In a previous post I presented the Basic Principles of Online Marketing. What you need to know from that post is that there are three types of marketing, communications and advertising. These previous posts concentrated on owned marketing and media, earned marketing and media and paid marketing and media. I went on to explain the 4 main families of ad formats and this post concentrates itself specifically on the platforms on/through which online advertising is delivered.
Many platforms you know for what they are, others are under your nose and you haven’t noticed or realised them for what they are. Websites and search engines are but two types. There are at least 7.
These are the websites on which we as users expect to find advertising. They are the online equivalent of newspapers, magazines, radio and television. They produce content for a living, content for our enjoyment. They make their revenues mostly off of the advertising they sell, and in some cases off content subscriptions. These cover a wide spectrum of contents. We’ll find all manner of integrated and floating display advertising as well as video ads on these sites and sometimes you’ll see text ads. This of course excludes all other websites such as government, corporate and educational – but a few sites fall into a grey area which I’ve named “Service Websites.”
These are websites we turn to for specific and timely information. This is not where we’ll spend time enjoying ourselves or learning something. These websites are directories (like yellowpages.ca), classifieds (like kijiji.ca and autotrader.ca), personals (like lavalife.com), weather (like weathernetwork.ca) and any other such site where we visit only when the need arises and stay until we find what we’re looking for or when we convince ourselves somewhere else will offer the answer faster. Over a month, we may return often or not – depending on the regularity of the need. On most of these sites, visits will last longer than on content sites because we’re here to find something so we’ll look until we find it.
These sites make most of their revenues on text-type ads (directory listings, classified ads…) as well as with integrated display. They oftentimes shy away from floating display ads.
Important note regarding clicks on these sites. Oftentimes advertising on these sites is indistinguishable from its content. Since people come here looking for a piece of information and the advertising is very relevant to the content on these sites, clicks are much more meaningful than those coming from content sites where often consumers view the ads as a distraction but a necessary one.
You only find text ads on search engines of which Google comprises the principal portion, but also include Bing, Yahoo, Ask and a few others. Ads here are bought predominantly on clicks.
Most content and service sites have periodic newsletters they send out to their member base. Advertisers can buy display or text ads in these based on CPM pricing.
Most websites, both content and service ones, have more and more a mobile version of their sites on which can be run most types of display advertising and text advertising. Even floating display advertising is on the horizon for mobile sites. Also with a mobile platform are search engines and directories. Most formats here are a lot smaller than on a regular website, that is to fit the screen. At this time (fall 2011) mobile display advertising is sold predominantly on a CPM basis in Canada due to overall lack of inventory – the situation is worse yet in French Canada. This will however change over the next year as most of the feature phones are traded up to smartphones. CPC is obtainable through large scale mobile ad networks like AdMob and on mobile search.
Video gaming consoles:
Not necessarily a platform you think of for online advertising, most gaming consoles have Internet connectivity and this allows for some either marketing integration or some type of display advertising. Further many game developers integrate display advertising opportunities within their games which you can target when users are playing online with other players (with XBox Live or similar possibilities). These are usually available in sports or automotive games. You can target pretty exactly the audience you’re looking for on gaming consoles as to gain access to the connected network, users must subscribe and in doing so give up a lot of personal information. You can further enter into discussions with game developers directly to integrate into the games people will buy – to be part of the game whether users are connected or not – however this leaves little flexibility in the way of messaging and you much understand that the game could be played for a number of years with the same product / visibility.
Digital Out Of Home (DOOH):
At the crossroads or the web and traditional out of home, digital out of home allows internet’s targeting and display possibilities with large-screen / large-audiences of traditional billboards. This began with mall advertising and then on to restaurants and bars, colleges and sports complexes and now office building elevators. Today we find high-resolution DOOH billboards (not old-style light boards) on the side of highways that render seemingly HD quality imaging without the costly production costs associated with OOH.
The next post will be about online targeting options.