INSIDER: Making the Most of Website Advertising

June 1, 2008

By Chris Matcek

Are you using your website to its maximum potential? How do you know if your marketing initiatives are really bringing in sales leads? In A Two-Stage Model of the Promotional Performance of Pure Online Firms (Information Systems Research, 2006) Jianan Wu, Victor J. Cook, Jr., and Edward C. Strong examine the relationship between a two-stage process of advertising to bring customers to a website and then using the website to generate leads or transactions. The importance of this research leads us to find out how advertising and the website work jointly not analyzing separately. We can also note where each complements the other, or how costs can be reduced in combination. Please note, the industry studied here was not real estate, though the core findings will still be relevant to your field. The results of this research should not be applied blindly, but with serious thought as to how they might be relevant in your particular market. Specific types of marketing media, measures of time, and percentages should be altered to fit your industry. 1. "Immediately after each ad exposure there is an increase in website visits and an increase in sales leads." THINK: The more people you reach with advertisements, the more people will come to your web site. Once they are there, your web site must be in top shape to set up for a transaction. 2. "A double issue [of a magazine with an advertisement in it] generates more traffic than a single issue." THINK: Rather than spreading your marketing dollars equally over multiple advertising campaigns, a single campaign that provides more repetitive exposure is a more effective use of your budget. 3. "Placing ads in the right-most column of the right page produces higher traffic than in the left-hand column of the left page. THINK: Where do you place your advertisements? A simple request for placement of your ad on the right side of the page could increase your traffic. 4. "Advertising indeed has carryover effect on website visits, but the effect wears out." THINK: Advertising will definitely bring more people to your website but continual advertising will keep the traffic there longer. 5. "Visitors who have visited the website immediately after the exposure to an ad are more likely to return to the website again in the same period." THINK: How can you get someone to go straight from your advertisement to your website? Maybe you could say "for more information visit our website" or "finish this story at our website." Once the potential customer has visited, they are more likely to come back. 6. "Visitors who are most likely to become sales leads have the following characteristics: (1) they made more visits to the website and (2) they spent more time on each page and they downloaded more pages each time they made a visit." THINK: Can your website track individuals as they view your website? Information such as which pages they visit, how long they look at each one, and how many different pages they viewed can be attached to an RSVP form and have personalized data for each visitor. 7. "A visitor is more likely to submit an RSVP form if the link is placed at the top of the page than at the bottom of the page." THINK: For such an easy way to increase RSVPs, this is a simple necessity for a website easily taken care of in a short time. 8. "Advertising characteristics surrogated by response latency have a stronger impact on sales leads than website characteristics." THINK: The advertisement qualities are more important than the web site qualities, so spend as much time, if not more, on advertisement creation and complementation with the website.

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About the Author:

Chris Matcek, MBA/ME Candidate, Dec 2008, Baylor University
Graduate Assistant, Keller Center for Research

Chris is a second year graduate student from Katy, Texas. His undergraduate degree is in Electrical and Computer Engineering and he is currently working on his Masters of Engineering and MBA.