How to Determine if Online Advertising will Benefit Your Brand

Considering online advertising, but not sure where to start?  Or maybe you discovered one website you feel is a direct fit for your target audience and want to test it.  The key is to develop and assess an online advertising strategy evaluating all opportunities across the web, rather than just relying on one or two sites that may seem attractive.

The first step as with all marketing and advertising strategies is to develop measurable goals.  Do you want to drive more traffic to your website?  If yes, by how much? Do you want to increase online and/or retail sales?  If yes, by how much?  How much are you willing to spend per e-commerce or retail sales conversion?

Second, consider what type of online advertising is the best approach.  Options include search engine display advertising programs like Google Adwords, search engine pay-per-click (PPC), industry specific websites, media (magazines, newspaper, television, radio) websites, blogs and social media advertising (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) – or a combination of these.

Research options based on where you anticipate your customers and prospects are most active and engaged, and then confirm this with the outlets.  For social media sites, blogs, industry and media websites ask for and review media kits – which should include visitor statistics and demographics – and case studies based on the success of other advertisers.

For search engine display advertising research the website categories you can target and talk with the search engine advertising reps to determine what you can expect as far as results.  It is more challenging with search engine display advertising to gain specific website visitor stats, demographics and advertising results since these sites sell advertising through a company like Google rather than directly.

The benefit of working with search engines (PPC or display advertising) is you can track results virtually real time.  This includes sales if you effectively incorporate your shopping cart into the search engine reporting system.  This will allow you to make adjustments to the campaigns whenever you see fit. Working with industry websites, blogs or media websites you will need to rely on their tracking methods and reports to help you determine results.

Similar to traditional advertising, there are many options and considerations when determining if online advertising is right for your brand.  The best way to determine how to move forward is to do your research, put measurable goals in place, develop compelling creative and a strong call to action and then test, test and test again.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.