Three Questions to Ask Before Buying Banner Advertising on a Website

Buying banner advertising on websites is a very popular method of online advertising. To put it simply, it is the act of placing a banner ad about your business, products or services on another website for a fee. Banner advertising can be effective and profitable, but before you do decide upon buying ad space, ask yourself these 3 questions.

Does the Website Have Any Traffic?
The main reason you advertise on a website is exposure, and if a website does not have visitors, then you likely won’t get that exposure.

Most websites that sell advertising space on a regular basis have information about their site that will help you make a decision. This information is found in a Media Kit, that you can download or send an email or contact request for.

So the first thing you can do if you want to advertise on a website is see if they have a page where you can find, download or request for that information.

The Media Kit typically has an overview of their visitors, with general traffic figures, the types of advertising they accept, rates and other advertising terms. Some may go into more detail and reveal visitor demographics.

So what about the ther web sites that do not offer a Media Kit? You can ask the website owner or administrator for traffic information.  Ask them for a copy of their Google Analytics stats. If they refuse, then take your business elsewhere. If they do agree to give you Google Analytics data, try to get data for the last 3-6 months. What you are trying to determine is consistency of traffic, and what their general traffic sources are. A good sign that a site is a great place to advertise on is if they have consistent traffic and a huge number of them come from Google searches, and referrals from other websites.

Is the Website’s Traffic the Type of Traffic You Want?
Sometimes it is not about the quantity, but the quality of visitors. You need to verify if the visitors the website gets are the type of visitors you want to reach out to and would be interested in your products or services. This is where demographic information can come in handy. A website that regularly sells banner ad space almost always has information about their visitors like gender, age, status.. or even education and individual or household income.

If a website cannot provide you with such information, you can try various free tools online that can give you insight into their visitors, one tool you can use is the Google Ad Planner. To use it, all you need to do is type in website you want to do research on in the space, then hit the blue arrow beside it. You will also see traffic estimates using Google Ad Planner but this will not be as accurate as the site’s own traffic statistics.

Is the Price, Right?
There are typically three ways you can pay for banner advertising.  One, is simply an agreed fixed rate on a monthly or weekly basis. The second is by CPM, short for cost per thousands where you pay an amount for every 1000 impressions of your banner. An impression is one instance when your banner ad was displayed because the page it is found on was loaded on a visitor’ browser, which is what happens when a visitor landed on that page. So if the rate is 50 cents CPM, and you get 1000 impressions in a day, you pay a total of $5 for that day for those impressions. Third is per click, where you pay for every click your banner ad gets. There is no “better” means among the three, and it would depend on your costs and conversions and your being able to determine which method gives you the least expense per conversion.

Rates for banner advertising are not regulated, so a website can actually charge as much as they deem they are worth. What’s funny is some websites charge too much for ad space even if they do not have the traffic to make the placement worth the expense.

So one way to really be able to get a grasp how much to pay is to first get rates from different websites and make a note of how much traffic they get, and what kind of traffic they have. This will give you an idea what the rates are for websites of a certain size and who get a certain amount of traffic. You also do not need to target high traffic websites, you can find smaller websites that have fewer traffic, but it’s visitors may be the exact market you want to reach.

More than just getting traffic through advertising, you want to get converting traffic; visitors that becomes leads or customers.

That said, it is important to note that different websites may charge different rates, and at the end of the day you don’t go with the website that offers the best price, but the website that delivers an ROI.

What you would need to do is always ask to do a small test first before taking on a full blown ad package. This way you can determine if the traffic you get converts. As a test, you can run ads for a week or two and spend less. This way you get a sample of their traffic and determine if that web site’s visitors will respond favorably to your banner ad and your products/services offered, without you having to pay the full advertising amount.

If the website does not allow tests, ask them if carry an opt out clause in your contract, which will allow you to cancel your arrangement within a certain span of time if the advertising placement does not work for you, does not yield any conversions (leads or sales) for you. You will then only need to pay for advertising for the duration that your banner ad was live on the site.

To be a smart website or online business owner, you need to make some smart decisions especially with online advertising. Smart decisions can only be made if you have the necessary information that help you make an informed decision to do a small test, that if upon delivering good results, you can then scale up into a full blown banner ad campaign on that website, taking advantage of their visitors whom you have found to be that targeted audience you seek for what it is you are offering.

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