It’s important for any business to have an online advertising presence. Whether it’s Google AdWords, digital newsletters or industry websites, online visibility is a must in today’s business climate. It’s possible for any-sized business to gain online exposure without breaking the bank through properly evaluating advertising channels and a little Google Ad Words home work.

When you’re evaluating the quality of online advertising channels/ newsletters:

Get information on subscriber/ visitor demographics. In other words, who is visiting the website or receiving the online newsletter? Make sure the readership is in line with your customer base.
How many people visit the site each month? This number will help you determine your cost-per-contact. Just divide the amount you’re spending by the total readership.

Clicks and Click-through Rate: If you’re looking at buying banner space on an online newsletter or digital publication, getting clicks and click-through rate information will help you determine how engaged the readers are with that particular publication. What good is a monstrous readership number if most of them aren’t clicking on anything in the online newsletter?
Do you receive exclusive placement? Most banner ads are shared real estate, which means your ad will be one in a rotation. That effects the number of times your will be served to (or seen by) the readership. That will affect your cost-per-contact number.

Reevaluate cost.Take the total readership and divide it by the number of rotations the space will go through before your ad appears. For example, if your ad is one of ten ads sharing a single space and the website/ online newsletter has a readership of 10,000 your ad will be seen by 1,000 readers instead of the whole 10,000. That new number will dramatically affect your cost-per-contact.

So, what’s an acceptable cost-per-contact rate? It really depends. I know, I know; that answer seems like a cop-out. It’s not. If you’ve found a medium that effectively targets your customer base (especially if you have a product that serves a niche market) and if it reaches the people within that market that can make or influence purchasing decisions, a high cost-per-contact may be absolutely worth it. That’s why investing a little time in qualifying potential adverting channels is worth a try.

Next week’s post will cover information on Google AdWords and how to customize a campaign that delivers results and makes the most of your investment. To get a head-start, check out Google AdWords’ extremely helpful FAQ section at