advertising your business online

With the internet becoming the source for, well, just about everything these days, it’s hard to run a successful business without utilizing it.  Online search is the #1 way consumers look for products and services in today’s world.  Over 200 million unique users visit the top 50 websites each month – serving up billions of display ads. Hence, advertising your business online is a highly recommended and useful advertising technique.

So maybe your company has some money set aside for some tradition search engine marketing (SEM) or some display advertising.  Or maybe you have one of those coupons for $100 in free Google AdWords.  Either way, here is some of the marketing lingo you should know before spending any money while advertising your business online.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing – This is when you pay to have your ad listed at the top of search results when people search for words or phrases you bid on.  If a user clicks on your search ad, you are charged the amount you bid.

Banner Ad / Display Ad – these are the advertisements on websites in the form of pictures – generally a long ad across the top of a website, or a square ad along the side.

Keywords – These are the words or phrases you bid on for a search campaign.   Keyword lists can be as broad or specific as you wish – from “hotel” to “Four Seasons Boylston Street Boston”

CPC – Cost Per Click – How much it costs for a user to click your ad and be directed to your website.  This is generally an average of the total amount spent and the total number of clicks to your website.  Some keywords cost much more than others.  For example, bidding on “hotel Boston” will cost much more than “semiconductor.”  If your business spent $500 on search advertising and received 350 clicks, your CPC would be $1.43.

Networks – A network is a collection of websites partnered together for advertising purposes.  For example, the Google Ad Network is quite large and includes all the websites that display Google advertisements on their websites.

Impressions – An impression is every time your ad is displayed.  For search marketing, an impression does not cost anything.  For display advertising, you are charged by the number of impressions, whether a user clicks the ad or not.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand (well, Cost Per Mille, which is Latin for thousand) – This is how display advertising is charged.  For every thousand impressions, the advertiser is charged a price – anywhere from $1 to $20 depending on the network of websites it is displayed on.

CTR – Click Through Rate – This is the number of times an ad is clicked on divided by the number of times it is seen (impressions.)  For example, if 500 users click on your ad that has 3,100 impressions, your CTR would be 16%.  Normal click through rates are closer to 1-5%.

CPA – Cost Per Action – Some advertising campaigns are based on a CPA pricing model.  In this model, the advertiser only pays when specific actions are taken by a user – such as a purchase, signup, or form submit.  For example, Company A might pay Company B for every user they get to sign up for Company A’s email list.   This cost could be anywhere from $1 to $50.

Demographics – This refers to the type of customers your company wants to target – whether it is an age group or location.

Behavioral Targeting – This refers to targeting your ads to customers that have shown a specific behavior, such as viewing lots of cooking websites or searching for cooking recipes.

Traffic Source – This refers to how a user comes to your website.

Direct Traffic – the user types in your URL in their browser

Referral Traffic – a user clicks on a link to your website from another website, such as an article or blog post

Search Traffic – a user finds your website through a search engine such as Google or Bing.

Social Traffic – a user clicks on a link to your website from a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter

Types of Display Ads:

Here are kinds of display ads that you would need to consider while advertising your business online.

Floating ad – an ad that is displayed above the content of the website and moves as the user scrolls.

Pop-up – those annoying ads that open in a new window on your computer

Pop-under – those slightly less annoying ads that open in a new window behind your current browser window

Wallpaper Ad – an ad that takes up the background of a website.

Banner Ad – an ad embedded into a website, in-line with the website’s content.

Map Ad – an ad on a map service such as Google Maps or Bing Maps

So whether you manage your advertising your business online on the weekends or hire a firm to do it for you – spend $50 or $5,000 – these are all terms you should know.  Online marketing is one of the most targeted and measured forms of advertising – and one of the least expensive in comparison to print and television.  Online marketing can really make or break any business – large or small, new or mature.



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