Workable Online Advertising Campaign


I am thinking of launching online advertising campaigns for my product. I have a few choices:

  1. Google Adwords
  2. targeted banner advertisement at niche forums
  3. Affiliate program

I understand that Google Adwords seem to be the most successful online advertising so far. But I have also read some articles on how Google Adwords burnt a hole in the pocket of the companies that execute the campaign poorly. My question is, how does other means of advertisement fare compared to Google Adwords?

Given that my boss is quite cost-conscious, I would like to hear the means that can bring in more traffic and using less resources than Google Adwords.( I know this really sounds stupid; if something is better than Google Adwords we would have heard of that something already, but I ask this just in case).


asked Dec 28 '09 at 14:39
871 points
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4 Answers


Concerning your worries about Google Adwords: Your argument is basically a No-True-Scotsmen fallacy. Every campaign executed poorly will burn a hole in your pocket -- almost by definition! It also applies to the other options you mentioned. However, with Google Adwords you can set a maximum amount you're willing to spend for a certain period of time. It may not convert to sales, of course. But it gives you data to think about and turn that into experience.

Concerning better ways to advertise online: There's no silver bullet, unfortunately. The only way to find one is by collecting experiences: Spend the minimum amount of money on several different means (if possible) and measure the results. Try to figure out what works -- and if not, why it didn't. Google is quite easy to use since it allows you to restrict the amount your willing to spend. It's also quite targeted if you take the time to learn about keyword targeting.

Concerning your site: Well, you didn't ask about it but... online advertising can fail due to a number of reasons. One potential reason may be your product page: The logo and slide show images are either poorly scaled or you didn't check if they do properly in common browsers. This makes a very cheap impression although you're trying to sell a quality product I guess. In general, the page doesn't appear to be very convincing. If you're looking for a cheap way to improve your sales, study and implement A/B testing on your homepage.

Overall, I'd say Google Adwords seems a good first option for you. You can optimize it easily since you can also use their measurement and analytic tools (check, for example, the WebSite Optimizer ).

When you fixed the obvious issues, targeted banner advertising seems a better option, although you'd also need to optimize this one, too. Makeing a good banner really is an art.

Hope this helps.

answered Dec 29 '09 at 02:50
Claus Schwarm
1,599 points


I have a few choices:

  1. Google Adwords
  2. targeted banner advertisement at niche forums
  3. Affiliate program

I used to work for a company that did all of these, including spending $60K/month on Google AdWords.

The key is to test and measure (and test and measure and test and measure).

We built our website so that we knew what sources we got traffic from, and we could track those visits through registrations, revenue generated, and gross profitability, not just for the customer's first purchase, but also for their lifetime value. (For example, we could tell you the average lifetime value of customers we got in August from a particular AdWords keyword group. Ditto for all other promotions -- and all of this was automated.)

Once you can get that kind of information from your website and database, then marketing just becomes a math problem of maximizing ROI across various sources and advertising campaigns.

For us, it was critical to not just consider first-time purchases, as customers from some sources lead to higher lifetime values over the long term, and getting repeat orders was key to our business.

answered Dec 30 '09 at 02:49
Reid Wilson
156 points


Although I am not an expert marketer, I would tend to think that well targeted advertisements on websites that fit your niche will give a much better ROI than anything else. The downside is that it takes more time to manage than Google Adwords... but time is usually less scarce than money in a startup setting.

Affiliate programs can also be expensive to set up and manage. They also need to be advertised unless you are able to contact potential affiliates directly.

You might want to read this question which debates the pros/cons of giving away licenses to universities:

answered Dec 29 '09 at 00:09
Olivier Lalonde
2,753 points


I recommend checking into social media marketing. It is somewhat new but its the future of marketing.

You need to commit to the campaign as like any other form of marketing it really takes time to see results, you need to commit to generating content and also you need to know what you truly want from the campaign and stick to that.

Of course I agree with "Claus" above in regards to evaluating your website first and making sure that you have a solid website in terms of architecture as well as messaging and content so when the audience comes they can find what they need.

answered Dec 29 '09 at 17:31
Arman Arami
399 points

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