Online marketers have been trying to crack the code of grabbing consumers’ attention online with a slew of strategies that include banner ads, pay per click search and even the nefarious spam email campaign. But whatever the case, there is one strategy that has stood the test of time for effectiveness. And thatÂ is content. While ad banners worked at one point, today they have a conversion rate of less than 0.2%. Not so great. The irony for banner ads is that the first ever banner ad was conceived in 1994 by a content driven site, hotwired.com (which later became wired.com). The banner ads were designed to supplement the content, much like advertising does in traditional print media.
So even when banner ads were just taking their first steps, they were doing so on the backs of good old fashioned, hand-cranked content. Today, banner ads suffer the fate of time. According to an article in the March 2, 2009 issue of Business Week, barely more than 1 in 1,000 people click on banner ads. What’s more, they rarely hang around long enough to absorb a brand message. And yet, advertisers still allocate budgets to them in hopes of getting that average 0.2%Â return on their investment. Smart marketers are turning their attention back to solid content. Case in point, in a recent CNET article Viacom’s CEO Philippe Dauman said, “If you have a great brand supported by great content, there has never been a better time to reach more consumers, and reach them in a much deeper way than you ever could.” What Mr. Dauman is talking about is not just content in general, but GOOD content”“which Viacom has a great deal of. This is what will separate the mice from the men.
People want don’t just want any content. They want good content. And they always will. Brands that realize that content that engages is the goose that lays the golden eggs will be much more successful in capturing audiences and building on their brands. On the other hand, there will always be the latest shiny object that promises to be the next big thing for online marketers”“ the latest technology or gizmo fad. And who knows, maybe that thing will replace content some day. Only time will tell.
Enzo F. Cesario