Click fraud- the difference between display and search advertising on a tight budget

Click Fraud is in Display StratoServeA recent article at the WSJ by Suzanne Vranica must alarm digital marketers  as she writes about A "Crisis" in Online Ads : One third of traffic is bogus. This as digital advertising climbs to $50 billion this year. An earlier WSJ piece on phony traffic, clarifies that it is the display advertising where problems arise as scam websites use robots (bots) to increase clicks and then the website owner claims to have huge traffic and then charges a big fee to put in a banner on the website. Search advertising has a far lower click fraud rate. But first some definitions:

Display or Banner Advertising is a bit like old media advertising: Similar to Newspaper, Magazine  and TV ads display ads can put your text or picture ad including banner ad on a website. The key is that the website has the quantity and quality of traffic that the advertiser is looking for. In the old media world there would be independent auditors that would provide reliable numbers of printed copies,circulation and demographics so that the advertiser knew what she was getting once the brand ad was placed on a particular magazine. Today since everyone can be a web publisher , the  magazine ad has shifted on line with exactly the same hopes of the marketer: to primarily build brand awareness.  Here a twist happens because :

Unlike magazine ads  that only sometimes carry a direct response form- every internet ad leads to the advertiser's website !

Now expectations of the advertiser zooms but more on Return on Investment (ROI) in a later post. But to summarize, "follow the money" is the rule here and choosing reliable websites has become a necessity for today's digital marketer. Chasing fraud is exhausting and detracts from marketing effort unless off course, you have a huge randomly allocated budget on display advertising.

Search Advertising or Pay per Click (PPC ) is the other prominent model where the advertisers ads show up against search queries. Here "follow the money" leads you to search engines like Google,Yahoo and Bing who make money through clicks. This blog hugely supports PPC because it is the "new" in the digital marketing. Never before could you show an ad when someone is searching (OK the nearest old media parallel are the Yellow Pages). Unlike yellow pages where you had to call , you can simply check out a whole bunch of market offerings. Here too advertiser expectations are high and the expectation is that a large number of clicks should convert to orders. As explained in earlier posts – the consumer journey could be 9 visits before placing an order. The better the alignment of your keywords,Ad Text and landing page content, the sooner is the conversion.

So what should you do if you have a tight digital marketing budget ? Stay away from banner ads give these truly alarming stats beyond click fraud.  PPC platforms like Google AdWords allow you to choose search and or display networks. It's a good idea to stay with search advertising, see some ROI and then move to display advertising. Contact StratoServe.

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