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A project of “Online Marketing”In fulfillment of the Study Oriented Project under the guidance of By MAHENDER REDDY
AcknowledgementsWith profound gratitude and respect I express my sincere thanks to Prof. Anil KBhat for giving me the opportunity to work under him. His timely guidance andadvice always kept me motivated to do better and on the right path. I would alsolike to thank him for the helpful resources suggested by him.And last, our earnest thanks to Google and the World Wide Web, without whichthis report would have no beginning, nor an end.
AbstractThis report aims to cover all the important online techniques currently being practicedby industry professionals. It elaborates every technique with relevant case studies,examples etc. Important online marketing techniques covered in the report are SearchEngine Optimisation Marketing, Viral Marketing, and Display Advertising etc.The report also takes up Mobile Advertising and its effectiveness in India. Everysection is concluded by some suggestions to improve the current monetizationand business models in every kind of marketing technique.A final conclusion is drawn as to the state of Online Marketing in India and itsplace in the future, which surely looks bright.
Table of Contents1. Internet – An Introduction 1.1.Past, Present and the Future 1.2.The Indian Scenario2. Internet Marketing 2.1.Push or Pull? 2.2 Types of Online Marketing3. Search Engine Marketing 3.1.Introduction 3.2.Page Rank: An Overview 3.3.Analyze Google Rankings 3.4.Case Study: SEO for small companies4. Display Advertising 4.1.Introduction 4.2.Banner Copy Testing 4.3.Portal Case Study: Hong Kong web site5. Viral Marketing 5.1.Introduction 5.2.Evaluating a viral campaign 5.3.Viral campaign backfires: A case study6. Interactive Marketing
6.1.Introduction 6.2.Interactivity and advertising7. Social Media Optimisation 7.1.Introduction 7.2.MySpace or yours? 7.3.Growth of Social Media 7.4.Social Media Backfires: A Case Study8. Mobile Marketing 8.1.Introduction 8.2.Advertising for Gen M 8.3.Effectiveness of Mobile Advertising: India9. Integrated Marketing Communications – Online (IMC) 9.1.Introduction 9.2.Overview10. Conclusions 10.1.Future of Online Marketing 10.2.Future of Online Marketing companies in India11. References
1. Internet – An Introduction1.1. Past, Present and the FutureWith increased globalization of the world economies, for most enterprises, marketopportunities seem to be endless these days. This in turn, of course, causes heightenedcompetition among the players in order to achieve better performance. Consequently,departing from the traditional commercial strategies and tactics, innovative managers arelooking for unique ways to compete more effectively on a local, regional and global basis.The information superhighway is being shaped by advances in digital telephone networks,interactive cable television, personal computers, online services and, finally, the Internet.The Internet, also known as the “International electronic network,” began in 1968 by theAdvanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. Originally, known asthe ARPAnet, the Internet was started as an experimental network connecting differentuniversity computer centers throughout the country. The combination of ARPAnet andcommercially available backbone services forms what the Internet is today – the world’slargest collection of decentralized computer networks. There are over 30,000 estimatedcomputer networks connecting more than 1.5 million computers to one another.Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is used by all of these networksas the standard communication protocol through which data communication isaccomplished. At least 20 million people (actually estimated at 30 million) in 135 countriessend and receive information through the Internet.The Net represents a $300 billion market. Over 30 million companies andhouseholds around the world use the Internet as a communications link through e-mail, interactive advertisement, bulletin boards, research and online discussiongroups. At its most basic level, the Internet serves as a seemingly endless catalogof marketing messages and advertising in an interactive fashion.Advantages of the World Wide Web Global opportunities
The Net access delivers a company with an opportunity to implement highly cost- effective vehicles not only for their own marketing and customer support needs, but also for positioning themselves globally. More and more businesses are discovering that they have the ability to reach and communicate with current and potential customers abroad through the Internet with the same cost and ease as in the USA. • Accessibility Companies who use the Internet, not only for advertising, but for e-mail and customer ordering, increase their hours of business on a global spectrum. Instead of a typical eight-hour day, businesses have increased their opportunities by providing 24-hour access for branch offices, business contacts, and shoppers. • Utility Providing appropriate form, place and time utility (i.e. giving customers the opportunity to decide what they want, where and when) may result in a competitive advantage for the marketers. • Advertisement effectiveness Traditionally, advertising has been one of the major forms of communication between a firm and its clients. But with internet, advertising has moved on to interaction, customerisation and constant feedback models.1.2. The Indian ScenarioThough the internet entered the Indian market a bit late, Indi has now fully emerged as anIT giant in the making and internet is playing a pivotal role in connecting businesses andproviding employment opportunities. Here are some statics on the Internet usage in India: • 80 million users by 2010 • Some target markets include matrimony sites, social networks, movie review sites etc. • The market is growing at 11.2% th • 5 largest internet market globally.
