Thinking Outside of the Paid Search Box

6/28/2011

- Katherine Bennett, Campaign Manager

When most companies think of internet marketing, they think of paid search text ads that run on Google, and the Search Alliance (MSN/Bing and Yahoo). Few dare to think of the plethora of opportunities that lie outside of the paid search box. If your paid search campaigns have squeezed every ounce of growth out of traditional paid search text ads, then don’t fret. There is still opportunity for growth; it’s just outside of the paid search box.

Unsung heroes that can produce growth include banner ads. They are versatile and can be used for site targeting, behavioral targeting and remarketing. Site targeting allows a company to pick and choose the sites they want their banner ads to be displayed on, within a particular network. For example, let’s say your company is a garden supply store and you want to run a site targeting campaign in Google. Google will show you the available sites on their network for which your company can run advertisements. Your company can sift through the list and pick out sites that relate to garden supplies. Once your initial sites have been chosen, your banner ads will only be displayed on those sites. This allows your company to expand its reach to a select group of sites that are related to your target audience.

Behavioral targeting also utilizes banners, but reaches your audience in a different way. Instead of targeting by web sites, searchers are targeted by their behavior. Basically, your company selects from a list of behavior categories and your ads are shown to these searchers, as they browse the web within a particular network of websites. For example, if your company sells jewelry, then targeting a watch and jewelry shopper behavior category may be beneficial to your company. Next up is remarketing.

Remarketing may be one of the most valuable ways to use banners. Remarketing places a cookie on a user’s computer when they visit certain pages of your website that you choose to be tracked, but don’t take a conversion step… buy something, fill out a form, download a whitepaper, etc. Your ads will be served to them on various sites as they surf the web. Similar to behavioral targeting, but more niche, remarketing allows your display ads to target a searcher rather than a site.

Another place where banners can be used for growth is on Social Media sites. Both Facebook and LinkedIn support traditional banners which normally require a minimum spend amount. However, they do offer a banner ad hybrid. A hybrid ad includes a small logo or a picture with ad text next to or underneath it. It can be effective to run hybrid ads on these sites due to their advanced targeting features. Facebook allows companies and advertisers to target Facebookers via their demographics and their stated interests. On LinkedIn targeting includes: title/position, company name and industry. The benefit of using hybrid ads is the ability to target specific people within a certain community.

Another tool is video ads, which are essentially commercials. Video ads are increasing in popularity as more media, such as TV and movies are being viewed online. The good news is that video commercials can reach a targeted audience and don’t have the same high cost of TV commercials. Even better are the tracking capabilities. It’s actually possible to see how many people viewed your video ad and how much of the ad they watched.

It’s not a small world anymore and the opportunity to grow is practically immeasurable. There are many paid options, which are outside of the traditional paid search box that can amplify brand awareness and bottom line revenue. As your company looks to increase its online presence, consider the opportunities that hybrid, video and banners ads can deliver.

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