December 09, 2000

The introduction of the Internet gave rise to a new advertising medium. In comparison with other media the Internet offers better measuring tools in which to quantify exposure, impact, and effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Online advertising serving and tracking technology allows advertisers to know how many advertising banners are delivered and how many people click on the advertising banner. A click on an advertising creative is known as a click through.

The infatuation with click through rates has relegated the measurement of online advertising effectiveness to only one format, the click through. However, click through rates neglect other advertising contingencies that are also important. Online advertisers should also consider measuring the effectiveness of their online campaigns in such a manner that product placement, product association, interactivity, frequency, and format are also given importance.

In an era of advertising overcrowding, product placement allows advertisers to position their products in areas in which their advertising stands out over competitors. The best location to advertise is not necessarily the homepage of a web site. Special section within web sites should also be considered. For example, if an advertiser is considering advertising in a portal and the products are sporting goods, an advertiser should consider placing advertising in the sports section of that portal. Also, consider placing advertisement on top of the page where it is more visible rather than on the bottom of the page.

The reliance on click through rates has led advertisers to miss out on product association. Advertisers should keep in mind the relevance between the advertised product and the web site in which advertising is placed. For example, advertising a new CD from a hot new Latin artist should ideally be run on web sites that have the latest videos and news about Latin artists, and not on web sites that focus on commodities trading. Product association helps promote the advertised product by putting it in a setting that strengthens the message or idea that the advertising is conveying.

Online advertisers forget to take advantage of the interactivity that the Internet offers. Advertisers can have potential or current clients play games, receive free software (like screen savers), answer surveys, or chat. All of the above can be used by advertisers to brand, increase product placement, emphasize product association or create a database through the registration for games, e-mails, or other free products.

Focusing only on click through leaves out a certain level of creativity that affects the results of advertising. Visual graphics, originality of format, text, and utility of product can do wonders in communicating an advertising message. Creating specific games, galleries, e-commerce sites, or utilizing a video commercial or a superstitial can attract new customers and strengthen brand loyalty.

Another advertising variable to consider, beside click throughs, is frequency. Frequency measures the number of times a person is expose to an ad. In traditional media it takes about five to seven ad views in order for an ad to be effective. At times online campaigns are run without taking frequency into consideration. Online advertising campaigns are run in days rather than weeks or run on 20 web sites rather than three or four web sites. The result is that an online user gets a diluted exposure to an online advertising message. Possibly an online user sees an advertising creative from an online campaign only once or twice, this of course, is not enough exposure for frequency to work effectively.

Whether through online or traditional media, the goals of advertising remain the same. Advertising is a technique to communicate the benefits of products and services. Often online advertisers forget to communicate a message through their advertising. Sometimes, advertisers compel online users to click on a banner and go to a web page in order to find the benefits of what is being advertised. Advertising creatives should convey the message and not wait for online users to click to a web page in order to discover the message behind the advertising.

The effectiveness of traditional advertising is not measured solely by the amount of people who immediately after being expose to a television commercial or print ad call an 800 number and make a purchase. There are other factors beyond advertising that effect immediate response to products such as product utility, packaging, distribution, service, and others. Yet, Internet advertising is being measured by a different standard in which an action, in this case being a click, is required after viewing an ad.

Online advertising is much more than click throughs. Advertisers must take advantage of the innovative platforms the Internet offers and combine it with traditional advertising approaches. The simplistic approach of click through rates should be put aside and online marketers should venture into more creative and strategic uses of online advertising.

For more information at mailto:americas@adpepper.com.

Rudy Kish
Vice-President of Sales and Operations
ad pepper media Americas

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