If we look at some Online Advertising statistics from US: • Search marketing spending will grow by 14.9% in 2009 • US Internet ad spending will increase to $25.7 billion in 2009, an 8.9% growth rate.With online communities growing by the millions, most companies have takennotice of the power of this huge consumer base, and are trying to reach them fromthe bottom of the base. And a new trend is emerging called Behavioral Targeting: • Uses information collected on an individuals web-browsing behavior, to select which advertisements to display to that individual. • Site owners display content more relevant to the interests of the user. • Used by online publishers and advertisers to increase the effectiveness of campaigns.
2. Internet MarketingInternet marketing is the marketing of products or services over the Internet. The Internethas brought many unique benefits to marketing, one of which being lower costs for thedistribution of information and media to a global audience. The interactive nature ofInternet marketing, both in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses, isa unique quality of the medium. Some of the major advantages of marketing over theinternet that have already been discussed above include: • Cheaper and better reach to target audience. • One to one personal approach. • Statistics can be tracked easily. This results in better feedback and improvements.2.2.Push or Pull?The marketing techniques over the internet have evolved into a truly novel concept,which combines the push techniques of Television, Print marketing etc. and usesclever placement of content to define a new concept called ‘Push me, pull you’!In the world of Web marketing advertisers `push of content only works if someone is`pulling. Successful marketing on the Web is all about pushing content that has the most`pulling power for the Web user. In order to build a thriving content site, you must oﬀernews or truly customized data. It is not just about creating ``fresh coolness.To create successful marketing on the Web one has to understand the motivation that will drivepull. Many of the principles of Internet marketing are the same as for traditional marketing:understanding the target audience (the `who and `what for communication), how to reach itand how to tell if it has been reached, and communicated successfully with. In the case ofmarketing on the Web, however, it is also necessary to think about who in the whole wide Webworld will be looking to `pull the content, and whether the content will appeal.There are `wired audiences that are particularly likely to `pull content. These tend to bespecialists and opinion formers, such as journalists who rely on the Web as a source ofinformation. Public relations consultancies are harnessing the Web as a conduit for reachingjournalists with press information on new brand launches. In this way the Web acts as apowerful `few-to-many communications channel, whereby the targeted journalists reach out
to their readers, often of traditional print media, with the story. By dint of having the journalistseem to endorse the launch, the story is more credible, with the further benefit that the Web isglobal, and instantaneous in its reach. Once the dynamics for `pulling the defined targetaudience are understood, marketers can start to consider how to `push content out. `Pushmay entail promoting an online presence through traditional marketing methods or it may mean`pushing promotional material to people once they come online. Whatever the online marketingtechnique used, many of the rules of offline marketing apply; research is the key to planning,implementing and measuring the eﬀectiveness of an online campaign.2.2 Types of Online MarketingThere are many ways to publish and market content and services over the internet,most of which can be published instantaneously for millions of viewers. Some ofthe techniques studied in this report include: • Search Engine Marketing • Display Advertising • Viral Marketing • Interactive Marketing • Social Networking • Mobile Marketing • IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) Online3. Search Engine Marketing3.1. IntroductionWikipedia, the online library quotes, ‘Search engine optimization (SEO) is theprocess of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from searchengines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Typically, theearlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive fromthe search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including imagesearch, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.’
