Online advertising

Like them or not, we all know what an online advertisement is. Sometimes it’s the small box on the side of your computer screen. And sometimes it’s the giant rectangle that takes up your entire screen, not letting you get to the site you want to get to until you close out of it. Online advertising is hotter than ever and from the looks of it, it’s not going anywhere.

The great things about online ads is that they can be tracked, be posted or taken down at any time. Unlike print advertisements, you can see the success of your ad and how many people it reached. Ads are usually tracked by the number of impressions (how many times the ad appears on a website), the number of clicks the ad receives and the click-through-rate. Click through rate is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.  Ads can be sold on a cost-per-click basis or cost-per-thousand impressions. (Impressions tell you how many times the ad has been displayed to any audience)

One way to get your ad out there is to buy an individual banner ad. There are three sizes to choose from: 728×90 leaderboard (top of web page), 300×250 medium rectangle (square ad on top or bottom left of page) and 160×600 skyscraper (vertical rectangle banner on left or right side of page). Usually you will work with a media buyer or media company that works with clients such as yourself to sell and post the ad.

Another option for online advertising is purchasing an online banner campaign. A campaign usually consists of buying a leaderboard ad and a medium rectangle ad to run on a network of sites. For example. If you want to run an ad that focuses on eco-tourism, you would run that ad on websites that focus on conservation, energy, “green” topics and the environment. Either you, the client, or the media buyer will track the number of impressions and clicks so you can access how successful the campaign was.  A few different options for online advertising include:

–        Banner ad campaign: a standard campaign with static  banner ads that link to a web URL

–        Rich media campaign: campaign with animated or expandable banner ads that link to a web URL

–        Pre-roll video campaign: banner campaign that expands to play a video when clicked

While discouraged, sometimes you may receive an online banner ad (usually static) for free. This is referred to as added value, and sometimes will be given by a sales representative with the purchase of a print ad or other product. In most instances, though, it is best to pay for an ad.

Have you ever purchased an online ad? What has your experience been?