I have been rigorously doing some online advertising (mostly PPC) to promote various landing pages for the past few months. It was definitely a costly experiment with some modes of advertising returning many fold where as some PPC advertising channels just hogged my budget without returning even a cent.
This short article is about the advertising methodologies and channels that I used and the effectiveness of the same. Needless to say, Google AdWords is still the best option in terms of RoI though it can be really expensive if not careful. Facebook ads, as I mentioned sometime ago, can be cheap or expensive based on your delivery model but ineffective for conversion either way.
Online Advertising Options and effectiveness
(Most effective one on top of the list)
1. Google AdWords Search advertising
AdWords’ advertising directly on Google Search results (Text ads) is the most expensive but definitely most effective and conversion oriented PPC advertising option. In some cases, I was lucky enough to get even one out 5-6 clicks getting conversions but at the same time each click cost a fortune. Also, the other major challenge is to optimize your ads and landing pages (read on AdWords landing page Quality score) in a way that it reduces CPC (cost per click) and get listed on top of the SERP as against the side bar.
(Opting Search partners did not yield much or I could not make enough study on the same)
2. Optimized search targeted ads on own blog
If you can do a good job of placing relevant ads along with your searched contents, then that is the best option to sell your products. Moreover, you can control the way the ads can appear and when. Obviously, this can be tricky but I use certain custom-made plugins in order to effect this and it really works.
3. Google AdWords display network – Managed placements
So you are not as famous as Amit Agarwal and you do not get the kind of traffic Labnol.org gets. What do you do? There’s nothing better than using his AdWords space to market your products. I found this to be the next best option and gives you the possibility to advertise on exactly those blog ad spaces you prefer.
4. Google AdWords display network – Automatic relevant placement
This is the next best option if you do not have patience to search and place your AdWords ads exactly where you want them to be. However, you might end up spending a lot of money on junk sites, if you are not very careful and in no time your daily budget will be over.
A couple more points to add to the AdWords options:
- Though mobile ad options are booming, I didn’t see any visible good clicks from mobile ads
- Regardless of how great your keyword selection and ad quality is, you will end up paying a lot if your landing page quality is poor and irrelevant
- There has to be multiple campaigns for the same product promotion and a combination of text and image ads
5. Private ads on selected blogs / websites
Directly purchasing ads on relevant blogs and websites is the 4th best option, in my experience. If your budget is low, it makes sense to avoid bigger sites and go for multiple mid-size sites. And also, most of the time, it doesn’t make sense to purchase those 125×125 slots in a cloud of 8 or 10 ads but a standing out banner, though slightly more expensive, might help.
(Since MSN AdCenter and Yahoo Search Advertising do not accept most of the non-US advertisers, I could not experiment with them. Probably they deserve to be in the 4th or 5th place)
6. Facebook advertising
My experiments with Facebook advertising did not really result in any sales but looks like some amount of leads generation and brand building can be achieved via the same. I spend some money with it but Facebook ads are not as good as AdWords in my experience. I still believe that Facebook is meant for indirect advertising and branding via Facebook fan pages (Read: Facebook fan page create)
7. AdBrite, Bidvertiser etc
I spent some money last month with AdBrite, after a shot slap from Google AdWords but there was absolutely no benefit out of that. Unlike Google AdWords, it is very hard to do proper placement and keyword management with the second-rung PPC options. As for Bidvertiser, I had done some experiments a year or so ago, but it had pretty much the same results as AdBrite. Both these have rather relaxed approach while picking publisher spaces and that can hurt the advertisers.
Due to lack of budget and/or time, I couldn’t try various other PPC options such as Chitika and Infolinks. However, I doubt if they can be as good as AdWords anyhow. At the moment, Google AdWords ands selected private advertising campaigns seem to be best approach – at least among the options that I tried. Let me know your experiences with PPC advertising.