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Performance Based Advertising, Part 1

Performance Based Advertising, Part 1

June 7, 2002
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" That's why newbie surfers are your best customers: they just don't know any better, so they do the same thing they might do if they were looking for anything else online: they search for it. "

There are many different ways to advertise any product or service, and almost all of them cost a substantial amount of money: Making sure that you get your money's worth is not always an easy (or simple) task, but today I will start to give you a few basic ideas on ways that you can maximize your advertising budget — and your results.

When I talk about 'performance based advertising' in regard to advertising a pay site to surfers, whether it's on a link list, TGP, mailer or anywhere else for that matter, I mean that I am only interested in new signups: that's why I am advertising! I understand that a bad ad run in an excellent media will not perform, and that it is not the fault of the media but the ad, BUT, I am still only interested in tangible results, whether they lead to signups or not. You can talk about 'branding' all day long, but for those of us who lack the ad budget of the Coca Cola Company, sales, not 'brand recognition,' are our primary concern. After all, without making new sales today, many of us may not be around long enough to become 'household names.'

This is a very complex topic, and one that people spend years in college to understand, but I will try to help you be aware of some of the opportunities, and pitfalls, that will await you when you decide that it's time to start purchasing ad space for your site. I started along this line of thought after reading a Cosmic Village thread about advertising pay sites on TGPs. Lopix followed up with an excellent article on this very subject, and some of the various issues that were raised kept churning in the back of my head, stirred up by a discussion with the folks from cashpartner.com about the value of Webmaster traffic. Most of my readers are interested in surfer traffic, however, so that's what I'll focus on today.

Know Your Audience
For general hardcore sex sites (meaning not 'real' single model amateur sites, or very specific niche sites), most of your member's email addresses will tend to end in 'aol.com.' These folks go to Yahoo! or a portal like sex.com (which they likely typed in off a lucky guess at finding 'porn' there). Chances are that if they knew about TGPs, that's where they would go off to instead (unless they wanted something really unique), and if they knew about TGPs, they may not feel the need to pay for porn, a subject unto itself...

That's why newbie surfers are your best customers: they just don't know any better, so they do the same thing they might do if they were looking for anything else online: they search for it. This is why search engine traffic always has, and always will be 'gold,' because people who use them to find porn will likely jump on the first targeted offer they find. The important thing to learn from this example, however, is that advertising can be purchased in a way that guarantees tangible results...

This is also why I think that for most adult Webmasters, purchasing highly targeted search engine traffic on a pay per click basis is the best way to go, and the most logical first step that they should take when deciding to move onto paid ad space. Maximizing your results with PPC SEs is a topic unto itself, and beyond the scope of this article. This advertising model is one of the very best examples of what I mean by 'performance based advertising' — you will only pay for the clicks you receive; so your cost is based on the creative's performance, your results on the performance of the advertising venue, and the quality of your offer.

Pay Per Click is also today's most realistic choice for getting decent results from your search engine marketing efforts, as it's a lot easier to write a reasonable check than it is to master the intricacies of decent SE placement and then hope to get well ahead of the listings already there.

The important thing to learn from this example, however, is that advertising can be purchased in a way that guarantees tangible results, and this is the foundation for realizing that ad results can indeed be quantified, and not simply placed into a generic "you never can tell about these things" bin, because you CAN tell about 'these things.'

The audience (target market) for your product or service may differ, but the underlying principals remain the same, and regardless of your approach, understanding your goals, and the prospects that you need to convert in order to reach your goals is the first step. This is an enormous topic with many facets, and many applications, that may take a while to explain. But in the end, you will save some money, and make even more money, and isn't that the point? Stay tuned: ~ Stephen


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