During the series of articles on creating a traffic plan, we’ve looked at a range of methods to drive potential customers to your site. Some of these require time, and some require a financial investment. However, the most traditional way of attracting customers to see your products is simply through paid advertising.
Moving on from printed media
In the days where printed media was king, display ads were sold as the primary route to market, but that has all changed.
Firstly, all the evidence suggests that using display ads in printed publications to advertise an eCommerce website is not effective. Unless you are already a household name or you are lucky enough to have the easiest URL to remember, then customers don’t make the transition from the page to the screen – it’s just too much effort.
If you want to attract people to the site, they need something they can click when they are already on their computer or using their smartphone or tablet. So this will take the form of a link straight from a display ad somewhere.
Re-marketing Adverts and Other Animals
So you’ve all seen these annoying ads that seem to follow you around the web. Last week you looked at various recipe sites about making garlic bread, and now the internet seems to bombard you with places to buy garlic and flour! Coincidence right? Wrong obviously! Your browsing history is being used by all and sundry to get inside your head. So as a merchant trying to sell your pet jackets you may want to use this route too. If you were using display advertising, then you’d want people with dogs and cats to see your ads and click through to your site. So how is it done?
Ads can take the form of banners, text images, and videos and are categorised as follows:
- Contextual – targets pages that have specific keywords in the content.
- Placement – targets specific websites or pages.
- In-market audience and interest categories – target users based on their recent search and web browsing activities.
- Topics and demographics – targets audiences based on the information Google has gathered from its users.
- Mobile apps – targets apps that allow ads.
- Remarketing – targets users who have previously interacted with your website to encourage them to return.
- Social networks – targets users with interests aligned with your products.
Numerous aggregators of material will act on your behalf to set all this up. While it’s possible to agree on individual placement ads with other content providers, that would be time-consuming and more likely fall into the affiliate or reciprocity category discussed earlier in the series. Most of the other classes such as ‘Contextual’ and ‘In-Market’ would form part of an agreement with a PPC consultant or possibly direct with the provider.
Check Your Margins
As with all the other paid solutions, so much will depend on your margin per sale. Some display ads are charged by the impression and others by the click through –, but ultimately you need hard data to determine if it’s meeting your objective. If you are selling a small margin product, then it might be that the amount of wastage on display ads just can’t be justified for the sales that you make.
Again, as with the other paid solutions, the aim has to be to win new customers for the first time to your site and then try to persuade them to come directly on subsequent occasions. That way your spend will be static or even reduce, and your sales will continue to increase.