Posted May 24, 2008 10:20 am by with 6 comments

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How much do you spend on online advertising each year? $5,000? $50,000? $500,000? Or perhaps $5 million?

Let’s assume you spend $50,000 per year on ALL of your online advertising. What if you could spend just 1% of that budget and potentially increase the visibility, clickability, and conversions of all your online ads?

Enter MarketingSherpa’s 2008 Online Advertising Handbook & Benchmarks. (affiliate)

I’ve just finished reading this great guide from MarketingSherpa and it’s a valuable companion to The Landing Page Handbook we reviewed back in January.

The handbook’s 200+ pages are packed with a wide selection of industry stats, best practices, and tactical information to help increase the effectiveness of your online advertising. Here’s an outline of the handbook’s chapters:

  1. Online Advertising Business & Budgets.
  2. Planning for Success – Analytics, Pre-tests, and Post-tests.
  3. Strategic Advertising Design.
  4. Targeting, Delivery, Buying, and Optimization.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this post was just put together without anyone actually reading the guide. Well, while you were stuck in traffic this holiday weekend, I sat down and read it, cover-to-cover. Here are some of the handbook’s lessons that jumped out at me.

Industry statistics

  • 47% of companies said their search marketing agency was “absolutely worth every penny,” compared to just 15% who said the same of their “media agency.”
  • 56% of companies plan to include A/B testing in 2008.
  • A huge 28.6% of advertisers spending $100k to $1 million are not doing any kind of ad testing!

Ad strategies

  • According to MarketingSherpa’s eye-tracking studies, ads below the fold can actually out-perform those above the fold, if they have better horizontal positioning–that is, placed to the left.
  • Want to increase brand awareness? Non-standard ads–such as the “peel back” ad you see in the top right corner of this web site–lead the way with 41% effectiveness of all ads.
  • Want to generate direct sales? Paid search ads are still the best bet, with 29% effectiveness.
  • Want an ad format that achieves direct sales, product education, lead generation, AND branding? Small display ads–such as small banners or tiles–offer the best advertising mix.
  • Not sure if your banner ads are achieving a good click-through rate? I won’t spoil the surprise, but the handbook will show you the average CTR–even breaking it down by month!

Ad tactics

It’s not all stats and strategies, the 2008 Online Advertising Handbook also includes in-depth advice on how best to design, source, and place your ads.

  • Full advice and examples on ads to use when trying to achieve different goals: branding, education, response, or endorsement.
  • Examples of where ads should be placed, so you get the best results from publishers.
  • Advice of ad “sequencing” so you tell your message over a series of ads–increasing their effectiveness.
  • Finding the right ad network, negotiating terms, and understanding the difference between CPM, CTR, and other payment options.

Even if your annual ad budget is just $5,000 you might want to consider the handbook anyway–you probably need to squeeze every penny out of your budget. If you’re spending $500K or $5m, then you definitely need to buy this guide. And, with MarketingShepa offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can’t go wrong!

What’s next from MarketingSherpa? I can’t wait to get my hands on the 2009 Business Technlogy Marketing Benchmark Guide!