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Advertising on the Internet


Advertising on the Internet (Second Edition)
Robin Zeff & Brad Aronson

John Wiley and Sons Publishing
435 pp

Reviewed by Paul Garbutt

Targeting the right customer with the right ad at the right time is a marketer's dream and this book shows how and why this has become a mantra for online advertisers.

Customization and personalisation are possible to a degree that is almost scary, with current technology. Short on hype, the examples used throughout the book are very realistic and easy to grasp.

In 14 well organized chapters, the authors have assembled dozens of Internet and marketing professionals who contribute editorial sidebars and even entire chapters, providing a well-rounded body of knowledge and experience. This is a good book to be reading next to a Web station, as there are hundreds of URLs peppered throughout, referencing resources, contributors and tech companies websites.

The book explains how online advertising is more measurable, accountable, traceable and interactive than any medium before it. Both mass marketing and direct marketing rules apply, and without understanding how Internet advertising is like these, and unique, you could be wasting your money advertising online.

Advertising on the Internet is a very comprehensive survey of the advertising models and methods that are emerging as the new medium takes shape.

The book also explores the wealth of marketing information that can be collected and compiled via the web, buying and selling advertising space on the Internet, and how to get your site and ads placed on search engines.

This book could have been titled marketing on the Internet, as it puts Internet advertising into a wider context of a total marketing campaign.

Zeff and Aronson cover the issues, trends and technologies relating to the biggest revolution in advertising since television. Traditional advertising, (which builds brand awareness), and direct marketing,(which generates leads and executes sales) is being done online, but there is a lot of work between concept and reality.

The book does not assume any Internet knowledge on the readers' part, yet does cover a lot of information which most people interested in the subject might need to know.

Advertising on the Internet looks and reads like a textbook, with the material starting out with general information and moving into the specifics of such things as website traffic measurement, and how the data collected can be used to maximize the advertising and sales potential of the Internet.

This is a textbook of emerging online advertising models from banners to interstitials, sponsorships to push technology, and it also tackles privacy issues and the blurring of the line between editorial and advertising content.

There are at least 500,000 sites that are selling advertising and that number is expanding rapidly. Some of these are local in focus and target and target local audience while others are national and global in their reach. Both are examined in detail in this book.

There is a chapter devoted to placing advertising on the Internet, and how to gauge the effectiveness of the ads, who is watching them, for how long, at what time etc. The sheer volume of data generated by such log file records presents it's own challenges to online marketers.

A good deal of space is dedicated to the art and science of web traffic analysis which is key to managing any online advertising initiative. The reader is walked through how log files are generated and what are the key pieces of information that will determine the placement and nature of online ads and promotions.

The authors discuss in detail when it may be appropriate to do the work of web traffic analysis in house, and when it makes more sense to bring in an outside firm. In addition to learning about your customers through surveys, log files etc., you must be ready to follow up on the data. The point is made that, while some companies spend significant dollars on their personalisation software, many fail to respond to emails from customers in a timely fashion.

The authors are very candid about the difficulty in predicting the success of various advertising models, because of the rapid growth of the Internet and the fact that the entire relationship between advertisers, consumers and the Internet is still in its infancy.

This book is valuable for its impressive glossary of terms such as "hits", "impressions", "CPM (cost per thousand impressions)" and "targeting" and in-depth discussions of what they mean. While the advantages of online advertising are illuminated, there is a message that an online presence must be one part of a larger marketing strategy.

Strategies for targeting a geographical area with local content, paid for by local advertisers are also discussed, including different ways of attracting and managing local traffic.

The authors have compiled an extensive resource guide which surveys, among other things, top search engines, Internet marketing companies and resources.

There is a focus on the fact that online advertising is evolving away from a digital version of the TV commercial or other broadly targeted message and is moving towards being a channel for interactive marketing, where the right customer is being reached at the right time with the right message for him or her.

Collecting data on who is seeing the ad, what they want to see and how ready they are to make a purchasing decision, as well as the ability to analyze and make use of the data collected by various software programs.

Numerous real world examples provide some useful criteria by which to judge the success of a particular online initiative and sparks of creativity

Advertising on the Internet is a good resource for those people who are looking for an in depth review of past and current Internet advertising practice and theory, as well as a good set of indicators as to the probable directions that Internet advertising may go. In any field that is expanding as rapidly as this, it is impossible to accurately predict which will be the new models and paradigms that will become dominant even in the near future.

Paul Garbutt is an account manager for Sources.


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