Online advertising is an activity that encompasses many things. If you want to sell something online or get traffic to some source of income or “money site”, then you are going to have to have some sort of advertising in your plans. There are several types of advertising when in the online world. In this article we’ll look at some and talk about the overall topic to give you a good idea about what you will be dealing with and also ground you enough that you don’t go in blind.
Online Advertising Basics
There are many types of online advertising. There are formal and informal types. You can go the informal route and seek out people with websites to advertise for you, as they did in the old Wild West days of the internet. Some people still engage in this, but it’s a grind. You have to find people with well traveled websites who maybe run their own advertising programs that you can buy into. Sometimes they are found in larger networks where you join the network and can apply for advertising through that.
The most common way to get quick traffic to your site or offer is through pay per click, or PPC, advertising. You can create a PPC account with the large providers like Google or Bing/Yahoo. There are smaller PPC networks as well, like 7search. You basically are paying per click, so every time someone out there clicks on your ad when it appears, you pay whatever your agreed upon cost per click, or CPC, is. You have to bid on keywords since other advertisers are competing to show their ads for the same keywords. Unlike in the organic search engine traffic world, where you compete for visibility through how the search engine ranks your site, here you pay the price to get on top. So, with enough funds you can get to the top pretty quickly, but it will cost you. Sometimes it will cost you big. You have to figure out what you ad budget is and what you can afford. The smaller ad networks are cheaper, but of course they don’t have the reach of the big boys.
When embarking on your online advertising, you start a PPC campaign with your ad source. They call these campaigns, the same way as large advertisers always called them. It’s pretty wild being a regular private entity like a sole proprietor and having a “ad campaign”, but there you go it’s as easy as 1,2,3. You set up your campaign and your keywords. It’s pretty self explanatory, really.
Google the Brutal
I went in as a rank newbie back in 2007 and set up Google Adwords campaigns to drive traffic to affiliate offers. It was very easy, and still is. The rules have changed as to what they will accept as offers. You do have to be careful that you adhere to their terms because they WILL blacklist you. I can’t use Adwords because some affiliate site that they decided not to like was still in my account. They apparently sent me warnings about that which I never saw, and they deactivated my ability to run Adwords campaigns through Google. Even after calling them and speaking to someone online, they refuse to activate my account. Even after explaining to them that it was an oversight and I am not affiliated with that site, and them seeing that that site isn’t even in business anymore, they won’t lift the ban. So, Google has some issues that they need to address. They need to be more flexible and be willing to reactivate people instead of taking this final stance on things. I’m not going to lie, I have a MAJOR love hate relationship with Google. On the one hand they created the best search engine for awhile and unified the internet. They went into mobile phones and gave the iPhone real competition. They provide a great email service with Gmail and their services are pretty much free for the end user. While they provide so much value, they can be real bullies when it comes to dealing with advertisers and how they rank or deindex websites at will, without much recourse available for the customers. They can be equally as brutal with Adsense users. Adsense is a service where users can get paid by Google for having ads placed on their sites. Google uses context based ads that will analyze the site content and place relevant ads on the sites. The problem comes in with click fraud. Users of this service have to realize that they cannot click their own ads to get paid. That is fraud. The problem is that other ignorant users might do this. For example, an Adsense site user has to be VERY careful who in their circle of family and friends (or enemies) even know the URL of their Adsense sites. The reason is that someone whom you know might start clicking those ads thinking they are helping you when in fact they are, perhaps ignorantly, engaging in a form of click fraud. Even though you have no idea of it, they will cancel your account. Likewise, someone online or offline who doesn’t like you or you “piss off” can go to your site and “click bomb” it, thus causing tripping the Google click fraud alarms and you get your account cancelled this way too. There is no coming back from this. There have been people who had armies of niche product sites monetized with Adsense who had their entire income destroyed with Google pulling their Adsense accounts. When they do this you get no explanation and no recourse. You can’t call and complain. That’s it. You’re finished. Again, there should be a way to explain and review. Someone shouldn’t be treated so harshly when they may not have anything to do with it. Google apparently doesn’t want to invest in the infrastructure to service Adsense customers this way and believes that it is offering this service so if you end up being banned that is your problem, not theirs, and they are correct. They aren’t breaking any laws, as brutal as it all is. It sucks, but them’s the breaks.
FaceBook now has PPC advertising where you can run campaigns just as you can on the search engines. They have extensive rules and they discriminate against certain business models like MLM. It’s unfair, really. Who the hell are they to decide who is legitimate or not? Still, if you are crafty you can use them effectively. You just have to create other sites that are more benign in nature that don’t betray that you are MLM and then use that as a capture for potential leads or customers. It;s more work, but it can pay off. So remember, if you are doing Facebook and you fall outside of the business models that they accept, you have to get creative with the target pages to avoid having your ads dropped. You may lose conversions this way if your squeeze pages are not as good as the target company’s capture pages, but that is the chance you’ll have to take. Again, if your blog is within the business model that they discriminate against, you also have to be creative.
I have a post on classified ads, but here I will say that you can use them effectively to promote an affiliate offer or get traffic to your blog or business site. There are many classified ads sites out there that you can work with. See that link above for a list.
Craigslist is the big boy in classifieds, and with the business opportunity or MLM space you have similar challenges as you do with FaceBook. So many scammers have hit Craigslist that they took action, and usually these actions paint with too broad a brush and snag legitimate marketers in the nets meant to keep out the real scam artists. Again, you just have to adapt and get creative the way you did with FaceBook.
Is that it?
Well, this was more about Free Traffic, but there are more sources.
Some other attempts at online advertising cross over into SEO territory. These involve crafting your content to draw in free search traffic. That is a form of advertising, is it not? You are crafting your content to draw people in, so you are competing with other SEO efforts on other sites and competing for that search engine ranking. The end result is that you are seeking traffic so this is like advertising, but really it falls under SEO and not advertising.
Other Social Sites
It turns out that sites like Pinterest and Flipboard are driving vast amounts of free traffic to people’s site, as long as they play by the rules and don’t do it in a spammy way. If you spam, it’ll catch up to you.
People don’t like that spamming stuff.
So give it a whirl. You’d be surprised how much traffic that you can generate from sites like those.
Advertising and Traffic
There are other ways, but I’m not going to go into that here.
Head on over to my traffic page to learn all about marketing systems, sales funnels, internet marketing tools, Traffic exchanges, revshare advertising sites, and paid clicks.