From writing excellent copy to getting your stuff out there, the three websites below offer a wealth of information and provide a lot of actionable tips that you can apply to your own website.

1. Copy Hackers – This is a series of eBooks by Joanna Wiebe, a professional copywriter who specializes in startups and web content. The Copy Hackers set is composed of 4 books that can be purchased individually or as a bundle.

The first book, “Where Stellar Messages Come From” teaches you how to develop messages that sell. It fills you in on how to target your copy so that it reaches just the right people. The next book, called “Formatting & the Essentials of Web Writing” teaches you how to optimize your content’s format for the web. People consume web content differently, and if you want to get your message across, you need to write in a web-friendly manner. Book 3 on the other hand (Headlines, Subheads, & Value Propositions) will teach you the dos and don’ts of headlines, subheads, and value props to ensure that you’ll be able to write effective and attention-grabbing headlines. In Book 4 (Button & Click-Worthy Calls to Action), you’ll learn the ins and outs of proper calls to action and buttons that attract clicks.

2. The Copy Blogger Blog – Copy Blogger offers WordPress Solutions to optimize the content and marketing campaigns of bloggers. If you’re not ready to buy just yet though, then you can simply head to the blog section and you’ll be sure to pick up a lot of useful tips. From writing headlines and content to SEO copywriting and social media marketing, the Copy Blogger blog is one of the best FREE resources out there that can take your blogging and writing skills to the next level.

3. Blogging PRWeb – So you’ve written great content and you’re more than ready to make the world see it. The next step is publicizing and marketing your work to ensure that it reaches as many eyeballs as possible. After all, the quality of your content doesn’t just depend on how well it’s written, it’s reach and popularity are also factors that you should take into consideration. For tips on getting your content out there, the PRWeb blog is a great resource to start with. This blog provides useful advice in terms of SEO, marketing, social media, and of course, PR. And one of the best things about it is that PRWeb’s blog posts are written in plain English, and are perfect for small businesses or not-so-tech-savvy bloggers.

Image credit:  Anonymous Account on Flickr

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Top 5 Twitter Accounts in Online Advertising

Posted June 5, 2012 by fran @ 10:27 am

Whether you’re an advertiser with products to sell, or a publisher with messages and articles to write, keeping up with the latest developments in online advertising is important if you want to continuously generate leads and make money online. New developments, tools, and products are always coming out and it pays to know about these things and see what you can apply in your business. Additionally, you should keep yourself abreast with the latest advertising campaigns to generate ideas and inspiration for your own ad campaigns.

Aside from RSS feeds and online readers, one of the best ways to keep your posted on current events is through Twitter. Not only does the microblogging site collate information from various sources, it also delivers updates in real-time so can always get fresh information in your feed. Of course, your Twitter account is only as good as the users that you follow and if you want to get the best in online advertising, you have to make sure that you’re following the right people.

Below are five of the best accounts in the Twitterverse. Follow their updates and you’ll never miss an important online advertising tidbit again.

1. ad:tech (@adtech) – Considered as the top digital marketing event in the industry, ad:tech brings together the most insightful people in online advertising to share their knowledge. Aside from tweeting about their events though, the ad:tech Twitter account also delivers tips and current events surrounding the online advertising industry. Ad:tech also curates information from the most reputable and authoritative sources in advertising, so you can be confident their tweets are always reliable.

2. Ad Age (@adage) – Want to get constant doses of advertising news and commentary? Then @adage is a must-follow. It’s one of the go-to sources about ads, marketing, agencies and the like, and offers boh straight and unbiased news, as well as opinions and commentaries from knowledgeable individuals. Follow this account to get an in-depth look at the industry.

3. Adrants (@adrants) – See the world of advertsising from @adrants’ edgy perspective. Adrants delivers marketing, advertising, and social media news with attitude and includes some creative commentary as well. Follow their Twitter account and don’t miss any of their interesting posts!

4. AdFreak (@adfreak) – Ads, ads, ads. That’s what AdFreak is all about. If you want to see the crazy ads that companies would release just to get people to buy, then AdFreak has all the crazy you need. From viral videos to weird display banners, you’ll always find new and innovative ads from AdFreak. Be sure to follow them on Twitter as they post updates several times a day.

5. AdMedia  (@ad_media) – Not to toot our own horn here, but AdMedia’s Twitter account is rich with industry news, great ad campaigns, and information on cool products. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get the lowdown on what’s happening in the realm of online advertising. The AdMedia team is always developing innovative products so having us in your Twitter feed will keep you in the know. Additionally, since we’re always looking for great talent, you’ll often find Tweets about new job openings in our Twitter stream.

