Online Advertising

Online advertising is a huge field. That's because there are so many ways that computer users interact with the Internet. Some people rely on social networking to receive relevant information, others prefer search. Some users work primarily through their own bookmarks, favorites or popular web portals like Yahoo, AOL, or their ISP’s start page. Marketers need to be able to reach potential customers in each one of these individual verticals.

Traditional Internet advertising outlets often work through banner ads priced by impression (how many times the ads are potentially seen). These ads are visible from certain types of ad-supported software as well as Web sites and certain cellular phone services. Adware has developed a bad name for itself, but banners are sort of a fact of life for Internet users such as signs and billboards in large cities. Internet advertising agencies usually act as a middleman between advertisers and developer, though some pages actually sell advertising spots directly.

Pay-per-Click Services

Pay-per-Click advertising is a business model where advertisers pay the owner according to the number of people who actually visit the advertiser's website through a link. These are usually in the form of banners or sectioned off ad links. PPC systems generally don't pay on impression. This means that the mere act of displaying advertisements doesn't always generate revenue.

However, there are plenty of programs that allow owners to collect revenue from displaying ads as well as ad clicks. These are usually desirable, but individual owners should shop around for the best rate regardless. PPC systems can lead to increased revenue, since the rate paid to owners is often higher than in combined agreements.

On the other side of the equation, PPC agreements can be a great idea for advertisers since they only have to pay when customers click on a link. Ad impressions are unavoidable for users, unless they're using ad-blocking software. On the other hand, clicking a link shows that they were actually interested in the product which means they're likely to pay for whatever is being advertised.

When marketers discuss click-through rates (CTR), they're referring to the number of times that users actually click a particular link. It is usually in percentage as in 4% of the time. These numbers are important to those who are paid a royalty based on each click. Advertisers can also judge click-through rate data against actual business figures to see if Internet advertising campaigns are working or not.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of designing sites so that search engines can find and index them. The goal among SEO experts is to have as high a page ranking as possible, so that users can easily find their sites. Choosing appropriate keywords used in text paragraphs and placing them in appropriate locations helps to increase page rank, but SEO is about much more than keywords.

Indeed, search engines are getting a lot smarter now. Gone are the days where people could stack pages full of keywords and get referenced very high on search engine results. Search engines expect people to have natural links that don't appear artificial. They also expect that developers don't break specific rules in the quest to get a higher page rank.

Many of these rules are designed to combat spam. Cloaking is one of the more common aspects of what is termed black hat SEO. Some developers display content differently to search engine bots than they do to human surfers. This can theoretically help them to achieve higher rankings, though the major search engines are starting to penalize sites for what they consider to be black hat techniques. Excessive repetition of a keyword can also make a page look amateurish or look like search engine spam.

Some search engines allow people to submit their sites for indexing, and there are other methods in place where individuals can pay for a higher ranking. This means that other methods exist that developers can use if SEO isn't enough to achieve a high page rank.

Social Media Marketing

The term social networking originally referred to a sociological phenomenon, but it now refers to websites that allow people to share content together. Since the information can be on any topic, marketers can raise eyebrows among users by operating their own social networking pages which send users to their site, build connections with likely customers or otherwise promote their brand.

Video sharing sites are especially attractive. While people generally consider television and radio commercials to be annoying, they watch videos online because of choice. Online commercials shared through social media marketing (SMM) might very well go viral and attract high numbers of viewers.

Some SMM operations focus on social search engines. Members can tag sites to produce results targeted to a specific audience. This can be a great way to reach a specific clientele.

Public Relations

Generating good PR is just as important on the Web as it is in real life. Individual PR firms work to establish a desirable brand image for electronic companies in the same manner as they do with physical businesses. Some businesses might hire writers to produce content dispelling myths about negative publicity that they might have received. Users might find this content when trying to search for information about a particular brand. Internet resources have provided heretofore unheard of opportunities to conduct surveys and opinion polls, so business leaders always know what people think of their brand image.

Other companies operate their own blogs for publishing and promoting their content. One of the more traditional digital methods of reaching customers comes in the form of email newsletters. Optimizing good news is important for anyone trying to run a PR campaign, and a list of client emails is a good way to get news out there. However, companies need to be careful about not having their name associated with spam. Opt-out controls are extremely important for anyone trying to work with an email public relations program.

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