The world is becoming one that is based on digital content. For a brand or business to get noticed, this means internet advertising must become a consideration. This is fast becoming the primary method of attracting attention to goods and services that are being offered. Although it may seem like an easy choice to begin advertising, it is important to evaluate several key pros and cons before investing time and money so that an accurate view of the situation can be achieved.
The Pros of Internet Advertising
The primary benefit is that brands are allowed to reach prospects at the places their prospects are visiting on the internet every day. Internet advertising includes search engine results, websites that are popular, social media and networking, and even within product listings. With billions of people accessing the internet every day potentially searching for what a business has to offer, the amount of reach that is achieved is phenomenal. Anyone with a computer can advertise globally today with just a couple of clicks. Here are some of the additional key pros of internet advertising to consider as well.
1. Internet advertising allows for specific prospect targeting.
Mass marketing is easier with internet advertising, but so is sending a message to a specific population demographic as well. Brands are able to identify the traits of their key customers and clone them into their advertising campaign. This data helps the brand target specific prospects that would be attracted to what is being offered even if that individual doesn’t realize it at first. Even specific geographical regions can be targeted for brands that aren’t looking for a global presence, but perhaps want an extended local presence.
2. There are numerous price points to consider.
Everyone from the sole proprietor to the large multinational organization has a chance to expand their customer base thanks to internet advertising. Niche sites offer advantageous solutions to small businesses that are industry-related, while mass marketing can attract all demographics across several different platforms simultaneously. There are numerous price points available, but more importantly, the brand gets to dictate how much they spend on most campaigns.
3. Internet advertising is more responsive to changing conditions.
Printed media has to be changed every time the marketing environment evolves or adjusts. These costs begin to add up quickly with traditional media and there is a time gap between each evolutionary period. With internet advertising, responsive changes can happen almost instantaneously. If something isn’t testing well, it can be changed with a few minutes of work instead of a few days of work, allow a brand to find the perfect phrasing for each targeted demographic. Less down time always equates to more overall exposure.
4. It is easier to test different demographics without as much risk.
If a brand is thinking about entering into a new demographic for prospects, then extensive testing is typically required. Interviews, product testing, samples, and shows are all a common part of the traditional testing process. With internet advertising, a brand can put all of this into the hands of the people to do all the work. If something receives a positive response through internet advertising, then an expansion may make financial sense. If not, time and money was saved in finding out this information.
5. Multiple creatives can be uploaded at once.
A simple tweak of a sentence is often enough to change a bad advertising campaign into a good one. Internet advertising allows a brand to upload multiple versions of an ad so that the best possible outcome can be achieved. Different ads can be tested against each other to determine their effectiveness, changes can be made almost instantly, and bad ads can be scrapped before too much damage is achieved. No other advertising method offers this unique set of specific benefits. Many campaigns even allow the different creatives to be swapped out for each other so that multiple creatives are active simultaneously and on display based on specific filters that have been implemented.
6. It provides for a system of instant gratification.
Prospects are more likely to turn into customers if they have the chance to experience something instantly and in a first-hand way. Internet advertising allows this to happen. All it may take is a click for a customer to discover more information about what is being advertised. If they like what they see and there is an ability to purchase it immediately, then a reward is experienced because the new customer feels like they discovered something amazing. No other form of advertising can accomplish this at this level wherever a person may be.
7. It gives a brand access to mobile advertising platforms.
About half of all internet usage in 2014 came from mobile devices. Internet advertising campaigns can appear on these devices, giving a brand access to people whether they are at home, at work, or standing in line while waiting for a barista to make their coffee. Brand access to the mobile market is expected to be a critical component of the future of advertising and internet advertising helps to bring a company in on the ground floor of the process.
8. Internet advertising is on full-time.
There aren’t any off hours when it comes to internet advertising. It is on every hour of every day of every year. It is even on when someone might click on an advertisement and then decide not to purchase something thanks to follow along advertising. This allows prospects to research your brand’s opportunities on their own time so they don’t feel as pressured to purchase or sign up for something.
9. Links don’t need to be directed toward a sales page.
Sometimes internet advertising isn’t about sales. It may be more about brand awareness or other goals that are not sales related. The beautiful thing about internet advertising is that you get to stay in control of where prospects land after clicking on an ad. If you want to encourage more research on a topic, then this can be accomplished. Everything happens in real-time as well, which means active decisions can be made in the moment and allow for a brand to achieve its prospect goals more quickly.
10. There are multiple formats.
Videos, QR codes, text links, affiliate marketing, banner advertising, hashtags, social media contests – the amount of different formats that are available to internet advertising is phenomenal. It makes it possible for a brand to pick and choose which works best for their prospect base, implement an attractive campaign, and have a reasonable expectation for results to begin coming in right away.