Marketers all over the world are using various techniques to push their web sites at thetop of the results page. This section will deal with how Google works, how can oneoptimize rankings and what can be the best SEO approaches for a small company.3.2. Page Rank: An OverviewThe following sub-sections deal with the calculation, implementation and impact ofthe PageRank, which is the prerequisite to recapitulating existing search engineoptimization strategies. A complete understanding of how Search Engine resultscan be optimized are thus obtained, which provides a sound base for furtherreading. Understanding the implementation and impact of the PageRank (PR)algorithm allows the focused development of Internet-marketing strategies.The following primarily introduces the calculation of the PR. Based on thecalculation model, the implementation is illustrated. Additionally, the impact of thePR, different link strategies and feasible SEO approaches are also elaborated.CalculationThe Page Rank represents a web site’s importance within a set of pages (e.g. Internet) andhas a major impact on the positioning of web sites within the search engine result pages(SERP). The following Equation describes the rather simple calculation of the PR:Within this formula q is the residual probability (usually 0.15) derived from the “randomwalk“principle (used to avoid rank sink), N the total number of pages, M(pi) the set of pageslinking to pi and L(pj) the number of outgoing hyperlinks of the page pj . Limiting the number ofiterations required to efficiently calculate the precise PR is a major determinant to optimizingthe speed of the crawling/indexation process. The overall ranking of a page within the SERP isdeducted from the PR and the relevance-score (RS). As described in the next equation, thosetwo factors are weighted by a set of controls and a factor-base, which is defined as:
Within this formula, RS is the relevance-score (determined by onsite-factors liketitle-tag), PR the PageRank, as explained above, a, b, are weight controls and fb afactor-base to integrate the logarithmic core PR. While the PR is linear, the rankshown on the Google toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com) or alternative tools ismapped on a logarithmic scale with an approximate basis of 5-8.How does Google work?Google is fetching URLs coordinated by a URL-server. The fetched sites are compressed andsent to a store-server indicated with a doc-id. An indexer distributes the parsed and analyzedweb page as hit lists (set of words) in a partially sorted forward index barrel. Additionally, theindexer stores information about hyperlinks on the document in an anchor file. Thosehyperlinks, converted by a URL-resolver, are again associated with doc-ids. A database withpairs of such resolved doc-ids is used to compute the PR as stated above. Finally, the sortercreates an inverted index from the barrels sorted by word-ids which is then used by thesearcher. Performing a single word search, Google converts the word into the word-id tosearch in the short barrel, analyzing the hit lists of the indexed documents. The hit type iscombined with a type weight (the dot product of the vector of count-weights with the vector oftype-weights) to the RS. For a specific query, Google uses onsite-factors to select a first subsetof relevant matches (RM; example 10,000 pages) from the total number of matches (M; example100,000 pages) from the large repository (approximately 27 billion pages). This subset RM isdetermined by approximately two simple indicators (presumably title-tag and keyword density(ratio of the number of occurrences of a particular keyword or phrase to the total number ofwords in a page As explained, the onsite-factors are highly important for Web pages in such analgorithm; a high PR is totally insignificant in case the Web page does not fulfill therequirements for being included in RM. This non-PR threshold determines a set of differentSEO strategies. The significance of PR for the overall ranking has stressed the necessity ofdistributing inbound hyperlinks within the Internet.Impact on SEO strategiesThe establishment of more inbound hyperlinks has been approached by: link-exchange and linkspamming. While link-exchange was still a rather natural process (“I link to you, so you link tome”), link spamming was implemented in many different forms. Link-farms for example enabledthe distribution of a large amount of static hyperlinks utilizing rather simple algorithms. Moresophisticated technical approaches were the active utilization of the web site’s structure
to highlight specific web pages. The structures of the web pages have an importantimpact on the PR distribution.3.3. Analyze Google RankingsThe purpose of this sub-section is to identify the most popular techniques used to rank a webpage highly in Google. The paper presents the results of a study into 50 highly optimized webpages that were created as part of a Search Engine Optimization competition. The studyfocuses on the most popular techniques that were used to rank highest in this competition, andincludes an analysis on the use of PageRank, number of pages, number of in-links, domain ageand the use of third party sites such as directories and social bookmarking sites. A separatestudy was made into 50 non-optimized web pages for comparison. Understanding whichfactors can influence a page’s ranking in a search engine is therefore crucial for any web sitethat wishes to attract large numbers of users (in particular, e-commerce sites). This sectiontherefore sets out to identify the most effective techniques that can be used.In order to do this, the section presents the results from an analysis of the most successfulpages that were created as part of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) competition (SEO isthe process of trying to rank highly a given web page or domain for specific keywords).Because all of these pages are highly optimized, the resultant set of data represents anaggregation of the most popular (and thus implicitly, the