If you have a piece of “cornerstone” content that you want to promote, you might have tried Paid Search (PPC) and found the cost per click prohibitively high. And while SEO is certainly an option, it can take months to gain traction. That’s where Media Buying comes in; you can use it to drive almost instant traffic, awareness and conversions – often at a fraction of the cost of PPC.
But Media Buying requires a unique skill set, from competitive research and ad creation to testing and tracking. So I spoke with Chris Cole, President of Internet ROI, to discuss Media Buying 101 and help get you started on your first campaign.
Chris has been in digital marketing for over eight years and worked at Hungry Fish Media as the Director of Customer Acquisition. In other words, he knows his “stuff”…
Content & Contests: Can you give an introduction to Media Buying? How does it compare to other forms of online paid media?
Chris Cole: When someone talks about Media Buying, they are usually referring to buying banner ads on one or more websites. The main difference between Media Buying and other forms of paid media (like search or email), is that it allows you to attract visitors who had no intention of visiting a site like yours before seeing your ad. With search, the user shows clear intent by searching for “plumbers,” but with display, you’re showing your ad to people who are just checking their email, for instance.
Any company that is making more money than you for each impression is going to be able to price you out of inventory.
Content & Contests: Why/when should a marketer choose Media Buying over Paid Search?
Chris Cole: If your company or product is not well known, display can be a great avenue to increase awareness. It works particularly well for products that solve a problem that can be articulated in the space that the banner gives you.
C & C: What is your competitive research process? What data do you gather? What tools do you use?
Chris: In display, you have to think of every other media buy as your competitor. Any company that is making more money than you for each impression is going to be able to price you out of inventory. We don’t rely on any tools, but we will look at some of the biggest, most competitive traffic sources to see what is winning impressions.
C & C: How do you track your conversions? What’s your favorite tool?
Chris: As far as third party tools, I still use prosper202 to track paid media. Its not perfect, but it gives you the data you need in a more straightforward way than Google Analytics or Omniture. However, I always recommend tracking things internally because third-party cookie tracking can be off as much as 30%.
C & C: Do you think Media Buying is an effective channel for affiliates? Why/why not?
Chris: Yes, it’s an effective channel for affiliates. Thousands of popular sites are using affiliates to fill their remnant inventory. You just have to refresh the page 10-20 times and you will see them everywhere!
C & C: For many people, writing ads can prove a difficult process. Can you share your copywriting process? How do you go about writing an ad? How do you come up with ideas?
Chris: Don’t try to be clever. The person on the other end of the ad isn’t as familiar with your product or industry as you. They need to understand the potential benefit of clicking the ad before they are going to take the time to do it.
C & C: What parts of an ad (image, headline, body, etc.), generally speaking, have the greatest impact on conversions?
Chris: The image will have the greatest effect on your CTR, without question. Find an image that resonates with your audience and then try different copy paired with that image.