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Where B2B IT Web Advertising Works Best, and Why:
Key Word Ads on Search-engines like Google are Not a Substitute for Ads in focused Trade Publications

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor STORAGEsearch - April 22, 2004

I often talk to B2B computer advertisers who after disappointment with search-engine advertising ask me why advertising in a portal such as STORAGEsearch.com should be any better?

They get hits, from their key word advertising but not much business.

I'm not surprised. I wrote an article about why good search-engine results aren't a substitute for real advertising some years ago. That was from a search engine optimization viewpoint. But the argument is the same for key word ads. Here's what you need to know.
  • readers who regularly use a portal, tend to be more experienced in their market. The more senior the buyer the more likely they are to use trusted publications rather than waste time trawling round the web at random. These are the people who could be your most valuable customers. After 13 years of publishing computer directories it's something our advertisers already know.
  • most of our own readers each month (ACSL is a leading IT directory publisher) come from their bookmarks or one of our other publications. They don't come from a preceding search-engine. So they are never going to see your key word ad. It's true that we do get thousands of new readers every month from search-engines ourselves (based on our rich content and tens of thousands of external links here) but most of these new readers tend to stick and don't go back via the search-engine route again unless they can't find what they want here. And then they are most likely to just go to another bookmarked site.
  • sales and marketing people search for companies in a different way to most end users. You know the name of your company. You know what you sell. End users don't know you or your company, or may have a fuzzy idea at best. That's why they prefer starting from directories, news and articles which start out in a place they know.
  • search-engines work well for consumers who don't have time to research the focused publications for every passing interest they have. And they work well for young people starting out in their careers. And they work well if you have an infrequent B2B subject you need to research. But your customers aren't stupid. Once they find a relaible complete portal which covers the subjects they're interested in that's where they will return. That's where portal focused advertising does most good.

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Zsolt Kerekes - Publisher
Zsolt Kerekes, is the editor of STORAGEsearch
India's secret army of online ad 'clickers'

An article in the Times of India reports how Google is being affected by intermediary affiliate sites which make money by clicking on ads - regardless of what they are about.

There has always been fraud associated with pay for click advertising - right back to the earliest days of the web with ClickExchange. That's why you should be wary of such schemes. Affiliated sites which you know nothing about will generate streams of expensive and useless pageviews which soak up your ad budget without getting results.

As a publisher ACSL has always believed that the only reason you should ever renew your web advertising is because you're getting good business results.
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