most effective) techniques usedby the most successful Search Engine Optimizers in operation today.Issues with inferring search engine-ranking factorsThe web factors that could potentially influence a search engine’s ranking of a website can be classified according to two distinct categories:Query-Factors (On-Page factors), which rely on the content of a web page, such as theexistence and frequency of keywords; and Query-Independent Factors (Off-Page factors),which rely on information from external web pages that link to a web page under consideration.However, both types of factor are notoriously difficult to enumerate as the search engines donot reveal which particular ones they use when determining a web site’s ranking. Althoughidentifying the ranking factors is extremely difficult to infer, and the claims made by individualSEO companies difficult to verify, an understanding of the most effective techniques can beachieved by analyzing a set of highly optimized web pages created by a host of the leading SEO
companies and individuals. These web pages can easily be found by entering aspecially constructed query into any search engine. This query contains the keywordsV7ndotcom Elursrebmem, which was defined by the industry-leading SEO web site:www.v7n.com in a SEO competition it ran between January 15 2006 and May 15 2006.The keywords in the query were constructed in such a way as to ensure there were noexisting pages that would rank for this query before the competition began, and theonly pages that would ever rank for it would be those that would be competing in thecompetition. The participants were leading SEO companies and individuals.Experimental design and methodologyDefining the factors to analyzeOf the 200 or so factors that Google claim they use when determining a page’srank, the following have been chosen as representing the factors that most likelyexert the greatest influence on a page’s rank: • Number of web pages in a site indexed by search engine. Some web sites are bigger than others by several orders of magnitude. Bigger may be better as far as rankings are concerned. • PageRank of a web site. Google’s PageRank algorithm helps rank web sites according to the number of in-links, and the calculated authority of each site providing the in-link. Generally, the higher a site’s PageRank, the higher it’s ranking (and the more authority it can confer to other sites it links to). • Number of in-links to a web site. PageRank can be substituted by in-links as a good approximation of rank. • Age of the web site’s domain name. The SEO community currently speculates that older domain names will rank more highly than newer domain names for the same content. • Listing in Yahoo and DMoz directories. Both Yahoo and DMoz.org (the Open Directory) are human-edited directories whose results feed into directories from other search engine companies such as Yahoo and Google, respectively. Because of the high quality control of these directories, the sites they list are deemed to be of high authority, which the search engines may use as one of their ranking factors.
• Number of pages listed in Del.icio.us. Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site that enables anyone to bookmark a page. Because of its popularity and the fact that a bookmark can be interpreted as an implicit recommendation of a page, the number of different people who have bookmarked a specific page may add to that page’s ranking.Results and analysisAnalysis of the top ten results for the query V7ndotcom ElursrebmemAt first glance, the results presented in Table I, show a wide variance for eachindividual factor. However, the techniques used by each SEO competitor becomeclearer, as the following analysis shows.Number of pages indexedFor the top ten results, the number of pages of individual sites indexed by Google range fromtwo to 21,600. Widening the result set to the top 50, this range increases from two to 334,000,with some SEO competitors clearly attempting to influence the rankings through sheer volume.However, with the second placed competitor having only eight pages indexed, a high volume ofpages is clearly not needed to rank highly – quality seemingly counts over quality.That said, an analysis of the top 50 shows that creating a large number of pages is a techniqueused by many SEOs, with some success. Figure 1 shows the number of pages indexed for the
top 50 (number of pages shown on a logarithmic scale). The majority of pages rankedin the top 27 clearly have more pages indexed than those that rank between 28 and 50.PageRank of a web siteThe PageRank of the top ten from the v7n set ranged from PageRank 4 (PR4) through to PR7. Figure2 shows the frequency distribution of PageRank, which clearly shows how important PageRank is toa page’s ranking. For example, no page with a PageRank less than 4 ranked at all within the top 40.However, despite the obvious importance of PageRank, it is impossible to state that a specific pagewith a certain PageRank will rank higher than other pages with a lower PageRank; only that highPageRank pages tend to rank higher than lower PageRank pages.Comparing the PageRank distribution for the v7n set (Figure 2) with the mobile phones setreveals a broader distribution of the PageRank values for the mobile phones set. This isdue to different types of web site all ranking highly for the query mobile phones, each withits own individual properties that will impact upon a search engine’s ranking algorithm.
Number of in-linksFigure 4 shows the number of page in-links for the v7n set. Note that these figuresreflect the number of in-links to a specific page, rather than to the whole web site.The trend clearly shows a decline in the number of in-links as the rankings fall.Domain ageDomain age (i.e. the date at which each domain was registered) has been positedas an important factor in the ranking of a site, as older domain names are said tobe inferred by Google’s ranking algorithm as conveying more trust, and thereforeshould rank higher than newer domains.
