Online Advertising, Part 1

After bringing your business online, you need to advertise your product and service offering to your target audience. One advantage of online advertising is that is does not have to cost you too much if you do it strategically and from a point of knowledge. You have access to numerous platforms that allow you to advertise your brand; make good use of them to improve your visibility and your return on investment

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Pay Per Click Programs

Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a cost effective method of advertising your business to a wider audience. If targeted, this type of advertisement can convert prospective clients into buying ones.

AdWords: is Google’s PPC advertising platform. To advertise with Google you need to simply set up an AdWords account, and select keywords that are relevant to your business. The process entails bidding for keywords and key phrases, with the highly competitive keywords and phrases costing more than the less competitive ones. Once you choose your keywords, it is time to create your compelling ad copy to tell your target audience what your business is offering. With Google, your ads will appear on the Google search networks (search pages) or on websites that are relevant to your product/service offering (content network). The advantage of PPC platforms such as AdWords is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and is directed to your website. For you to successfully launch your ads and for them to gain higher page rankings, the ad needs to demonstrate quality as per Google’s Quality Score index.

Yahoo Advertising: is arguably the second largest platform in online advertising and search marketing with about 22% of the Internet searches share. Yahoo has introduced a new feature onto their pay per click platform, Panama. As in Google, you need to set up an account to get started with Yahoo Search Marketing. The new feature, Panama, marks a break from Yahoo’s old online advertising platform. The new program offers advanced geo-targeting so that businesses can advertise to targeted markets for example U.K or Canada. Businesses can also advertise to a targeted city or its surroundings. The old system was designed to advertise brick-and-mortar businesses within a limited geographical setting. Yahoo also offers an assist and enhanced analytics feature. The enhanced analytics feature enables businesses to track the assist feature, which helps businesses to access up to 30 high converting keywords. The assist feature allows businesses to get a clearer picture of site visitor behavior and thus to invest in keywords with the highest conversion rates.

Bing: is fast becoming a formidable player in search marketing. Most small businesses looking to overcome the competition on Google use Bing.

Bing is Microsoft’s search engine and to advertise on it you need to sign up for an account at the Microsoft AdCenter. Bing can be effective in advertising to a targeted market because the service is limited to a few countries including Singapore, U.S., U.K., and Canada. Unlike Google, Bing has only two language options, French and English. Although Microsoft plans to include other countries, this platform still offers an excellent opportunity to target your advertisement to audiences in these few countries. Bing allows you to increase your bid by 10% if the targeted searcher is of a certain age category and up to 20% if the targeted searchers are women.

Note: Bing and Yahoo came together in mid 2009. This means that your ads will appear on both platforms and their content network partners including Wall Street Journal, CMBC and FOX Sports, thus reaching a greater audience.

Facebook: social ads are a novel way of advertising to a large number of people all at once.

This is a progressively growing social networking platform with over 400 million active users and offers a great opportunity to advertise your business. The Facebook pay per click program allows you to place small ads on the right side of users’ Facebook interface. An advantage of Facebook’s advertising platform is that you can choose to whom you want your ads to be visible. You can do this by choosing from various variables including age, education, relationship status, gender, geographical location, education and relevant tags and keywords.

Similar to Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising involves bidding for keywords and competing with other advertisers to have your ads featured on the Facebook platform. Facebook allows you to pay on a cost per click basis or cost per a thousand views basis. Most research indicates that cost per click offers the greatest return on investment.

Facebook will also soon be implementing video ads.

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