educational

Ad Management

Anand Ramchandran
You can have a great site, you can be listed on all the search engines, and you still may not be realizing the full potential of your web site. Identifying the needs of your visitors and directing them to the proper place to fulfill those needs is a cornerstone of a successful ad campaign.

Why is proper ad management so important? The reality of today's online market is that people buy brands, they don't buy products. Hence the increased importance of strategic placing of advertisements on your web site becomes very important. The very definition of a brand means that every web site or company cannot expect to be a brand. If you are not a brand, your best chance of making money lies in directing your visitors to a brand. Follow the guidelines outlines below and make the most of your visitors.

Listed below are setup and operational guidelines for three solutions for ad optimization: Keyword based ads, click through statistics analysis and banner optimization for search engines.

Keyword Based Advertising
This is the best way to offer targeted advertising, but is also more difficult to setup, depending on your site's content and your technical skills. The easy way out is to use Google's Adsense. However, this means another link in the chain leading to a sale. Also, you have no control over the ads being displayed, and if they are not producing results, there is little you can do to change things.

Let's take a look at how you set your own keyword based advertising solution. First, you'll need a Banner Management Script. About.com's JavaScript guide offers a good one here.

A more versatile solution, phpAdsNew's opensource product can handle regular banners and buttons, pop-ups, text ads, DHTML and Flash banners. phpAdsNew can deliver different banners based on many different parameters, such as keyword, IP address, domain, weekday, hour of the day, language, browser or operating system. It is even possible to combine these parameters and use logical operators to create very specific situations in which banners are delivered. In addition to this it is also possible to limit the delivery of banners based on how often a banner is already shown to a specific visitor and how long since the visitor last saw the banner. You can download phpAdsNew Opensource Adserver here.

Click Through Statistics Analysis
Once you have the whole system setup, take the time and effort to develop your advertisement base, and try out different ads to compare the results and find the best ads. phpAdsNew has a built in user interface to view statistics about how the banners are performing. Apart from a simple overview, you can view monthly, weekly, daily and hourly statistics.

Banner Optimization for Search Engines
Ok, so you are all done setting up the ads and the management system. How can you target the ads directly to the customers and the surfers on the search engines? I'm assuming here that the basic intent is to make the visitor click on an ad. Under this assumption, you can do two things. One, you can make the search engines pick up the banner directly and two, you can write related text below the banner which will attract the surfer in.

A visitor is more likely to click on a banner if he comes in looking for it, rather than stumbling on to the banner in the middle of something else which he came in to see. So, the visitor comes in looking for the banner, and in the process, your site also gets a once over rather than the other way around. Place the banner at the top of your page, write a good description in the alt text (this alt description will serve as a heading for your listing in the search engines) and do a good write up about your sponsor and his product just below the banner.

The result: A link in the search engines to your sponsor with your affiliate code attached, with a good heading and description. And the best part is that the surfer came in looking for exactly what he saw on the search engine, which he wants to click, and which you want him to click!

While this article assumes a degree of technical skill and search optimization techniques on your part, it provides an accessible way for you to increase the revenue from your site. Enjoy!

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