DMoz directory submissionsFigure 6 shows the number of sites listed in The Open Directory for the v7n set and themobile phones set. The mobile phones set is consistently high, with 80 percent of sitesincluded in the directory. In contrast, the v7n set shows a marked difference betweenthe top 10 sites and the remaining sites, and only 22 percent of sites in the whole setbeing included. Being listed in DMoz is notoriously difficult, however, with lead timesof six months to a year before an entry submission is actually included, due to the factthat human volunteers must judge each and every entry.Yahoo directory submissionThe results of the Yahoo directory submission analysis were less conclusive, as sofew of the v7n set had a Yahoo directory entry. Only 14 percent of sites were listed,33compared with 90 percent of the mobile phones set. The reason for this ispresumably the fact that entry into the Yahoo directory costs $300 and again maytake several months for a site to be listed. Consequently, with a high initial outlayand no guarantee that an entry will even appear in the Yahoo directory in time forthe contest’s closure date, it appears that very few SEOs attempted this option.
Del.icio.us bookmarksThe number of pages bookmarked in Del.icio.us for both the v7n set and the mobile phoneset also shows a notable disparity. Del.icio.us links will only appear if people choose tobookmark them. Although this appears to be a fail-safe way of determining a page’spopularity, a bookmark does not, of course, give any indication of the intention of thebookmarker. As such, a page can appear popular simply by the page’s author encouragingas many people as possible to bookmark it for reasons other than popularity.Conclusion: 92 percent of the top 50 pages in the mobile phones set have del.icio.uslinks, while only 54 percent of the v7n set do. However, of the v7n set, there is a cleartrend showing more del.icio.us bookmarks the higher the ranking. As such, attractingdel.icio.us bookmarks would appear to be a technique used by the more successfulSEOs, but it cannot be said that del.icio.us bookmarks confer high rankingConclusionThis section has presented the results of a study into the techniques used by topSEOs to rank their web pages no. 1 in a SEO competition. After describing theexperimental design and methodology used, the results of the study were as follows:
• Many SEOs generated many pages to influence rankings, which proved a partial success. • High PageRank in Google clearly plays a major part in a page’s rankings, and attaining a high PageRank was a goal of most of the SEOs. However a PR of a particular rank will not necessarily rank higher than a PR of a lower rank. • The more successful SEOs attracted many in-links to their page, with a clear trend showing declining in-links for lower rankings. Accordingly, attracting many in-links is another technique used by SEOs that would appear to have a good deal of success. • A listing in DMoz is a technique favoured by the more successful SEOs. • Many SEOs use older domains for higher rankings, and there may be truth that this is a successful technique. • The more successful pages had more del.icio.us bookmarks3.4. Case Study: SEO for small companiesSmaller companies must continually review the pay-per-click (PPC) option or an organiclisting on search engines. The purpose of the following section is to present a case studyof a small manufacturing firm that is beginning to evaluate which search engine, Yahoo orGoogle, is more cost effective. Ultimately, management identified different variables andanalytically reached to a conclusion whether PPC advertising is worth the cost to thecompany. For the purpose of study, one month’s section of data from Yahoo and Googlewas examined. Patterns or indications as to which key word landed a better bid position inthe PPC campaign were determined. And thus, seven consecutive campaigns for click-through rates (CTRs), average cost per click (CPC) and average position of keywordsbetween the search engines Yahoo and Google were observed.As has already been discussed in the previous sections regarding SEO techniques and, thesearch engine generates a ranked listing of sites relevant to the keyword used by the customer.The sites listed first are those deemed most relevant by the search engine based on factors likesite content, links and current updates. Typically, the organic listings are the bulk of the copyon the screen, and each search engine has their own algorithm for ranking the list of sites.Pay-per-click advertisements are listed on the side at a prominent place, usually shaded or noted as‘‘sponsored’’ links so that a customer will understand that the link was purchased by the web sitebusiness. The price paid per click is determined on an auction basis. For example, if
a business wants the top spot for the term ‘‘gold ring’’, it will bid up to a certain amount ‘‘perclick’’. Whenever the search engine displays an advertisement for a business web listing and acustomer clicks on it, that action leads the customer to the business web site, and the companyis charged an amount of money by the search engine company. Since this charge occurs eachtime a customer clicks through to a business web site and since this cost is changed regularlyon an auction basis, it is obvious that this can be an expensive process, especially to a smallcompany. The question arises, is this cost necessary to the business, or is the organic listingjust as productive to the small business.A case study: data from Kennedy IncorporatedSmaller companies are always concerned with cost-benefit analysis. At first glance, itappears that the PPC option would be very productive for small businesses. Although itcan be costly, sometimes it is the only way a company’s web site will be seen bycustomers. Also it is difficult for small companies to compete with the giants in the organicclick venue, because in the organic stream, the larger companies will generally land on topof the list. Therefore, companies must regularly examine the cost of the PPC, and theposition they have purchased, but they must also review their web site design to ensurethat the organic listing is frequently landing the company one of the top spots of the list.For example, good web page design should include creating specific landing pages forpopular key words. And the company’s management wanted to balance using the organicvenue and the PPC one for the profitability of their company. Kennedy decided to use thePPC method utilizing the two largest search engines, Google and Yahoo. The question forthe company is how to best deploy its limited marketing budget.The following two tables show different data obtained from Yahoo! and Google, respectively.
