Wednesday, 14 January 2009

How to buy advertising online

You've created your blog, now you want to promote it. Advertising costs money - but thanks to the internet you can tailor your advertising to your budget.

This guide is intended for a one-off ad campaign on Google. Corporates or large charities will require a more tightly measured and honed ad strategy. However, if you're blogging to complain about a company, get noticed by someone or kick-start a campaign, this will be useful.

There are three ways you can advertise effectively online with a limited budget:
1. buy search engine advertising for particular keywords
This works really well if you want to grab someone's attention - particularly if it's an organisation or individual.

2. buy advertising on relevant websites
If you've got a particular post which is of interest to other websites, you can buy advertising so that your ad will appear in other relevant blogs and websites (only those that accept those particular ads though).

You can advertise on search and relevant websites. Relevant sites will usually ensure your ad appears more often - but with a much lower click-through rate. The search volumes are lower and more expensive, but tend to get a higher click-through rate. Whether you choose one or both should depend on your advertising strategy.

3. target ads according to an internet user's location
This is great if you're a local business or your campaigning for something in a particular area or country.

Buying the advertising

This assumes you already have an account with Google. If not, read this article on how to create a Google account.

Setting up your account

1. Log in to your Google account
2. Click My account in the top right hand corner of
3. Click the AdWords link on the next page
4. Click on sign up now
5. Choose standard edition and click continue
6. Click the button that says you already have a Google account and that you want to use your existing Google account (presuming you do) then click continue
7. Choose your preferred currency and click continue

Creating your campaign

1. Click create your first campaign
2. Choose the language and country(s) you want to target
3. Create your ad, referring to Google's guidelines about trademarks
4. For advice on writing great Google ads, click here
5. The display URL doesn't have to be the actual URL - but don't mislead people entirely
6. Choose the keywords you want to target. Read this for more advice on keyword strategies
7. Set your daily budget
8. Set your maximum budget for each keyword. To get an idea, click on 'View Traffic Estimator' to see what traffic the advert is likely to generate

Targeting your campaign at specific sites

When you start to create your campaign, you can choose to start a new campaign with placements. The system works the same but after creating the ad, you can target subjects or specific URLs to target your campaign.

Alternatively, once you've created the campaign, you can click edit settings and turn on the content option (and/or turn the search option off).

Enter your payment details when requested.

Evaluating your campaign

Next time you login to Google AdWords you can evaluate your campaign. Look to see:
1. What you're paying per click
2. Whether the number of clicks meets your expectations
3. Check your own analytics package to see whether the advertising is having its desired affect

Keep an eye on our blog for examples of effective low-cost advertising campaigns.

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