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Getting Started in Online Advertising
Sep 2015

Getting Started in Online Advertising


While it sometimes seems to have happened overnight, the Internet did take a little while to get its tentacles into our everyday lives – although nowhere near as long as many other technologies. For instance, to reach 50 million users, it took …

• Telephone 74 years
• Radio 38 years
• Television 13 years
• Internet 4 years
• Facebook 2 years

Today, the Internet is part of Americans’ daily media consumption. Therefore, if you’re not targeting the Internet with your advertising and marketing, you’re missing a piece of the puzzle.

The good news is, Internet advertising is relatively inexpensive compared to traditional advertising. A good way to wade into this newer medium is to take just 10% of your newspaper advertising budget and invest in the Internet – to start.

Where do you start?

Like any effective marketing campaign, the first step is to identify your potential customers and where they are “surfing” on the Net. These are potential places you will advertise/market your company and products.

Equally critical is that you determine your objective – again, just as with traditional marketing, it’s important to have a strategy. A low cost of entry does not necessarily justify being there. A focused approach to your marketing is always better than a scattershot approach, both online and in more traditional venues.

In the limited space you’ll have available, brand your company or product with your name, logo and tagline. And in this overwhelmingly visual medium, it’s also important to maintain a consistent look; even something as small as a color or font change can sometimes confuse the buying public.

The purpose of your online ad is to get the reader to do something – and that “something” is to click through to:

• Your website
• Your Facebook business page
• A video or ad that educates them about your product
• A coupon
• Sign up for your mailing list
• Subscribe to your eNewsletter

Placing your ad

It’s easy to be confused by the new terminology you’re going to encounter in online advertising. Here are some terms you should understand:

• Unique users – number of unduplicated readers to your site
• Impressions – how many times a user sees a banner ad
• Fixed or flat rate – standard rate based on supply and demand
• CPM – cost per thousand
• CPA – cost per acquisition
• CPC – cost per click (with many advertising opportunities online, you don’t pay unless someone clicks through to see what you’re all about)
• ROS – run of site (cheaper, can run anytime and anywhere)
• Fixed position – ad in a specific area such as top of the home page
• Banner ad – similar to a billboard (small amount of copy across the bottom or top of a web page)
• Rich media – an ad that is animated producing a TV-like experience
• Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – paying for a service to appear at the top of a search for your industry key words
• Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – a way of developing a website with key words and links to popular sites that will help the site organically rise to the top of the search engine

Start with one website that appears to be a good fit for your campaign objective, and then evaluate the results. You may decide to change your headline to see if you can achieve better results (called “split testing” or “A/B testing”). As you find success with one ad on one website, you may want to search out other similar sites on which to place your ad. Further A/B testing may be necessary on the second (and subsequent) sites, as their audiences may be slightly different.

Simple Tips for Designing Your Ad

• Consider the space. Don’t overcrowd with wording.
• Remember the medium. You don’t need to include your website address, just a link to “click here.”
• Keep the message simple and direct.
• Consider color and art to draw the reader’s eye.

Return on Investment

As with all advertising, it’s important to track results from the ad. The website on which you placed the ad should be able to report the number of users, click-throughs, etc. If you set up a special link just for this ad, you can track responses that translated to sales.

Review the effectiveness of the Internet ad, as compared to your newspaper advertising. Adjust as necessary until you find the perfect mix.

Unlike other advertising, in online marketing you know exactly who looked at your ads, how many people, etc. It’s far more trackable. (Yet reports can be information overload, so you need to be able to sort through to get to the meat in terms of ROI.)


Becoming an Internet advertising and marketing pro is not particularly difficult, although it can be more time-consuming than anticipated. We invite you to share your success stories with us. And if you need help managing it all, we’d welcome the opportunity to make your entry into online advertising a successful one.

WhiteHOT, Inc. is led by owner Phil Clouser, a seasoned creative director with over 25 years in sales and marketing. Whether you’re doing a full-blown campaign or a single project, we do it more competitively than the big agencies. That’s the advantage of our streamlined, boutique approach. We are aggressive as well as responsive. We’ll meet with you, analyze your goals and expectations, design your project, and expedite it before the “big guys” assign a team and traffic number. Call Phil today at 609-577-4314 to get the best value for your money, without the aggravation!

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