Within the PPC method, management first wanted to know what keyword phrases to pickand what would be the CPC to insure them a position at the top of the sponsored list.Management agreed that being in one of the top three positions was acceptable. Forexample, the ‘‘key chain promotional product’’ had a click cost of $2.73 for first place onthe sponsored list, but dropped dramatically to a cost of $0.15 for the second position bid.That is a huge cost differential for simply being listed second on the sponsored list. Alsothat keyword only received 126 search requests, so being second or third was quiteacceptable to the company. They noticed that all the keywords that received searchrequests numbering in the thousands had fairly small differentials from first to second bidand often even to third bid. In those cases, it would be good strategy to have the highestbid, because in spending a few pennies more the company could get the top bid.Once the company decides on keyword phrases to use, then they would like to compare the cost ofsearch engines. Since Kennedy Incorporated set a budget with Google and Yahoo to stay below acertain dollar limit, the total costs were almost the same. However, the average CPC was higher withGoogle. That would make the difference in the average CPC rather significant.Also notice that the click through rate (CTR) for Yahoo was 3.83 per cent and for Google it isonly 0.64 per cent. That number is simply the number of clicks divided by the number ofimpressions. The CTR is very important, because it is the first step a consumer takes to make aconversion to a sale. The bottom line is that for the same dollar amount of advertising spent,Kennedy Incorporated obtained a better CTR on Yahoo than on Google. In this regard, Yahoooutperformed Google in this Sample. Typically, a higher average position was achieved withYahoo as well. t is clear from the data, that Yahoo provided more traffic (e.g. more clicks) to theweb site of this small company with its limited marketing budget. Since clicks through to theweb site are the first step in the sales process, the data suggests that Yahoo provided morevalue for the investment than did Google
4. Display Advertising4.1. IntroductionDisplay advertising is a type of advertising that typically contains text (i.e., copy),logos, photographs or other images, location maps, and similar items. Displayadvertisements are not required to contain images, audio, or video: Textualadvertisements are also used where text may be more appropriate or moreeffective. One common form of display advertising involves billboards.Display advertising also appears on the Internet, as a form of internet marketing. Displayadvertising appears on web pages in many forms, including web banners. These bannerscan consist of static or animated images, as well as interactive media that may includeaudio and video elements. Adobe Systems Flash or .gif is the preferred presentationformats for such interactive advertisements. The Internet Advertising Bureau, an industrytrade group, sets some standards for online display advertisement sizes and shapes.4.2. Banner Copy TestingCorporate Web sites serve a variety of purposes such as direct selling, projecting corporateimage, providing product information, generating qualified leads, dispensing electroniccoupons, and handling a variety of post- purchase tasks. Companies generate Web site trafficoff line through active promotion of the address uniform resource locator (URL) in collateraladvertising material and online through registration with search engines, hypertextual linkswith other Websites and in some cases paid banner advertisements on other Web sites. It isthis latter method of generating traffic that concerns this section, and various testing methodsto improve the efficiency of display advertising.Advertising bannersAdvertising banners are usually small (120-500 pixels wide × 45-120 pixels high), rectangulardisplays on a Web page. As banner advertisements increase in popularity, so do calls foradvertisement banner research. Web advertisers question traditional media’s cost per thousand(CPM) pricing model based on impressions, often insisting on paying for results, click-
throughs, as well as, or instead of, impressions. Advertisers want to understandwho is clicking on the banner, and which factors lead to higher click-through rates.Click-through ratesMeasuring and increasing advertisement banner click-through rates are important both forthe advertiser and the Web site sponsoring the advertising. As banner pricing moves awayfrom CPM and towards click-through rates, both parties will work towards increasing click-through rates. For the advertiser or advertising agency shopping rate cards, click-throughrates will help determine which Web site offers the better buy. Targeting banneradvertisements based on the content of a Web site should tend to increase response rates.Copy testingTraditional copy testing or communication-effect research, often uses