Sunday, March 9, 2008

Choosing Text Ads vs Graphic Ads on Adsense.

Google provides Adsense publishers with the opportunity to put ads in both text and graphic format.

After choosing Adsense over banner advertising, the question still remains, which is the best format for publishers and which is good for advertisers?

The advertisers may feel that on one hand image ads are more responsive but less likely to make a sale, on the other hand text ads may be less visible to the potential customer but has higher conversion rates.

May be text based ads are the least intrusive of the two formats, but does that mean graphic advertising is better? Well visitors are used to graphic ads by using various web based services (such as free email accounts) and most of them have already programmed themselves to ignore them. It was because the ads were un-targeted, customers ignore the graphic ads from the assumption that it will be the same.

Text format ads are not forced upon visitors. However, being less obvious some people may not see them at all. But those who do see them, and read them are significantly more likely to click on them. This may be for a number of reasons, but the first is that they are more informative. Generally, someone who is reading text ads on a page is not going to be fully satisfied by what they read, and if they click Adsense ads they are most likely to read something which will further supplement whatever their intention is next. With an image ads however, it is far more of a gamble for the visitor.

Graphical ads are often paid per impression because the advertiser may be trying to promote their brand, instead of promoting a service, as a result have worse conversion rates. However, if the text contained within an advert was placed in graphic format, which would be the most effective? Well firstly it can assumed that the surfer will be more likely to see it, however if their were multiple image ads appearing next to each other visitors may feel overwhelmed.

Graphic ads are also harder to regulate. Let us consider Google allowing ads to be changed frequently and without any regulation. The advertiser could claim affiliation from the website they are advertising on, and contain keywords such as "ipod" which cannot be contained within a text advert. Although more regulation and quality control could be in place, a pornographic image for example could be made to appear in an advertiser's adverts unknowingly.

Text adverts also have a broader market appeal, as advertisers don't generally have the in house resources to create an image advert, but do have the in house resources to write a text based advert. This could mean that a wider array of advertisers find text advertising accessible, through text adverts being less burden on the advertiser, and being easy to change.

Text adverts are also cheaper for the advertiser to create, where as a graphical advert may cost in excess of $200. Through removing this fixed cost advertisers may be willing to allot a higher rate to advertising itself; thus benefiting the advertiser and the publisher.

Text advertising appears to be the preference of the advertiser. They pay a CTR (click through rate) and only receive targeted traffic. This removes risks from businesses that previously had to worry that adverts were not only seen, but clicked on and stimulating sales. As CPC (Cost Per Click) is more relevant to text adverts, advertisers are able to gain exposure without needing a high click through rate to be effective.

The big brands are willing to advertise in both formats however the broad market appeal of text ads inevitably makes it the winner. As flash websites disappear with image adverts, it is becoming clear that text and information is the preference of the website visitors.

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