There are really very few places you can go nowadays where you cannot get internet service. Shuttle pilots regularly use it to communicate with people on the ground. We may also remember the researcher in Antarctica that used a web stream so she could operate on herself; and of course there’s you and all the other people like you wandering around with your iPod streaming this that and the other using all those wonderful apps. So whats in it for business?
The major attraction for businesses wanting to advertise on the internet is the cost. Rather the lack of it, per gained customer. Broken down this means that a company can readily reach a target market, if it’s done right, much quicker and at a lower cost than any other media out there. What companies do to achieve this is nothing short of remarkable, with whole industries now in vogue to simply fill the rapacious desire of all for a quick and profitable return on their ads. These ads range from full page, “in your face” pop-up or pop-under ads, you have tear type ads (those with the peeled corner look to them), simple text links, sponsored links, text embedded links, content as advertising, paid reviews as advertising… the list seems endless. Which it probably is, because as soon as a new wrinkle in technology comes about, then a new form of advertising on the internet comes into being to utilize it. How many of you have NOT gotten an unsolicited text message about something or other?
As with everything, there’s good and bad advertising on the internet. First let’s look at good advertising. Most consumers do their research on products and services online. A smart advertiser would use review-type sites to give readers useful feedback on the product being researched on. One tip would be to give “social-proof” type reviews. These are reviews done by actually users of a product or service. Reviews can be the side-by-side comparison or they can be the blog type where a user blogs about their experience with a product.
Now let’s look at bad advertising on the internet. A recent trend is to use fake blogs to entice readers to click on a link. These fake blogs (flogs) owners try to deceive their readers by providing a fictional account of them using a product or service. These flogs typically get compensated by sending the readers to a CPA (cost per action) offer. We see this a lot with “make money at home”, “teeth whitening”, and “acai diet” offers.
Another more recent form of bad advertising are the fake newspapers (phony gazettes). These landing pages are made to look like a legitimate online news site. To the casual reader, these phone gazettes have all the normal elements of a news site: city name, headlines, weather, videos of Barbara Walters… The only problem is that everything is fake. Like flogs, these phone gazettes monetize through CPA offers like “make money at home”, “acai berry diet”, and “colon cleansing”.
Then there is the old classic standby: emails from the UK or Nigeria claiming that there is an unclaimed pot of money that has the email recipient’s name on it. Sure the spam filters most of these emails out of the reader’s inbox. But the filters are not perfect because I still get emails telling me I’ve won the UK lottery (that doesn’t exist, incidentally) even though I’ve never entered such a thing.
When done right, using the right demographics and no Black Hat (this is the term used for using not so legal methods for market gain, audience attraction etc. that’s looked down upon by the majority of web denizens) techniques then advertising on the Internet should be the way for all smart marketers to go, whether for your teen’s dog grooming after school business (think local) or that corporate giant struggling (think Palm). It will work for you and your business. Just test, adjust, and test some more.