Hands up who’s paying for adverts on a third party website, like that from an industry journal or directory? Good for you. It takes quite a bit of effort to sort out those that are decent value for money, so well done for setting up the tracking required. I’m pleased that the results you’re seeing are so strong.
Because you are measuring the response from your links and banner adverts, aren’t you? Please tell me you are. The truth is, time and time again, advertising contracts get renewed without any analysis other than an ad sales rep saying something like “your ad got 20,000 hits (what?) this year, I assume you’ll be running it again?” And for some reason that seems to be enough to get an affirmative response.
Firstly, never, ever believe any stats quoted by publishers. Not because they’re made up or anything, but just because you can measure things yourself …so why would you even be remotely interested in data from their side of the fence? If measuring how many times your ads show is a bit complicated (and it needn’t be – ask me how), then measuring how many times they got clicked on is simplicity itself. Just look at the Traffic Sources in your Google Analytics. Bear in mind that there might be other links to you on their site, so any ads need to be tagged specifically (again, ask me how).
Then consider how much the traffic from the banner ads is worth. 50 clicks last month? Sounds pretty good. Until you consider that a visitor from something like AdWords might cost £2, and you paid £300 for the ad. If you’re thinking “yes, but clicks from that site should be brilliant quality” (and why not?), then start measuring conversions, such as forms being filled in or data sheets viewed.
More and more marketing managers seem to be starting each year with a clean slate, only booking advertising which has visibly proved itself. And with so much data available, surely that’s the way ahead. If you’ve got enough advertising budget to spend it on an unmeasurable hunch, that’s one heck of a generous advertising budget you’ve got there.