A single advert placed in a single issue of a good trade magazine can have an impact. It’s a common mistake however to assume that an advert on a website can get a comparable response. Years of results have shown that this is not the case (“What happened? I had an advert running on that website for 12 months and can’t see any clickthroughs”).
Getting equivalent coverage to a print advert from website adverts requires huge exposure. From a magazine, you’d probably be happy to get enquiries equivalent to between a hundredth and a thousandth of the circulation. Online, it’s even harder; if you got enquiries from a thousandth of the advert views, that’d be quite a result. But magazines are offering that response to several dozen advertisers each issue. Few of them have websites which can offer hundreds of thousands of advert views each month. Most can only offer a fraction of that.
To get results from advertising on websites requires far greater numbers of page views than individual specialist websites can ever offer. To be successful, you need to be advertising on large numbers of websites simultaneously. This can only be done through advertising networks like the Google Display Network.
When we run such campaigns for clients, they’re often amazed at how broadly the adverts show. Not only are they surprised to find that the adverts ran on 100 or even 1000 sites, they’re surprised that the sites are quite respectable ones too. If combined with an element of retargeting, online display advertising can be effective and cheap. If you’ve been burned in the past by a media salesperson convincing you that using one website could be good value, don’t let it put you off online display advertising in general.