Web marketing frog

Monday, November 28, 2005

Dismantling E-Business Myths (Part V)

Myth No. 9: Online advertising is not efficient

Internet advertising is indisputably efficient. What's more, the Internet offers significant performance metrics, unlike other media. To take an example, in order to measure the impact and cost of a billboard following an extensive billboard campaign, agencies must rely on analyses of motor traffic passing the billboard and on brand-awareness polls.

On the web, it is obviously possible to calculate the number of impressions per banner ad (equivalent to an analysis of motor traffic, but in real time) and you can measure the increase in brand-awareness just as you would with any other media. However, the web also allows to you to determine how many people were sufficiently interested in your ad to click on it (known as click-through ). In addition, online advertising makes it possible for you to collect precious personal information about people who clicked on your ad and who went so far as to complete a questionnaire specifically targeted to their profile. Once this happens, you can initiate a dialogue with your customer, which is very difficult to do, if not impossible, with other media.

Another important feature of web advertising is customer segmentation. Thanks to the Internet, you can pinpoint the precise audience targeted by your ad. This characteristic introduces the concept of “one-to-one marketing” or relationship marketing.

The web also happens to be a medium particularly rich in advertising concepts. You can broadcast videos on the web, as BMW did with its Guy Ritchie ads. The web also makes it possible for you to carry out “advergaming,” which is a type of advertising that links video games with publicity, as demonstrated by Miller Lite. Furthermore, you can choose from numerous banner ad formats that can be static, animated or even interactive. It is equally possible to carry out e-mail marketing. In any case, one of the most powerful advantages of online advertising is the opportunity to build a database containing priceless information about your customers.

Is online advertising truly efficient? According to an article by Janis Mara published on ClickZ, online ads have an obvious effect on in-store sales.(1) She notes that when at least 5% of an advertising budget is allocated for online publicity, the returns on this investment outdo other media by 30% in terms of generating sales.

As for cost, the web is very advantageous compared to other advertising media. In fact, if the other media benefited from the accuracy of web metrics, their costs would very certainly drop.

Myth No. 10: An online presence is all you need to drum up business

Having an online presence is undoubtedly an important step towards eventually selling online. However, many other elements contribute to ensuring an efficient presence. First of all, customers must be able to find you on the web and they will most frequently do so via search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN. To achieve ideal positioning on these search engines, you must use referencing techniques to optimize your site and its content. Next, you must ensure that your web site meets the needs of Internet users in terms of ease of navigation (ergonomics), functionality (functional analysis) and content (density analysis and content relevance analysis). Lastly, once customers have completed a transaction, wouldn't you like them to return again? In this case, it would be time to discuss Customer Relationship Management (CRM), relationship marketing (e-mail marketing) and loyalty programs. As you can see, having a web site is only a single element in a comprehensive strategy.

he web is enriched daily with tens of thousands of new sites and existing sites are continually perfecting and refining their online presence. The web is growing larger and more complex with each passing day. This is why your web presence must continue to evolve on the basis of its own internal criteria, but also in response to its changing environment.

(1) - Janis Mara, New Study Links Online Ads, In-Store Sales, ClickZnews, March 2004
This article was originally written in French and have been translated by Wendy Wolbert

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