Being an online niche-market advertiser isn’t easy. My hat’s off to marketers who can make it work. Few sites cater to niche audiences, and most don’t have the traffic to support or justify the useful, user-friendly advertising you find elsewhere on the Web.
Performance-based placements? You’re far more likely to pay publisher-friendly CPM (define) rates. Self-serve campaigns? Niche sites, on shoestring budgets, rarely have that kind of infrastructure. Most advertisers pursuing a niche market can’t even employ an ad network. They’re forced to spend extra time and money dealing with the individual publishers that specialize in their audiences.
Creating an online niche campaign is a lot like building a skyscraper with Lincoln Logs. It involves a lot of piecework and produces less-than-extraordinary results.
That is, unless your target market can be found on health sites such as HealthScout, HealthCentral, MDchoice.com, and drkoop.com. All are part of the largest online health-oriented ad network, Choice Media, a group that boasts over 6 million unique visitors per month. A few weeks ago the network launched a subsidiary called GoText.com that provides health marketers with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
The self-serve system allows advertisers to target by country, subject category, and keyword. Each category is associated with a CPC (define) price. Currently, the average price across the network is about $0.70.
The network also employs an account management team to help advertisers set up and optimize campaigns. So far, advertiser usage has grown 20 percent in the first two months of operation.
Given the subject categories are highly specific (GoText’s content channels include Allergies, Arthritis, Dental, Dieting, and Ear, Nose and Throat), advertisers won’t get the same kind of reach they would from a more generalized PPC or paid search placement. That’s the point when it comes to niche market advertising.
“What we’re offering is quality over quantity,” said Allen Baum, VP of GoText. “Let Google and Overture work on the quantity issues. We’re a great niche for advertisers because we can control where they’re showing up on our sites, focus on return on investment for the advertiser, and offer minimal waste.”
Unlike most PPC networks, Baum says GoText owns its own primary traffic through its relationship with Choice Media. It guarantees placement of health ads on health sites and can target based on search terms as well as page context.
Before GoText, advertisers were limited to CPM advertising and sponsorships, which Choice Media, a former niche site for physicians, continues to offer. Though Baum feels these types of placements remain important, GoText was designed for the many direct marketers who aren’t interested in branding alone. It allows smaller advertisers to enjoy the same quality of placement as their larger competitors and stay focused on results. It costs only $50 to open a GoText account. Though ads are currently text-based, Baum said he’s always looking for ways to add value.
It’s surprising more niche players haven’t yet implemented PPC advertising. When you cater to smaller advertisers, it seems to be the perfect fit.
“Google and Overture have paved the way for wanting a performance-based product,” said Baum. “It’s a sign of the times. Every publisher today should have an offering that includes CPM, sponsorships, and cost per click. It’s a great way to give advertisers control over their marketing campaigns.”
I’ll wager niche marketers will welcome with open arms the control, variety, and ease of use PPC advertising offers.
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