updated: October 2nd, 2009 / Ross Johnson / 23 Comments

Online Media Placement – do you need critical mass?

PayPerClick and Search are the big rage now days when it comes to internet marketing and promotion. However there is another medium that the big players are using that is rarely even considered, media placement.

Traditional media placement/planning is centered around finding the right demographic of people who watch a particular TV/Radio station, show, sport, or time and buying advertising space for your related product. Ideally the advertisement is targeted towards the viewers and you achieve better results for your investment than if you were to pick the time/channel/show at random.

This method applies online, however it is a bit more tricky. The trade off is that it is more effective, and cheaper. Instead of picking a show that might be related, you can have your advertisement only show up when it is contextually relevant (the content on the page is relevant to your product). Additionally you can go a step further and have your ad be placed based on behavioral relevance. That is to say that research shows that a users who has visited X pages/sites with in X amount of days is most likely looking to purchase X item.

For example a user who has been on three sports sites on the same advertising network, and then edmunds.com is likely to buy a SUV with the towing package. If you are a car manufacture you can buy an advertisement that will show up in that situation. Sounds great? It is, and it is effective. There is a problem however, and that problem is price.

Even though it is cheaper than running a national TV advertisement, the cost per conversion (CPC) is not going to be cheap. Unless you have some serious funding to support it as a branding effort in addition to driving straight sales you are shit out of luck.

For example a new client that we are helping market, sells dog diapers and dog pants. Their profit per sale is barely enough to support an effective adwords campaign, much less a behavioral targeting campaign. He could purchase some advertisements on some targeted websites, but our research shows it would likely break even rather than produce any profit (based on visitors, and calculable conversion based on previous statistics).

So what does a smaller company do? PR and Guerrilla outreach. It doesn’t cost anything to spend time on the local community forums, groups, and blogs. Leaving comments and forging relationships with the media, both online and offline. If you befriend and truly help the communities you are involved in, they will reciprocate. This is really where some of the digital marketing techniques become effective at all levels.

Now keep in mind this sort of outreach only benefits when you are reaching out to your client base and their community, not your industry. It is common for the marketing industry to hang out on the same websites, blogs, etc… but you are not likely to purchase from each other.

Instead define some audiences that you could sell too, and work to help them out for free. When they encounter a situation that is over their head in your area (and they will), that is when you offer your product.

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