Image credit:  JoshSemans on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Advertising on Social Networks

Posted May 29, 2012 by fran @ 11:53 am

Can a social network be an ad network at the same time? The answer to that varies on the type of business that you have, the products or services that you’re selling, and more importantly, your target audience. Do some research on how your customers use social media, and you’ll be able to determine if advertising on Facebook or Twitter will be effective for your brand.

The types of ads that you choose display are also crucial to the effectiveness of your campaign. Different social media sites have different ad products so be sure to determine which of the various types of ads are right for your business.

This post will give you an overview of the different ad offerings that you’ll find on the two most popular social networks on the web: Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook

Like most online ad networks, Facebook also has its own self-serve ads platform where you’ll be able to build your campaign. Facebook allows you to target your audience (by location, interests, demographics, etc), customize the text and graphics of your ad, and set a daily budget. These ads will then be displayed on the right hand side of the page and will be seen by Facebook members that fall under the locations and demographics that you set.

Facebook has also begun releasing a tool called “Promoted Posts” for page owners. If your business has a page on Facebook, you can use this new feature to widen the reach of your updates and posts. Prices for Promoted Posts start at $5 and will go up depending on the number of fans that you have. For example, AdMedia’s Facebook page has over 5,000 fans. When we look into promoting our posts, Facebook’s tool indicates that $5 can extend the post’s reach to 2,200 more users while $10 can amplify the post’s reach to 4,300. Note that these numbers will vary from one page to the next and the amount of extra reach that you’ll get also depends on your fan count.

Twitter

Twitter also has its own self-serve ad platform to allow business owners to promote their company on the microblogging site. The two main products that Twitter offers include Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.

With the former, Twitter will examine your most successful tweets and promote them to your target audience. Promoted Tweets will appear on searches as well as on the Twitter feeds of relevant users. The latter on the other hand, promotes YOU instead of your tweets. If you choose the Promoted Accounts product, Twitter will put your account on the “Who to Follow” lists for relevant users.

Both Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts have a budget-friendly system wherein you’ll only pay for actual results. If you have Promoted Tweets, you’ll only pay if someone interacts with your posts (i.e. Retweets, replies, or favorites). The same goes for Promoted Accounts; you’ll only be charged for the followers that you gain. Additionally, you’ll be able to set a daily cap on how much you can spend to ensure that you don’t blow your budget.

Image credit:  webtreats on Flickr

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

3 Epic Display Ads that Made Waves Online

Posted May 22, 2012 by fran @ 2:50 pm

Running out of new ideas for your next online advertising stunt? Then perhaps it’s time to inject some doses of creativity and craziness into your system. Not coming up with new ideas is often a sign that you need a change of perspective.  Maybe you’ve been thinking the same way for far too long that you need to start thinking outside the box to gain fresh insights and ideas.

Thankfully, in this day and age, finding inspiration for new and out of the box ideas isn’t difficult. The web is filled with countless ads and projects that are bound to stir up your creative juices. Check out the examples below and see if you can apply even a little of their craziness into your campaigns.

A quick word of caution though; these ads are all “so-crazy-they-might-actually-work” type of things. The people behind these ads took a lot of guts and risks. They’re unconventional and aren’t for people who insist on following rules and textbooks.

1. Ikea fit an entire store into one banner ad

Wondering how you can make your ads more interactive and fun? Then take a leaf off Ikea’s book. Ikea is known for their portable products. Most of the stuff in their branches are space savers that you can move quickly and easily. To demonstrate just how much their products are able save people space, Ikea decided to squeeze in 2,800 products into a 300 x 250 px banner ad. The teeny products in the ad are magnified as you mouse-over them, and the great thing is, that you can shop for products straight from the ad. When your mouse lands on a piece that you like, you can click on it, and it will take you directly to that product’s page. See it in action here. [via Adland and Adweek]

2. This guy proposed using display ads

Okay, so we’re certainly not telling you to propose to your customers, but this example could teach you a lesson or two about proper ad targeting and appealing to customers’ emotions. Last month, ad salesman Scott Sklar decided to propose to this girlfriend, Erica Plotkin, who happened to be a digital associate media director in the New York office of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Martin Agency. Erica received a message that something was wrong with one of their client’s ads on BBC.com. When Erica clicked on the BBC URL, she was greeted by two banner ads with the words, “Erica, will you marry me?” and “You are the love of my life – Scott”. At that moment, Scott walked in, got down on one knee and proposed. Check out the full story on AdAge.

