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How to Get the Most from Your 
Online Advertising Campaign

by Stephanie Dale

TenLinks.com provides all advertisers the means to monitor page views, clicks and click-through rates for any banner campaign on the site. There are many ways you can improve your advertising effectiveness to ensure the success of your program.

Understanding CTR

While click-through rates measure only one step in the online advertising process, it is easy to measure and compare results, making it the most popular means of evaluating an ad’s effectiveness. 

People click on ads for a reason. Some specific reasons include curiosity, discounts and coupons, and most important, product interest. 

Attract the Curious
A lot of curiosity is generated from a user’s general interest in a product or service, not whim. For example, a banner with only the message "Speed Up Your Internet Connection" drew in users curious about upgrading their connection speed. 

Coupons and Discounts Work
Ads offering product discounts and coupons are more attractive to users than those offering chances to win merchandise, cash, points towards purchases, or airline miles. Users are more interested in concrete discounts than they are in a chance of winning a trip to Tahiti. 

Product Interest is Key
By far the most important driver of click-throughs is product interest (another reason TenLinks’ targeted audience of technical professionals is the perfect site for your message). If you understand who is likely to buy your product or service, you can then seek out the sites that reach this prospect. 

How to Increase Your CTR

Once you understand what drives clicks, there are many specific ways you can increase your click-through rate. Here are some basics to consider as you design your banner: 

  1. Fast loading banners pull best. Don't overemphasize design; rather focus mainly on reducing the file size. (TenLinks.com firmly believes in this principle. All TenLinks pages are designed to load fast, so users can quickly find what they need.)

  2. Try to include a user interface element like a button, scroll bar, warning icon, etc. This has the effect of drawing users attention to something they see on their screen regularly.

  3. Use as large a font as possible. Larger headlines pulled better than small headlines in a recent study, but this also points to the importance of keeping the message simple.

  4. Include "click here" on your banner. This may seem obvious, but some studies have shown this simple addition can significantly increase response. Also, one study reported that placing “click here” on the right side pulled 15% better than on the left.

  5. Supply three versions of your banner to rotate for each campaign. TenLinks.com will accept up to three banners per campaign at no extra cost, and visitors are more likely to see new creative as they move through the site.

  6. Refresh your creative regularly – we recommend new banners every 3-4 weeks for the average 3-month campaign. The change need not be dramatic. When you decide upon a banner message, create a dozen versions of the banner, each incorporating small changes in font, color, background, and layout. Provide TenLinks.com a schedule, and we’ll ensure your banner creative is fresh.

Beyond CTR

Click-through rates across the industry have been declining for some time, so it is critical to look beyond clicks and CTR when evaluating your campaign. The Internet is an extremely effective medium for increasing brand awareness and recall. The critical component of success is “conversion rate”: that is, how many users took an action once they clicked on your banner.

Industry analyst Adknowledge published some findings in their eAnalytics First Quarter 2000 Report, highlighting some interesting trends as relate to the value of conversion rates and CTR. To quote the study:

“On average there are more conversions from users who only viewed an ad, but did not click through from users who clicked. This yields some important conclusions:

  1. The potential ROI impact of Internet advertising is greater than previously thought, because advertisers only track sales from clicks and tend to ignore the brand impact on sales.

  2. Advertisers who base decisions only on clicks from users who clicked through on an ad may miss important effects of their campaigns, including the impact of an impression on the propensity to convert.”

(To view the entire report, click here)

Measuring Success

Branding, recall, conversion rates and any “post-click” activity are, unfortunately, much more difficult to measure than traditional CTR. How can you determine how effective your campaign has been? There are several ways to do this:

Before/After measurement: The easiest way is to measure site traffic before a marketing campaign begins, so you will be able to quantify the effects of your campaign.

Exposed/Unexposed measurement: Draft a simple questionnaire asking the same questions of people who were exposed to your campaign as to people who were not, and you can accurately gauge the impact of your efforts. 

Quantify qualitative information: Conduct an online focus study of your customers in the planning stage of your next major Web initiative. In it, ask respondents to rate and rank concepts, competitive Web sites, and your current efforts. Then use these number rankings as benchmarks for future efforts.

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TenLinks.com can help you conduct this research online (contact sales@tenlinks.com to learn more), or you can do the research on your own. The important thing is to measure the same data consistently, and you can begin to develop in-house benchmarks in areas where your currently have none. This will help you leverage past experience and create increasingly more-effective campaigns. Benchmarks can help you build confidence in online marketing’s ability to sell your products and services.

TenLinks.com is committed to offering a valuable resource to our advertisers. We welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas about how to make the most of online advertising, so please contact us at sales@tenlinks.com

TenLinks Network Media Kit
www.tenlinks.com/network/

Director of Sales and Marketing
TenLinks, Inc.
200 Professional Center Drive, Suite 211
Novato, CA 94947

sales@tenlinks.com
Phone (415) 897-8800
Fax (415) 897-8814

 
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