Banner ads, also known as display ads, are a great way to get your business some visibility online. According to ZenithOptimedia, this type of advertising is becoming the fastest growing ad subcategory and is growing by 13 percent each year. While there are plenty of websites that will partner with individual businesses who want to start advertising campaigns, knowing which site will attract the right visibility is a crucial skill. It's often tempting to simply choose the sites with the lowest ad rates or a broad topical agreement with your business.
However, the success of a display advertising campaign hinges on a marketer's ability to do adequate research into the potential partner websites. Here are questions marketers should ask themselves before launching into a digital banner ad campaign.
Are Our Audiences Compatible?
Put simply: If you can't imagine the readers of a particular blog or website patronizing the business you're looking to promote, chances are good that any eyeballs currently on the site won't be drawn to your banner ads. If you're promoting a hardware business, a celebrity gossip site likely wouldn't be a good partner, even if it does have a massive amount of traffic. An ad that runs on a website that features lifehacks, instructions for home projects — that would involve hardware store products — and other comparable posts would draw a much larger interested audience.
What Kind of Social Traffic Does This Site Get?
Though websites that want to partner with you will definitely tout their overall traffic metrics, be sure to examine how much of a website's traffic comes from social networking. Websites that create content that is heavily shared can get your message out to a greater number of users. The content gets shared and reshared and creates a wider pool of unique viewers, according to Chartbeat. Brands with large followings on Twitter — and Facebook, to a lesser extent — have an edge over the competition. They can get marketers a greater number of unique eyeballs for banner ads, which is essential for long-running campaigns.
Trying to Go It Alone?
Some websites get into the display advertising game by pitching to individual advertising partners. However, simply contacting websites that you would like to work with is usually not a great strategy. Working with a company that has an established display network ensures that your ad runs across a network that leverages multiple sites aimed at groups of people who match your target audience.
Though it can be difficult to choose sites when you are looking at forming partnerships for a banner ad campaign, you don't have to just hope for the best. Doing your research on brand alignment and tone is crucial, and taking a hard look at how websites gain most of their traffic will help you see which sites are best to partner with, and which are best passed over.