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Working With Ad Networks and Maximizing Your Site's Reach
With a limited advertising budget, you've got to make every penny count. Working with carefully selected ad networks can maximize the effectiveness of your advertising dollars.
How Most Ad Networks Work
Ad networks were once uncommon. Businessweek estimated that in 2008, ad networks only received 30 percent the money spent on online advertising. However, ad networks have quickly grown in popularity because they offer effective advertising at cheap rates.
Many ad networks only charge when a visitor clicks on your advertisement. Some ad networks only charge if the results of their advertising leads a visitor to buy a product or fill out a form. Traditional websites often charge for every viewer of your advertisement.
An ad network can use a network of hundreds of websites to target a specific type of individual. However, you can't always specify where your ad will appear. You may find the trade-off to be worth it if you have a limited budget.
Choosing an Ad Network
There are hundreds of ad networks, but they can be divided into three basic groups. Blind networks offer the cheapest advertising options. The trade-off is you can't specify where your ads will run. A blind network functions by buying large blocks of advertising. If you chose a blind ad network, be sure the network allows you to opt-out of specific websites. Blind networks are the most popular and most common ad networks.
Vertical networks give you greater advertising control. These ad networks function like traditional website advertising. You will know where your ads will run and will usually have premium ad spaces on a page. Vertical networks offer high quality traffic, but costs can be high. These ad networks often use revenue sharing.
Target networks use new technologies, such as contextual or behavioral targeting, to reach visitors. They can be highly effective but only work if you can clearly identify who you want to target. The New York Times notes that new privacy laws could greatly affect how target ad networks function. If enough users choose to opt-out of sharing information, this type of ad network could become useless.
Consider looking at websites you admire for ad network leads. If your website or product is geared to a specific industry, choose an industry-specific ad network. You may be on the same ad network as your competitors, but you're guaranteed to find more people interested in your product. If you're advertising your website just to gain more readership, choosing an industry-specific ad network is essential.
If you're interested in mobile advertising, make sure that the ad server works with most smart phones. Mobile ad networks are often buggy and difficult to integrate into mobile websites. Make sure that the ad network you chose is enticing, not aggravating, users.
Maximizing Your Website's Exposure
After you've chosen an ad network, use the provided tools to maximize your site's exposure. Frequency capping is an essential tool to ensure your advertising is effective. Your ad network should let you limit how many times a specific user sees your ad. This practice allows you to reach a wider audience.
If you have advertising that uses a storyline, sequencing ads is an important functionality. Sequencing allows you to use a series of ads to target a user. Sequencing ads is also useful if you want to reinforce an advertising message.
Be sure to target users based on their IP addresses if you have a highly local business. Local businesses, such as lawn care services or building contractors, should only pay to advertise in their area. By targeting only the city or county where your business is located, you can attract more local visitors.
The most essential feature of any ad network is the ability to tailor your campaign. Examine data from your reporting software and ad network closely. If you can pinpoint who is clicking on your ads, you can better focus your efforts.
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