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Online Banner Advertising – The Needle in the Haystack vs. The Spaghetti Wall

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Regardless of whatever new technologies emerge in online advertising, there are still no silver bullets. No panacea. No one thing that is going to answer all your needs. You still need a blended approach.

It seems like daily, there’s a new technology emerging that allows online marketers to get closer and closer to their intended audience. Geo-targeting, retargeted, placement targeting, layering of third-party data for hyper-intent targeting, geo-fencing and conquest targeting — all enable online marketers to find the needle in the haystack. At a cost that can be considerably more than simply throwing-spaghetti-at-the-wall-and-seeing-if-it-sticks numbers game approach.

So does it work? The data we’ve seen suggests it’s a relative answer. In short, it depends on how you measure success. Is your goal quantity or quality or some blend of the two? We would suggest the latter.

Yes, today, we can better identify prospects looking to make a buying decision based on their recent online behaviors. The more data points we employ to define our target audience, the more we pay. And analytics relative to this traffic vs. less qualified banner ads is better. But it’s not always dramatically better in terms of “quality metrics” (ie. time on site, pages view, bounce rates and other quality metrics).

After all, it’s still just banner advertising and banner advertising is branding. We recognize as marketers how important branding is to our overall marketing efforts. Consumers don’t buy unfamiliar products. All products need to build brand trust.

Today’s online banner ads are yesterday’s newspaper ads and direct mail, but because online advertising is so much more quantifiable, we tend to burden them with too much responsibility.

So the message is “be careful”. There are no silver bullets. Not with any currently available technology. Marketing, advertising and branding principals remain the same — create trust, loyalty and awareness and ultimately drive traffic.

Your online banner advertising should incorporate a blended approach leveraging some of the advantages of new tech to find the needle in the haystack AND leverage the power of numbers (the spaghetti wall). Somewhere in the mix you’ll find the right blend of impressions at a cost per thousand that’s palatable.

Of course, this is all subject to change without notice tomorrow. Which is why you need an online marketing company like Borcz+Dixon staying ahead of the curve on your behalf. (Shameless self-promotion is what we do)