by Zsolt Kerekes,
Fantastic audio visual ad with pretty people and smiling faces gets
to the punchline:- click to
Hold on a second. Reality check. Do you
really want to go there?
What comes to your mind
when you see a signpost to Slough?
For me it's the
stink of this UK Berkshire
town's sewage works as I drive past it as fast as possible on the M4
John Betjeman exhorted German bombers in WW2 with his poem
friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
More recently the
BBC tv series -
The Office uses Slough as the backdrop for its parody of soul-less office
Imagine being tasked with designing a web advertising campaign to
get more people to visit Slough. Even the best crafted ad can't change the long
established negative brand image of this detination. Do you really want to go
That's the problem (and challenge) with web ads in general.
Making the ad believable and giving sane rational readers a
credible reason to go there and see what lies at the end of the click.
advertisers don't understand that. And that's why their ads don't work as well
as they should.
|As a publisher we've
been very fortunate over the years, getting a good flow of new advertisers,
while keeping most of our long established ones. The new ones sometimes present
a problem, because the first contact we have is when they place the order. |
seen our web site and know what we do. But when we look at their web site, it's
not always clear what their main strengths are and which way they are heading.
We need to know this, and communicate it to our readers for their advertising to
work. That's an interesting process, and one of the satisfactions I get is
helping our customers see themselves through the eyes of a potential buyer.
been selling web advertising since 1996, which is nearly as long as the industry
itself has existed. When I'm asked "What is web advertising?"
or "What can web advertising do?" my answer today is pretty much the
same as it was six years ago when I figured it out based on my own experience
as a buyer and seller. (In those days we advertised a lot on search-engines -
although we don't any more.) My answer to those questions has nothing to do
with banner ads, pop ups or any other visual artifice.
You should think
of web advertising as signposting.
A potential customer can buy
products like yours from thousands of different companies. Whatever motivates
them to look on the web for information about products or suppliers is not
important. Maybe they're unhappy with their supplier. Maybe they need to do some
research to to keep their boss happy with a few facts for his budget. Maybe
they have a budget approved and need to place an order today. Maybe they're
looking for a new job. It doesn't matter. It's the fact they're looking that's
important. That's your opportunity to make it easier and quicker for them to
become aware of you and what you do, compared to the thousands of other
companies in your market segment.
should give a concise and accurate idea of what they can expect to find when
they get there with that precious click. What happens after that, is another
matter. But creating awareness of your site as a possible destination before
they plan to travel there, is very important. Leaving the signposts permanently
visible and easy to find is also important. They may not want to go there today,
but they need to know that when they have that need, they can easily find the
That's why short term on-again off-again advertising is
a waste of money.
Say you advertise on a portal for a couple of
months. Thousands of readers see your ad, but maybe they don't have a need to
buy your product just yet. Then your advertising budget runs out so your stop
advertising for 3 months. But readers are still going back to those portals.
Someone saw information about your company but they can't remember the details.
They know that they saw your ads on their favorite portal. But when they go back
they can't find you. Shoot. Well, that's a disappointment, but there are other
suppliers and a few minutes research will take them somewhere else. And the
number two choice also does the job. You were the number one choice they would
have explored. But you removed the signpost. And, unlike print,
the web has no
memory for your past ads.
So - web advertising doesn't necessarily
sell your product. A banner ad is not going to sell a million dollar
solid state disk system for
example*. But it tells buyers where they can go. And following the signposts is
faster than just drifting aimlessly around.Your potential customers don't have
time to waste on undirected supplier research. They follow the well worn grooves
on the map, which are the roads that others have travelled down the web before.
There's no point in you developing a good destination, if you make it hard to
Customers want to buy stuff. You just have to make it easy.
That's all there is to it.
* re - A banner ad is not going to sell a million dollar solid state
disk system for example... Just to set the record straight. I did run
web ads for million dollar solid state storage systems on StorageSearch.com
and they did generate leads to sell those products. But they weren't banner
ads. For more see advertising
...Later - footnotes:- this article was published on
MarketingViews March 7, 2003. In
the original header I used the example of Basingstoke - which is a yukky
characterless modern town nearest to where I was living at the time. But Slough
suits the mood better. The main article text hasn't been changed.
-In 2004 -
Zavaleta at University of Texas at
Austin - School of Information created a great powerpoint presentation
Ads & Advertising (ppt) which included a reference back to this
article. Her article is extremely good. Due to my own doziness - I only noticed
this fact 4 years later in October 2008. But good concepts are timeless as well
|SSD Market Analysts |
been a very long wait!|
had predicted today's buzzing
SSD market way back in the 1750s before
most homes had PCs (or even electricity).
|Like ghostwriters - their
identities remain largely unknown - even when their works are widely read.|
|PR Agencies - the list