Web Design & Online Marketing

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The science of online marketing

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A little while ago I was chatting to a client about advertising. Specifically, print advertising. He was contemplating running an advertisement in a well known mens publication but was battling to justify the cost - about R40k. His main concern was around tracking how effective the advert would be. Without placing some sort of coupon or QR code or tracking code, the only numbers he could use were the circulation figures given by the publication itself.

The beauty of marketing online is the science. Visits, demographics, conversion rates, click-through-rates, unique visits… Marketing online allows you to measure and assign a value to almost every action taken by your end-user. So then it is little surprise that more and more companies are switching their spend from print to online. A report from Outspell indicated that in 2010, online advertising in the US exceeded that of print ($119.6 Billion to $111.5 Billion).

So why the switch? Well it's simple, more people are getting their content delivered through digital devices than through traditional media. I can now find news updates from 5 different sources at the click of a button rather than purchasing and paging through newspapers. I can subscribe to receive a digital copy of my magazine for a fraction of the cost of the print version. I can keep up to date with friends, trends and gossip through Twitter and Facebook. I, personally, follow all my sports online. I read all  about the events and happenings as soon as they've happened. No more waiting a month or two to read about it in a magazine or newspaper.

This switch in media consumption is all measurable. Every click, every tweet, every post. It now means that advertisers are able to deliver their advertisements to the right audience, in real time and measure every aspect of it. Advertisers can drive behaviour and achieve results far more rapidly than ever before. The greater degree of control and flexibility also allows advertisers to experiment with media in real time. The integration of social media in advertising allows audience participation.

The power of online marketing is phenomenal. Two employees from American pizza chain, Dominos, filmed themselves 'tainting' some food that was to be delivered. The video was posted to YouTube and within 5 days had well over a million hits. Dominos faced a PR nightmare of epic proportions and began losing market share hand over fist. The company was all but sunk when it decided to start fire with fire and launched it's own Social Media offensive and has now become one of the top success stories of how to use Social Media successfully.

So, what about the numbers? Simply put, marketing online allows you to be scientific. ROI is measured down to the 'click' and if done effectively, every cent of your budget can see a return. This is a bit of a paradigm shift for some but the truth is, the internet is only getting smarter and the majority of the money made online is through advertising. Look at Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing…. the list goes on. Their Billion dollar empire is built on advertising spend. They are inventing new ways of spending your advertising dollars more effectively. There has never been a better time to advertise online than right now.

Article originally appeared on www.hykano.com

Simon is a South African Entrepreneur who has devoted his professional life to all things digital. Having worked across continents, he finally settled in South Africa where he launched HYKANO, a creative online development agency with a focus on lead generation through digital marketing.
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