You have surely been to hundreds of websites that have little rectangular graphics at the top of the page, touting some product or service that no web surfer can live without. Clicking on this picture can immediately transport you to the website of the product vendor, so you can obtain their product or services. Welcome to the concept of banner advertising.
Banner advertising is a very popular advertising method used on the Internet. A company can purchase or barter for the placement of a graphical banner advertisement on another website’s web page. In this case, the company who is placing the advertisement is seeking exposure for their goods or services, so they will want the advertisement to appear in a prominent area on the website. In addition, certain banner advertisers target the websites and even parts of a website that may cater to their prospective customers. For example, a company who manufactures shovels may choose only to advertise on home improvement websites, or on sites that have a gardening section.
There are two ways you can potentially benefit from banner advertising, as an owner of a website. The first way, is to sell advertising space on your website to display the advertisement of another website. Depending on your website’s traffic, this can be an effective means of income generation. The second way to benefit, is to advertise your website on other websites. This can be a valuable tool to improve the traffic on your website.
Lets take a second here to discuss a little terminology when it comes to discussing banner ads. The two key buzzwords to know are impressions and clicks. There are many other phrases and metrics involved in the world of banner advertising, but these two are the most important, and for the purposes of this article we will keep it simple. An impression, also known as a view, is when a banner ad is displayed to a web visitor. So, the number of times a banner is viewed is measured in impressions. Clicks, on the other hand, are when a visitor actually clicks on a banner ad to visit the advertiser’s site.
There are many common practices when it comes to the actual billing of banner ad placement. Some websites charge a flat fee for a certain number of impressions. For example, one site might charge $25 for 1000 impressions. Other sites might charge a smaller amount for impressions, but more money for actual clicks. There are many pricing combinations and schemes across the industry, so knowing exactly what you are being charged for is very important.
When selling advertising space on your website, there are two key factors to keep in mind when interacting with prospective advertisers. The first and foremost is traffic. How busy is your website? Is it worth the time and effort to set up an advertising relationship with your website? If you have steady traffic to your site, then this is usually not a problem. Some companies, however, have policies as far as the minimum number of hits your site must have in order to be “worth the time”. The second factor is audience. When working directly with an advertiser, they typically prefer to work with websites whose visitors meet the same demographic as their customers. In layman’s terms, they want your customers to be their customers. While this can be an important factor, it can sometimes be overshadowed by your traffic. Sites with phenomenal amounts of traffic typically have no problems with finding advertisers, even ones who may have nothing in common with the theme of your website.
Some advertisers will sign up with a banner exchange company. In this case, you place a link to the banner exchange’s website on your pages and the exchange controls what banners to display based on the marketing agreements that they have made with the advertisers. Using this method for finding advertising generally yields less profit, but does cut down on the maintenance and reporting required when you deal with the customer directly.
When placing your banner on other websites, you too have the option of working directly with the sites that you want your banner to appear on or working with some kind of banner clearing house/exchange. If you wish to work with an impression based billing arrangement, it is essential that your banners be displayed to people who would be interested in seeing them. For example, advertisements for auto-parts would not really get a good response on a website dedicated to theatre tickets. In comparison, the same banner ad would do very well on a webpage dedicated to automobile discussions. If you are paying for each impression of your ad, make sure you get your money’s worth. Be sure to look around at different websites for pricing and policies before picking one site or exchange to host your banners. A careful evaluation of your alternatives will be invaluable in selecting the right website or exchange to host your ads.
Banner advertising can be a very viable business practice, as long as you are armed with the knowledge of how they work, and apply that knowledge when creating your advertising relationships with other websites.
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