Tracking Advertising Online Provides Success

May 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Anderson - Also by this author

Making your Web advertising trackable and measurable is just as important as conceiving a new and exciting offer. As I mentioned in my last article, branding yourself on the Web should be at the top of your marketing to-do list. The second part involves measurability of your results. Last month, I discussed an example of effective Web branding – the “1-800-FLOWERS.COM” story. After they conceived the name change from “1-800-FLOWERS” to “1-800-FLOWERS.COM,” their next step was putting in strategies to evaluate the effectiveness of a wide variety of Internet marketing strategies. Simply implementing a Web-centric marketing strategy is never good enough by itself. Businesses must have reliable and consistent ways of tracking results.
The same perils seen in television advertising will become apparent on the Web in the not too distant future. A lot of what direct marketers have learned on television, radio, mail and print translates extremely well to Web accountability. Throwing a branded advertisement out with no real call to action and no trackable way for the customer to act immediately will not produce positive results. Advertisers had this attitude toward television 20 years ago, but when advertisers realized that people were watching and the ads worked, the inevitable happened. As audiences increased, ad rates went up and time became more valuable and sought after.

Once there was a measurable amount of proof the ads were working, everyone wanted in. The same thing is beginning to happen on the Web. Some click-through rates in other industries including mortgage and real estate would make you shudder. The best thing about the Internet is its inherent accountability. Every click can be counted and every visitor logged, but you have to know how to make this information work for you. Businesses must develop strategies to get ahead of the curve. Get better before the market forces you to get better. That is how businesses feast on market share?

Banner advertising offers the widest range of placement choice to any marketer, so it’s a great place to start. Contact a third party advertising network to track the effectiveness of your banner ads. One example of a company that does this is Commission Junction. This may sound like an easy solution to problematic accountability, but the Web is far too complex to accomplish this task alone. A third party network will give you precise control over the ad. An advertiser can look at a campaign report, see that a particular banner or site is performing miserably, and change the ad or the allocation. Every customer that contacts you through the Web comes from a traceable location. Why not make sure you are completely correct in identifying that location and proving which banners or Web-marketing choices work best?

You may feel like an outsider looking in when it comes to Web advertising because it isn’t your core business. However, it boils down to the same two key questions. How good is my message? How good is my tracking? They are simultaneous and interchangeable, and if you master them you will create a gap between yourself and the competition that is impassable. Think about how well you can execute both. No matter how advanced our technology becomes, these questions will never change. So, take the time now to develop a strategy that will work for you and give you a huge advantage over your competitors.   

Vol 4, Issue 3

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