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Are Online Ads Worth The Cost?

Whenever you are surfing the internet looking for information you will see a plethora of online advertising offering virtually every conceivable product or service under the sun. As more people hit the information highway, often shunning traditional information sources such as print, television and radio, advertisers are also making the switch. Online advertising can a cost-effective method of reaching web surfers and getting their message in front of a different audience. One of the biggest advantages of online ads is also one of the biggest disadvantages. Online ads can reach a wider audience and if you have a global internet business can expand the boundaries of your customer base. In most cases you have the ability to determine the types of sites on which your online ads will appear, but in many instances once you place the ad, especially if going through an online ad agency, your site could end up on sites that are inconsistent with you beliefs.

If your business is strictly locally based; with print, television or radio advertising you can restrict the geographic locations where the ads will be heard or seen. For many local-only businesses, this type of target advertising reaches only those who are likely to be interested in your business and be reasonably expected to visit in person. It all depends on whether you want your advertising effort to have a shotgun effect or a rifle shot. While a shotgun approach can reach more people in the least amount of time in a much wider area, it will also have many of the ads whiz out into cyberspace with no contact with potential customers. With the rifle approach you can aim your advertising at a specific customer base and even with a potentially higher cost can often realize a better return on the advertising dollar.

When considering online advertising you have to look at the potential returns to determine if they are worth your investment. With internet advertising, as will many other forms, it is a numbers game. If you anticipate that 10 percent of those who see the ad will respond and ten percent of those respondents will result in a sale, you should consider that 10,000 advertisement in print media would see 1,000 respondents resulting in 100 sales. With online ads, your advertisement may reach a million viewers, resulting in 100,000 respondents and 10,000 sales. Weighing these purely hypothetical numbers would seem to make online advertising a good investment. However, depending on the placement of online ads, such as on sites that customers for your products or service rarely if ever visit, the number of respondents may be considerably lower, reducing the potential return on your online ad investment. If you have an online business, it may pay to advertise where your customers are looking. If your business is completely offline, advertising online may simply make the business with which you advertise the recipient of any income. As with all other forms of advertising, online advertising is both an art and a science.


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