The Cons of Internet Advertising
The primary disadvantage of internet advertising right now is oversaturation. Many websites have numerous advertising feeds and this causes “visitor blindness” to the advertising that is present. People tend to skip over advertising messages to get to where they need to go. Even when internet advertising is used to interrupt the visitor’s experience to gain their attention, the most common reactions are to either close the window or install a pop-up blocker. In essence, many companies pay for impressions that don’t make any impression at all. Here are some of the other key disadvantages of internet advertising to consider.
1. There is a healthy amount of competition.
There are many prospects that can be found on the internet, but that isn’t a secret that only a select few know about. Everyone realizes that there is a lot of potential with internet advertising and they are thinking about getting involved just like you may be. There are plenty of businesses already running an internet advertising campaign as well. The market is saturated to the point that any industry-related advertising will likely be displayed next to a direct competitor. If your product’s value proposition doesn’t stand out from the rest of the pack, then people won’t inspect your offer.
2. It is incredibly easy for internet users to block advertising.
All current Internet browsers have options available which block all advertising. It’s not just the pop-up ads we’re talking about here. Banner advertising, link advertising, affiliate efforts – they can all be blocked. The browser extensions are so good that even when advertising agencies attempt a work-around, the browser is able to adapt to it. This means there will always be a core group of people who will never see an internet advertising campaign, no matter what it is you may choose to do.
3. It creates a moment of distraction.
The problem with internet advertising is that it distracts people from what their ultimate purpose for being online happened to be. Most people don’t log onto a website that offers free dinner recipes and expect to see an advertisement that they’ll want to click on, right? They’re looking for a new way to make one of their favorite dishes. That moment of distraction may seem like a good thing, but it really is not. When people shift their perspective to a new task, there is an attention deficit which occurs. It may take someone up to 15 minutes to recover their faculties. This means even clicks on an internet ad may not be as effective as they could be.
4. Advertising analytics can be difficult to understand.
To know how effect an internet advertising campaign happens to be, a general awareness of what the analytical information being collected by that campaign is required. For those new to internet advertising, this is a crash course learning curve that doesn’t always produce quality results. Good data can be misinterpreted as bad and the reverse is also true. The end result is a campaign that is less effective because its operations are not fully understood.\
5. Not all of the information gathered is usable information.
A brand is forced to decide which information is the most important information to focus on when running an internet advertising campaign. Should total impressions be the focus? What about the click through rate? Should the effectiveness of an advertising campaign be measured on the amount of sales it can generate only? Many brands don’t even think about these questions as they begin advertising, which makes it easier to misinterpret results.
6. It doesn’t reach all potential prospects.
There growth of the internet has been exponential, but it hasn’t achieved 100% saturation anywhere in the world. Even in the United States, there are at least 1 in 10 households that have no internet access in their homes at all. Rural prospects are much more likely to be without internet access than urban customers. Because of this, not every brand may fully benefit from an investment into internet advertising.
7. There really is no one go-to solution with internet advertising.
There isn’t a “good” form of general internet advertising. Some forms of internet ads work amazingly well for some companies and the same kind of ad can have a poor performance for another. What we do know is that internet ads which are complimentary, such as those which are combined with other advertising mediums, tend to convert more customers than singular internet advertising campaigns on their own.
8. Random slots can create unusable opportunities.
Some internet advertising options work on a cycle over a variety of websites. Think about how many sites use Google AdWords, for example. Some campaigns are placed in a cycle on a wide variety of sites that may not always have content that is equal to what their listing offers. If advertising content appears on a site that may be inappropriate to the message that is being communicated, the end result is more than just awkwardness. It can indicate support for that inappropriate content and drive prospects away.
9. Internet advertising may not load correctly.
A website might have an uptime of 99%, but that means a website is down 1 minute out of every 100 minutes that pass in a day. That might not seem like a lot of time, but how many people could visit a website around the world in 3-5 minutes every day and wind up not seeing an ad that has been fully finances because the site is down? This is considered a normal part of life with internet advertising, which ultimately means a business is paying for advertising that won’t show up sometimes.
10. Who doesn’t click on the “skip ad” link when it appears?
There might be an option for visitors to skip an ad to help get them toward the content they want to see, but the delay in being able to skip an ad doesn’t mean a visitor is actually going to look at it. Most people are watching the countdown clock to see when they can click past the ad to get what they want. We all do it even if we’re internet advertising already. Forcing viewership is difficult to do on the internet today and if someone has seen something once that represents your brand, even if it was hysterical, they probably aren’t going to want to see it again.
The pros and cons of internet advertising show that it can be highly beneficial, but it must be carefully managed in order to encourage the highest chances of success. Evaluate these key points carefully, get involved in a way that makes sense for your business goals, and you’ll be able to make an empowered decision as to whether or not advertising on the internet is right for you.