Web Site Marketing - Return of The King: The Banner Ad

by Robert K. McCourty

All SEO Articles

This article from The Mender (Issue 41),
Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter.


Remember all the speculation few years ago surrounding banner ads? They were too expensive. No return on investment. A thing of the past. Gone the way of the dinosaur. Well actually dear reader, banner ads have never disappeared. They actually seem to be more popular than ever.

The simple banner has morphed like a chameleon on plaid into several different colors, flavors, shapes and sizes. Remember, the ad part of banner ad stands for advertising. Ads as an entity on the Internet have proliferated to the point of saturation. You can rarely visit a web site which does not have some form of advertising on it.

Let's look at a few forms of the new, improved, banner ad. Pop-up and pop under windows. Not withstanding the annoyance they cause, these things seem to be everywhere. Someone had to purchase that space in the first place, so they must think they work? Personally I've -never- clicked on one out of sheer principal. I don't want to encourage this type of marketing, but nonetheless, they seem to be popular, even CNN uses them. The point being, people are buying them.

Another new form of banner ad has the advantage of being disguised in a box shape. Google Adwords and other similar 'little boxes' are everywhere. These type of banners are designed to show up when someone types in a key term relevant to the text chosen for the ad by the advertiser. e.g. I buy a Google Adword (banner) that only pops up when someone visits the Google search engine or one of its affiliate partners, of which there are thousands, and types in the word widget. Up pops my ad. If you click on the ad it costs me money and directs you to my web site so I am taking the chance that you will buy something once you visit.

Another form of Banner Ad is cleverly disguised as a mere text link. Oh yes, it's true. Some come right out and tell you that they are "sponsored" links, which is a nice way of saying someone is paying for that link, while others simply show up near the top of listings with a small disclaimer underneath stating links supplied by widgetsearch.com. Very sly and slick. In the background however, someone has either bought that link space outright or bid like an auction sale to get the highest placement... Literally buying their way to the top. This can prove to be a highly expensive proposition, but some swear that the targeted traffic it brings is worth the coin spent. Discussing the Return on Investment (ROI) for various ad programs is an entirely different subject for a future article. For better or worse let's say that banner ads, in all manner of persuasion, are here to stay. So why not capitalize on this aspect of Internet marketing?

One way to do this is by joining affiliate programs. There are thousands from which to choose and if you select one which enhances or is related to the subject matter on your site, you stand to make some income merely by having a small clickable banner on your site. Each time someone clicks on it, you may either get a penny or two or a commission if the visitor then goes on to purchase something on the linked site. Either way, you earn revenue. Some sites on the web specialize in finding and listing affiliate programs. I won't mention any specific sites here but visit any search engine and type in "Affiliate Programs." You'll be swamped.

Multilevel marketing programs abound on the web. You join, get a downline and everyone above you gets a piece of the action. I would not classify these types of programs as true affiliate programs, but rather multilayered. I would not recommend these types of programs. They are often a lot of work and provide a very slow return for your time and efforts.

A true affiliate program allows you to stand alone. Putting an affiliate banner on your site and hoping for the best is one way to do it, but the more effort and marketing you put into the program, the greater your chance of rewards. Let's assume you've signed up for a program where you earn revenue by redirecting people to a car dealer. Tell your friends about it. Join a chat or newsgroup where cars is the subject. A few moments a week can bring more traffic to your site and a few more clicks on that affiliate ad. Spend some time marketing your affiliate program. You only reap what you sew, when it comes to affiliate programs and the new and improved banner ads. Try one on for size. Hey, if you can't lick them, join them! Why let everyone else earn all the money?


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