Five Options for Advertising Online

August 26, 2010

With more and more people experiencing the internet in different ways, the options for advertising online have expanded as well. Here are five ways to advertise online, from the basic to a one that is growing fast (watch out for #5).

1) Google Adwords

What many people consider the standard, and most accessable, online advertising channel. Google pioneered the pay-per-click (PPC) model, and has worked to stay in the lead. The search giant has integrated it’s Analytics and AdWords tools to provide better feedback on performance. Also new from Google is a re-marketing ability that allows you to find your visitors on any site that runs the Google ad network. AdWords remains scalable to budgets large and small.

2) Facebook

In need of a revenue source, Facebook’s once basic ad platform has grown into a useful advertising channel. Virtually unrivaled in ad targeting potential, Facebook makes a user’s profile information available advertisers to define ad targets. If you’re trying to reach 23-27 year olds interested in indie-rock and Ayn Rand in Toledo, OH, then Facebook is the platform for you. Even if you don’t need to target that narrowly, Facebook still delivers great results in the PPC area. Costs remain lower than Google for the time being.

3) Paid Placement

The most traditional tactic online is to purchase ad space from sites you’ve identified geographically, or by topic. More time consuming, not as target-able, and less flexible than other options, this tactic could be useful in small regional ad runs. Cost can be an issue here as well, with most advertisers not able to scale down prices for ad runs.

4) Ad Networks

Closely related to the paid placement option above, ad networks offer an advantage over that option: Size. Many ad networks run nationwide operations, and are able to target by topic and region effectively. While many networks have developed excellent displays and video players, the cost and flexibility issues remain. Overall, this is most useful to larger budget advertisers.

5) In App Advertising

The most interesting option in online advertising right now is the in app ad. Think the small bar at the bottom of your favorite free iPhone app. This tactic has become more familiar to users, and is most prevalent in the mobile experience. This spring, Apple unveiled its iAd platform that will serve interactive ads to iPhone users. Wired ran a commentary recently that featured the growth of people only using the internet via apps. This pattern will continue with things like the iPad becoming integrated into users’ lives, and in app advertising will explode along side that growth.

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