a paper and pencil testafter exposure to an advertisement, measuring the reported change in recall, recognition orattitude towards a product. Web banner copy testing via click-through rates has at least onemajor difference when compared to most copy testing in other media; that actual behavior canbe recorded and analysed. Some of the variables identified in such tests are described below.Specific language communications effectsThe experiment focused on mechanical aspects of wording choice, rather than messagevariables readership was negatively affected by an imperative in the headline, and positively bya determiner such as “a” or “the”. Some factors having no effect on readership included thenumber of adjectives, nouns, verbs or total words in the headline, presence of personalreferences, and use of an interrogative form. In some cases these factors affected eitherrecognition of the advertisement or the ability of the respondent to associate the brand with theadvertisement. For example, use of personal references (you, your) in the advertisement had aneffect on both advertisement recognition and brand association.The experimentThe current pilot experiment involved four different banners randomly assigned tovisitors arriving at a shopping-oriented Web page
Experimental designThere were four treatment conditions, or banners, which were identical except for oneline of copy. The four separate examples read: “Specializing in finding your soulmate”, “Find your soul mate”, “Click here to find your soul mate” or just “Click here”.The language used to create Web pages is called the hypertext markup language(HTML). The home page for the banner contained the following HTML: <IMG SRC=”/cgi-bin/image.cgi” >Most often, the SRC parameter in an IMG markup points to an image file. In thecase of our experiment, however, the SRC parameter pointed to a computerprogram. This program generated a random number and then used that number topick one of the four experimental banners.Working hypothesesFor practical considerations, we the first banner was used as a starting point. And asecond banner was developed in a simple attempt to demonstrate that Web copy testingcould improve the efficacy of a banner. The second banner contained cleaner copy: “Findyour soul mate”. Also, the second phrase is a sentence in the active voice, a linguisticcondition associated with high-readership performance. For that and for intuitive reasons,it was reasoned that the second banner would outperform the original.A second goal was to evaluate the common Web advertising practice of using the phrase“Click here” on banner advertisements. Evidence suggests that “Click here” does add tobanner advertisement effectiveness. For the third advertisement the phrase “Click here”was added to create the copy, “Click here to find your soul mate” and it was hypothesizedthat this banner would outperform the simpler version without the phrase “Click here”.Finally, as a control condition, we the “Find your soul mate” element and an advertisementwith the simple phrase “Click here” was included. To summarize, it was expected was thatthe click-through rates would increase as we went from:• specializing in find your soul mate;• find your soul mate; and• click here to find your soul mate
With “Click here” performing somewhat worse than “Click here to find your soulmate”. In addition, we wanted to look at the possibility that some visitor segmentshad a higher click-through rate than othersResultsThe 18-day experiment yielded 2,272 usable visitors. Click-through rates for the four conditionsappear in Table I. As shown, the most effective wording was simply “Click here”,followed by “Click here to find your soul mate”, “Find your soul mate” and last was“Specializing in finding your soul mate”ConclusionsCopy testing can improve banner advertisement effectiveness, but the quirks and uniquefeatures of online media will require new theories and new studies. Our most surprising resultwas that the basic imperative phrase “Click here” outperformed all of the other conditions, thefact being attributed to the curiosity variable which is added to the copy banner.4.3. Portal Case Study: Hong Kong web siteThe following section deals with identifying some key success factors related to internetadvertising, in the specific case of a portal directed at a teenage audience in Hong Kong. It alsotries to derive a generally applicable formula for measuring the effectiveness of internetadvertising. It proposes a framework for advertising effectiveness that includes traditionalobjective measures (click-through rates), subjective measures applied by advertisers, andseasonality corrections. It successfully derives a mathematical formula for measurement ofeffectiveness. Extracts components from ten banner advertising campaigns at one web sitebetween January 2001 and May 2002, and analyses them by means of proprietary data-miningrule-induction software. Selects two rules form the several generated, on the basis of