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The myths of Web-site advertising

If you are looking for online advertising information, you will notice that most online web sites make a big deal out of the number of hits that they generate every day, week or month.  Other sites promise you "impressions" or "click-throughs".  Here's why you should avoid these models:

The "hits" model

Web site owners generally talk about the number of hits that they receive and do so as though they were talking about the number of people that come to their site.  These two figures aren't even related.  A hit is nothing more than the transfer of one file.  Web pages can include one file or a hundred or more files. 

If there are 20 images on a page (could be buttons or small graphics that you can't even see), each page that is viewed generates a total of 21 hits. (One HTML file plus 20 graphics.)  

Some site owners purposely put a large number of very small files or invisible graphics on a page just to increase their "hits".  Others will break up a single large image into 50 small ones that still look like one large one.  If this happens, one person can easily generate hundreds of hits in just a minute or two.

The "hits" model is generally used by companies that want to make their traffic sound like more than what it really is.

The "impressions" model

This model is generally reserved for banner ads and are billed at X number of dollars per thousand times the ad is seen.  An impression is when a visitor comes to a page and your ad is loaded.

Impression models sound pretty cheap, but the reason that they are so cheap is that they don't work well.  First, it is easy to circumvent the counters and you are often dependent upon the site owner for honest delivery of figures.

Second, the goal of the site owner is to give you the maximum amount of impressions in the shortest possible time.  There is no attempt to put your ad in front of a real prospect.  Therefore, your banner often gets loaded on many pages and the person that is browsing the site may see your ad dozens of times.  If they weren't interested the 1st time they saw the ad, they probably won't be interested the 75th time either.  Yet you are still "charged" for all 75 impressions.

Another problem is that viewers may see your ad but may not be able to find it next time, even minutes later.  Your impression may be one of 5 that could randomly load on that page and the viewer would never find you again or your impressions may have been exhausted.  Business is lost this way,

The "click-through" model

Compared to the above models, this is the most honest business model.  The only time that you are charged is if someone clicks through to your site.  

Or do they?  

When this is the ad model, clicks-throughs are often automatically generated.  If you have ever been to a site where you had a pop-up window suddenly appear, it is likely that you have been forwarded to this page just to create a click-through and charge the advertiser.  

Automated click-throughs will get you quite a bit of traffic, but are you looking for traffic or business?  

The honest "static" model

Keeping it simple is the best and most honest way to do business.  The static model means that your ad or page is live for a certain period of time regardless of whether one hundred or one thousand people view your ad.

If the ad is scheduled for six months, then you can make the decision at the end of six months to either renew or find something else.  You will know that your banner or page was viewable every day of those six months and you didn't have to manage it.

SeniorMag believes in the static model.  It's honest and your resources aren't wasted on traffic that isn't in your business model.  You pay for a specific page and location and you should have the right to expect that it will be there... every day, all day... no matter how many people see it.

Want more information on marketing to seniors on SeniorMag?  Email us and one of our representatives will be in contact with you shortly.


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