The Changing Landscape of Ads on the Internet Today
Remember when the internet was plain and simple? When it came to running an ad campaign, it was a choice between running text placements or static banners ads in 728×60 or 468×60 sizes. Now, it’s a full-time job just to manage the different types of ad placements and campaign types available today.
Even with the internet now being more saturated and competitive than ever before, it also holds more opportunity and upside for anyone willing to put in the time and effort where others won’t.
Today we are going to look at some of the various advertising methods and ad campaigns available today. Why, you ask? Simply to give you a nice little resource guide of what’s currently working today and to also cover all of your bases if you don’t have all of these formats in place.
Static, Animated, and HTML5 Banners
Every since people started using the internet banner ads has been the best and most used method for getting exposure to a brand. If you recognize the LinkExchange banner below, congratulations, you’ve likely been using the internet almost as long as I have!
LinkExchange.com was one of first big banner advertising agencies online, and millions of sites were displaying these little 468×60 banners on their sites in exchange for free impressions and clicks on other sites. Advertisers could then purchase inventory directly from LE as well. At its height, LinkExchange was actually being seen by more than half of all internet users. Microsoft actually went on to acquire the company for $285 million back in 1998.
Jump forward 20 years, and banner ads are still being displayed all over the place today — however, it’s not just your traditional static 468×60 banner ads that are getting all of the attention. Thanks for Google Adsense and third-party advertising platforms, nearly all banner ad sizes are possible. Not only are they in different sizes, they are also more animated, engaging, and interactive than ever before.
To see the many different possibilities with creating animated banners today, look no further than the examples available through Bannersnack. Not only will you find a selection of rectangle, half page, leaderboard, skyscraper and various other banner sizes, you will also discover the many options for animated your static banners with blur, fade out, slide in, moving and elastic features thanks to the power of HTML5.
While banner trading platforms like LinkExchange are no longer around, there are plenty of third-party ad platforms like BuySellAds and AdClerks — which both rely specifically on banner ad placements. Of course, Google Adwords also offers banner ad placements across their network of sites as well.
Social Platform Ad Placement & Demographic Targeting
If you thought it was amazing for LinkExchange to be seen by more than half of the internet’s population back in the late 90s, as the internet continued to grow, so did the users and way people used the internet. With the introduction of MySpace and Facebook, online advertising (and banner advertising) continued to change along with it. While MySpace was the first ‘real’ social network to change the world, they had a mostly traditional banner advertising platform in place, and one that really didn’t take off.
At the height of its popularity, MySpace was the most popular site in the entire U.S.; in July 2006, MySpace was ahead of both Google and Yahoo Mail. That dominance, however, didn’t last very long, as Facebook overtook MySpace in the number of American users by June 2009. Today, just 50 million people even visit MySpace per month, and while that may not seem like a small number, compare that to how many people visit Facebook each month: 1.44 billion users, as of March 31, 2015.
However, once Facebook grew in size and released their own self-serve advertising platform, then the floodgates for ad placement and demographic targeting really changed the game. We’ve all seen Facebook ads — as either a user or on the advertiser side. Here are three big takeaways for you to know about advertising on Facebook.
- Two billion people use Facebook every month.
- Facebook and Instagram are within the top mobile apps used 1 of every 5 minutes people in the US spend on mobile is on Facebook or Instagram.
- Serve your ad up to 500 million people with Instagram 500 million Instagrammers use the app every day.
Not only does Facebook have some of the best reach out there, they’ve also successfully accomplished all of this without relying on traditional banner ad sizes. Instead, advertisers can create image, video, slideshow, canvas ads and much more. Still new to the concept of creating an ad campaign with Facebook or how to select the best image sizes for your campaign, follow this Adespresso guide for a quick step-by-step on everything.
On top of all of this, Facebook also offers some of the best targeting around — specifically with their custom audiences, in-form ads, demographic targeting, and desktop/mobile options.
Media Buying, Landing Pages, and Popunders
As much as online advertising continues to change over the years, the one thing that continues to stay the same is the importance of split testing and using different paid traffic sources to find what works best for your audience and offer. This is also what makes the internet a level playing field for anyone to put in the time and effort. Where else could a teenager living in their parents home compete with some of the top billion dollar companies in the world simply by creating and split testing different ads, targeting, and traffic sources — nowhere!
With all of this in mind, when it comes to any type of media buying, landing pages, call to actions, and popunders… it’s all about using as many variations as possible. This is something Disruptive Advertising covers in some great detail, while also showing the many different banner sizes accepted by Google Adwords. Even with so many advancements and options for advertising online today, some of the most basic banner ad sizes like 468×60, 728×90 and 300×250 are still some of the most used today.
And just to touch on the importance of split testing, this is the difference between having a profitable ad campaign and one that fails. This is also something Jeremy has touched on in several split testing case studies on the blog. A simple addition of “Claim Your Copy Now” and a different design and color usage on the “Add to Cart” button, resulted in a 78% increase in sales.
The same also holds true for Facebook split testing as well. When click-through rates range can heavily affect the pricing and conversions of your ads, it’s important to always run as many tests as possible. Need a perfect example? Take a look at the similar images below… yet also take a look at the big difference in click-through rates. If you were to stick with just one of these images for the life of your campaign, you could be killing your budget and profits in no time.
Another key takeaway here is to keep an eye on not just the CTR of your images, but also how they can affect the overall conversions as well. Just because an image is getting more clicks, it might not be resulting in the best conversions or call to action on your offer. Use an advanced tracking platform and pixel placement to measure the various metrics.
Online Spy Tools and Reverse Engineering are Your Friends
It’s no secret that the internet is a very open place and finding out information like website ownership, ad campaigns details, who’s running what offers and ranking for what keywords is all pretty much just a click away. This is especially true if you have time and time and money to spend on any of the top spy tools on the market today.
This is something Leadbit recently touched upon in the affiliate resource blog. Many people know these types of tools and reports exist, but not as many are willing to learn how to effectively use them or want to put up the monthly $99+ fee to access them. In this free how to use spy tools and find winning campaigns PDF report, users are walked through the process of how to find winning ads, creatives, and learn from what’s currently being promoted online today.
The important thing here to remember is that there are many different factors that come into play when creating a successful online campaign. Simply copying someone’s banner ad and going live with a campaign of your own likely won’t find success. These tools also weren’t created for stealing, it’s more about learning and implementing your own changes and also applying what working for some campaigns into completely different ones.
How to Master the Art of Online Advertising
One of the most exciting things about running a business on the internet is that you can work on fun side projects and ad campaigns. You really never know what might be your next big winner or the different types of results you may come across. The important thing to keep in mind is that using different banner ads, traffic sources, and always split testing your results is what’s going to matter most.