3. Pringle’s Click-athon Ad

Who says banner ads always have to lead to a landing page or website? The guys at Pringles had a different way of looking at things. To demonstrate “how fun, eccentric—and even downright weird—life with Pringles can be”, they decided to create an ad that doesn’t take users anywhere when they click it. Instead, as people keep on click the ad, the banner just display a little story within it. Curious to see how it works? Check it out on AdWeek here.

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Figure Out the Best Way to Target Your Customers

Posted May 17, 2012 by Marina @ 9:48 am

Whether you’re using an online ad network or retargeting, having a successful marketing campaign is crucial for online advertising and business in general.

How do you know which method of marketing is right for you though?

There really is no wrong answer to this question as it is more about the preference of each business and how they want to go about getting their brand seen. Each form of marketing campaign provides users with different capabilities and features geared towards fully getting the most out of marketing. The decision on which to use, though will depend on the user and if they want to use just one, or all different forms of marketing.

Using online advertising networks is simple; providing the middle man and connecting your brand with sites that want to advertise you. It’s an effective method and gets your ad out there, but of course like any campaign, there are drawbacks. With an online ad network, you’ll be paying for your advertisement placement no matter what, even if it’s targeting uninterested viewers.

With retargeting and remarketing, the increase of conversion rate is great because it targets those users only showing interest in your product and brand in the first place. Of course it could seem repetitive in the eyes of the consumer if you don’t put a frequency cap on how often the ad appears, but often times, a perfect solution and balance will increase profits.

So whether it’s paid inclusion, online ad networks or remarketing/retargeting campaigns, be sure to do the research on whichever marketing plan(s) you intend to use.

Figure in costs, success rates and other numbers into your research and it will help determine the right options for your business to get the ultimate exposure it needs in order to strive in a fast-paced industry.  

Image credit: cliff1066 on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

3 Banner Ad Tips to Keep People Coming Back to Your Site

Posted May 14, 2012 by fran @ 3:01 pm

Ad Remarketing is known for having a high ROI mainly because it’s targeted. Since Remarketing zeroes in on people who have previously visited a website, the chances of conversion are much higher; people seeing the ad are already interested in the advertised products or services, so they’re more likely to click on it. However, advertisers should remember that the magic of remarketing technology can only go so far. Aside from being focused and targeted, a big part of an ad campaign’s success also lies on what the banner ads actually look like. After all, even if you manage to zero in on your target audience and appear on the most heavily-trafficked sites on the web, you won’t get a lot of clicks if you display a hideous ad.

With that said, you don’t need a huge budget or be a creative advertising genius to come up with ad creative that people want to see. All you need is basic design sense and a little knowledge on the best practices in creating banner ads.

1. Simple is beautiful – One of the most important tips to designing a banner ad is to keep it simple. You’re given limited space to relay your message effectively, so use it wisely. Don’t try to add too many elements or parts to the graphic, as it could make the ad too complicated or confusing. Choose the ad’s font style, color, and size wisely and make sure that the text is easily readable. Themes and colors on the other hand will vary, depending on who you audience is and what you want them to do. Different colors denote and express different things. The color red, for instance communicates energy, while Pink denotes femininity and romance. Want to woo audience of class and sophistication? Studies show that the color black denotes power and sleekness. Want to promoting beauty and wellness products? It’s been said that the color Purple is very effective in doing this. Whichever color you choose though, make sure that it’s based on tests and studies on your target audience. Don’t pick colors and themes on a whim or based on your tastes; pick them because they match the tastes and preference of your audience.

2. Keep the file size to a minimum – Your ad needs to keep up with people’s need to get information as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is for users to leave a website without even giving your ad a chance to load. Ensure that your ad’s file size is small, so that it will be able to load up faster. Most sites nowadays require a maximum file size anyway, but to be safe, a good rule of thumb is to keep your ads under 75 kb.

3. Word it wisely – Keep the content of your ad succinct and straight to the point. Avoid unnecessary and flowery words. It’s better to use the active voice for the text of your ad, because it’s easier to read, not to mention more engaging. More importantly, triple check your ad copy for spelling or grammatical errors. Nothing spells unprofessional and incompetent more than poorly-written copy.

Image credit:  Lord Jim on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines
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