Your Business Online | Professional Jeweler



May 23, 2001
Advertising Online
There are many new options for advertising your Web site on the Internet

Basic banner ads that run horizontally across the top of Web pages were once the most common and most coveted type of online advertising. But low click-through rates – the number of times users click on an ad – disappointed many online advertisers and prompted the introduction of more types of online advertising opportunities. Now they're bigger, bolder and more aggressive than ever, and some can even be interactive.

Introduced earlier this year, skyscraper ads and big-box ads now show up all over the Internet. If you've been to NYTimes.com, CNet.com or Yahoo News during the last month, you've probably seen them. Skyscraper ads are tall, thin and take up more space on Web pages than banner ads. (Professional Jeweler has a skyscraper ad on the main Your Business Online page, for example.) They usually run down the right side of the page and are more noticeable than traditional banner ads. Big-box ads are large square ads that most often sit right in the middle of the page, with the text of the page wrapping around them. Because of their size, big-box ads are hard to ignore, but many Web sites have been slow to adopt them, most likely out of fear that site visitors will be annoyed by the massive size of the ad.

Pop-up ads are gaining popularity too, even though they've been around much longer than skyscrapers and big boxes. Pop-ups appear in a second browser window that opens while the Web page is loading. They offer advertisers the chance to use sound, motion and interactive elements, which make it more effective than a simple static ad. However, some impatient Web surfers will close pop-up boxes before the ad even loads. Advertisers using pop-up ads need to be careful not to use large pop-ups that take over the entire monitor or ads that continue to reappear after the user closes them, as these tend to annoy and infuriate users.

The other common types of online ads are tile and button ads. These are usually small square or rectangular ads located anywhere on a Web page. Because these ads are smaller, they are usually cheaper, but they are also more likely to be overlooked because of their size. Prominent placement and eye-catching colors can make these ads more effective.

No matter what type of online ad you choose, the prices are quite reasonable at most sites right now. Remember to advertise on sites potential customers will visit. If you advertise on a portal site, such as Excite.com or Yahoo.com, your click-through rates won't be as good as if you advertised on the jewelry shopping section of About.com or on a women's site such as iVillage.com.

- by Julia M. Duncan