Online Marketing Hoax

When looking for online advertising information, you will notice that most online web sites make a big deal out of the number of hits that they generate. Other sites promise you "impressions" or "click-throughs". So what is it really and how can you differentiate those 3 magic online marketing words?

Here are our take on different myths from hits, impressions and click-through's.

The "HITS" trick

Web site owners usually talk about the volume of hits received by the web site and do so as though it is the amount of people that visited site. These two numbers aren't even connected. A hit is nothing more than the transfer of one file and pages can include more than one file even a hundred or more.

If there are a dozen images on a website page (could be anything from buttons, lines or image spacers that you hardly see), each page that is viewed renders a total of 13 hits. (One HTML file plus 12 images.) Think about the css, javascripts and other items loaded on the site!

On this regard some site owners purposely put a large volume of very small files or invisible graphics just to get a raise on their "hits". Some even slices a single large image into 4 dozen smaller parts and would still look like the large one. With this they easily generate hundreds of hits in just a minute or two on a single page alone.

The "hits" model is commonly used by companies or individuals that want to make their traffic sound like more than what it really is, so be cautious on what they promise.

The "impressions" model

Impression is when a guest comes to a site page / mobile app and your ad is loaded. This is generally reserved for banner ads and are to be paid at X number of dollars per thousand times it is seen.

Impressions do sound cheap, but the reason that they are so inexpensive is that they don't do well. First, it is easy to bypass the counters and you are often reliant upon the site owner for truthful delivery of statistics.

Second, site owner tend to give the ad/page the maximum amount of impressions in the shortest possible time. There is little to no attempt to put your ad in front of a genuine prospect. If its not strategically placed on the site, visitors who are not interested on the ad could be browsing over it for X number of times and you are billed that X number of times. It is a total waste of money.

One issue is that a visitor may see your ad but may not be able to find it next time since your impression may be one of 5 that could randomly load on that page and the viewer would never find you again or your impressions may have been exhausted. Business is lost this way.

Traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more business

The "click-through" model

Compared to the previous myths, this is the most truthful model. The only period that you are charged is if somebody clicks through to your website.

Or do they?

When this is the ad model, clicks-throughs are often automatically generated. If you have ever been to a site where you had a pop-up window suddenly appears, you may have just been forwarded to this page just to create a click-through and charge the advertiser.

Automatic click-throughs will get you reasonable amount of traffic, but you have to ask yourself whether you are looking for traffic or business? Traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more business coming in so you have to think twice if this model is good for you.

The honest “static” approach

Keeping it simple is the best and most honest way to do business.  The static model means that your ad or page is live for a certain period of time regardless of whether one hundred or one thousand people view your ad.

Keeping it simple is the best and most honest way to do business

If the ad is scheduled for six months, then you can make the decision at the end of six months to either renew or find something else.  You will know that your banner or page was viewable every day of those six months and you didn't have to manage it. You pay for a specific page and location and you should have the right to expect that it will be there... every day, all day... no matter how many people see it.
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