The ABCs of Web Advertising

Who said there is no reliable source of definitions for online advertising? Here's a list of terms you must know if you're in the business of advertising online, from A to Z.

A - Accountability
The Web is the most accountable medium there is. Whether it's page views or cost-per-anything, a metric exists that will satisfy the most penny-conscious marketer.

B - Branding
Recent studies show that the Web works very well at transmitting branding messages. Marketers and their agencies need to inform themselves on how to best use the Web as a branding medium.

C - Creativity
Ask this question of any ad you're considering running: Would you stop to read it? If not, make the creative material work harder.

D - Direct response
The Web is the best direct response medium (see 'Accountability'). Extremely low risk, demonstrable results. If you're not using it, you're nuts.

E - Evangelism
Every new medium needs to be sold into the advertising community; the Web is still looking for its Billy Graham.



F - Fun
For agencies, producing television commercials is fun. Making radio commercials is a bit less fun. Creating magazine ads is still fun, but barely. Producing Web ads is very very little fun. That's one reason Web advertising doesn't show up on many agency media plans.

G - Glitz
Sort of like 'Fun': there's not much glitz in producing Web ads-yet. Wait till the new technologies take hold.

H - Harmony
Web advertising isn't a primary medium, it works best when used in conjunction with other media.

I - Intrusiveness
It isn't that Web ads are all bad-it's just that most of them are invisible. If an ad is going to have any chance at all, it must be SEEN. (From 'Good Morning Vietnam': "I don't understand camouflage; I mean, they can't SEE you! If you're going to fight-clash!")

J - Johnson & Johnson
Just one of the many packaged goods companies that are going to have to learn how to use the Web successfully to market their products. But when this sector comes alive-look out.

K - Kubin
My last name. Just in case this list gets published anywhere, my mother will get a big kick out of it.

L - Learning
The Web is not 'like' any other medium; it is completely unique. Success requires knowledge, and knowledge requires learning what has worked, and what hasn't.

M - Metrics
No medium can be successful without credible measurement tools. At this point in its early life, the Web certainly has enough metrics to choose from, though quantity isn't necessarily quality.

N - New technologies
'Intrusiveness' and 'glitz' depend greatly on new ways to present ads on the Web. Geeks, where are you when we need you?

O - Originality
Success in advertising is part 'me first' and part 'me too.' We're still in the early stages of this medium-dare to be different.

P - Planning tools
Television, radio, and print use reach, frequency, and a barrage of other data to sell ads. Credible numbers (see 'Metrics') are essential for the Web to play with the big boys.

Q - Quick response
Part of the Web's attractiveness is the speed with which knowledge is gathered. It's easy to tell if a Web campaign is working-or not. In either case, reaction time is important.

R - Relevance
Another one of those 'duh' basics about advertising: an ad has a higher chance of being noticed if it runs within the proper context.

S - Success stories
We're still waiting for that one BIG story about how the Web transformed a little bitty product into a gigantic success. Who knows, maybe it's the X10 camera.

T - Time
The Web is still in its baby stages. So much has been expected of it, but how many six-year-olds have won the Olympic decathlon?

U - Understanding
This goes along with 'Learning', above. The Web is a different animal, and must be treated accordingly. Observe. Learn. Understand. Succeed.

V - Vision
The Web's inherent differences call for new ways of using it: Integrated media plans, promotions, and different creative technologies deployed in a focused and disciplined manner.

W - Wow factor
One doesn't hear "Did you see that ad on the Web last night?" But with all the new technologies, and broadband, and greater attention being paid to the Web, 'Wows' are just around the corner.

X, Y, Z - X, Y, Z
No media terms currently start with these letters. Suggestions welcome.

- Michael Kubin is co-CEO of Evaliant, formerly Leading Web Advertisers, one of the web's leading sources for online ad data.

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