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Which Type of Online Ad is Best for You?

This is a guest post courtesy of Alicia Lawrence, Content Coordinator and Blogger at MarComLand. Enjoy!

The sheer number of ads online can be a bit mind-boggling. When you surf the Web, there are ads everywhere — on your home page, in your search results and on your Facebook newsfeed. With so many types of ads available, it can be difficult to determine which is right for you. Whether you’re new to online advertising or are a seasoned professional looking for a new approach, choosing an online ad can be difficult. Here are a few things to consider while you develop your online marketing campaign.

Trick Ads: Steer Clear

If you’re at all familiar with SEO, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that you want to avoid anything using the word “trick.” Trick ads are pretty self-explanatory when you think about it: they describe any type of ad that uses a bait-and-switch approach.

For example, a trick ad may display near where your search bar or home button would usually appear. The ad would also look similar to these items, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll click it by mistake. While trick ads may increase traffic at first, they’re not very effective in the long run and may hurt your page rank.

Ads with Standard Pricing or Pay-Per-Display Pricing

Some types of online ads use traditional pricing plans similar to those you may find with a newspaper or cable station. With these ads, you’ll pay a set rate for the number of times the ad is displayed over a period of time. Ads with a traditional pricing model include:

Cost-Per-Impression/Pay-Per-Impression (CPI/ PPI): With this type of plan, you’ll pay each time the ad — known as an impression — loads on a page.

Cost-Per-Mile/Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM): CPM is similar to the CPI/PPI plan, but priced in bulk. With CPM, you’ll pay a flat rate per thousand impressions.

You might consider an ad with a standard payment plan if the only thing that matters to you is increased exposure. For example, if you’re releasing a new TV series, it may be most important just for people to know about it. That way, they’ll be more likely to watch it when they’re flipping through the channels.

Ads with Pay-Per-Traffic Pricing

Other online ads are priced based on how many times a user clicks on the ad or visits the client’s websites. This means any time your ad is displayed but isn’t clicked, you’re more or less getting free advertising. Ads with pay-per-traffic pricing include:

Pay-Per-Click/Cost-Per-Click (PPC/ CPC): With a pay-per-click plan, you’ll only pay for the ad any time a user clicks on it.

Cost-Per-Action/Acquisition (CPA): In a CPA campaign, you pay each time a purchase — or another specified action — is done through an ad.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR): CTR is similar to PPC, but instead of paying for each click, you’re paying for the percent of clicks generated from the total impressions. For example, if your ad was displayed five times and was clicked once, your rate is 20%.

Pay-per-use or pay-per-traffic plans are useful for business where exposure alone isn’t a good measure of success. For example, say you’re advertising a school that offers a medical assistant diploma or bachelor’s degree. Page clicks show that people are actually learning about what the programs have to offer.

BIO: Alicia is a content coordinator for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land.