Ask the Expert: Online Advertising

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Which online ad formats are proving to be most effective for b-to-b marketers? Combuechen: The most effective ad formats vary depending on program objectives, target audience or size of company. For example, we've seen success with display ads for building brand awareness for medium-to-large companies advertising to small-to-medium-size business audiences. We've also had success with content provision—that is, providing proprietary content like white papers on a host business site or sponsoring sites like Yahoo Small Business or LinkedIn questions. How do you measure the success of your online ad programs? Combuechen: Again, measurement varies depending on the objectives of the program. For a direct response campaign, where actions such as “download this report” or “contact this salesperson” are the desired actions, click-through rates and cost-per-action are valid measurements. For a branding or awareness campaign, a brand recognition study ... is more appropriate. And, in this respect, there is little difference in the tools used to measure campaign effectiveness, whether for a b-to-b campaign or a b-to-c effort. What are some of the most promising new technologies for online advertising, and how are you using them? Combuechen: Using video in banners, as site content, and b-roll is one promising approach. Video is a particularly compelling way to tell a brand or product story and can be very useful for b-to-b communications as these businesses tend to be more complex and can require additional explanation. Another approach is to use IM [instant messaging] for multiple communication channels instead of site visits or to play a role in the sales process. IM is a good way to reduce costs and time. Also, finding engaging ways to add value to the end customer and build brand affinity via social networking. As an example, we applied the “Launch a FedEx package” idea on Facebook. M
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