Banners for (SEM) Dummies Part 1

Banners for (SEM) Dummies

I used to work forĀ  mainline consultants. We were very specialised and very good at what we did. We all drank the “search” elixir and laughed at the poor click rates and conversion rates that our counterparts at the online display (banner) agency were getting. Search is still (and probably will always be) one of the strongest online vehicles due to its “double opt-in” nature–a user has to not only type in a relevant keyword to trigger your ad, but read the ad copy and click it before you are charged. The ROI and ROAS of that delivery method has proven itself…thus, most online marketing budget allocation has a huge portion going to Search.

I remember one distinct marketing meeting with a large client where all of the various agencies were reporting their numbers; the print folks had their presentation, then broadcast, then online display, etc. When they got to us, everyone in the room was amazed at our success rates. I left that meeting vowing to never, ever, ever run display campaigns. It was all Search for me!

Only later did I realise I had been doing display for years!

When I set up Summit Online Marketing a full-service digital agency last year, it dawned on me that I had been doing display advertising all along via Content campaigns in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. DUH, right? Because Content (and later Site [Placement] Targeting) was offered by search engines, I had rolled it all up to Search. Big mistake!

Now that I’m a fully integrated digital marketer (my agency manages search, display, mobile, email, digital out-of-home, analytics, affiliates, etc.), I truly believe in the value of display/banner marketing… not only for direct response, but especially for branding and reaching users at the front end of the buying cycle. Remember, search relies on users to actively be querying a search engine to trigger ads. If no one knows to type in your keywords, then your Search efforts are sunk. Thus, banners can be a SEM pro‘s best friend!

With the news that Google will be expanding the features of its Content Network, I thought it might be good to share some banner insights to SEM pros that are using Content now so they know what the future might hold for this kind of targeting. Google has already begun to open up their Content offering to allow advertisers to use third party ad servers and these tools have important features that will change the landscape of Content.

(More to follow on Monday)

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