Online advertisers have the choice between text and graphic ads. Both work, but one versus the other might be better suited for you business.

Pay Per Click advertising entices marketers because of the measurable cost and results. As internet advertising evolved, so did the monetization of it. A decade ago you chose a host site (publisher) promising a certain audience. You paid the rate, and they ran your banner ad for a specific period of time. You ultimately hoped that your target audience saw your advertisement and clicked. Not much better than print advertising, right? But now we have the ability to target exactly who we want via tools like keywords, IP addresses, and search history. Better yet, we only pay for the clicks.

Two forms of web advertising currently dominate the space: text and banner. Which one is best for you depends mostly on your product or service. The main thing you want to focus on is how to deliver the message. After reading this article you should have a better idea as to what is best for you and how to implement your campaign.

Banner Blindness

Many people believe that "Banner Blindness" is behind Google’s success with their text based advertising program, AdWords. The theory is that long-time internet users have trained themselves to ignore banners, and thus banners are not effective means of communicating a promotional message. However, there are many who believe that banners are still effective, especially if you are selling a visual product. Consider marketing a car. Imagine a text advertisement for the new Cadillac CTS, the world’s fastest production car. Boring. Obviously a flash banner with multiple pictures of this amazing car is the superior choice when delivering the message about this product.

The Power of Text

The pro of the Google product is that the advertiser preloads trigger words into their ad. When a web surfer performs a search for a particular item, say “senior citizen life insurance” Google will return the search results on the center of the page and paid placements on the right. If you are an insurance agent in Burbank, CA and someone in Burbank searches for “senior citizen life insurance,” if you have loaded your ad to capture those keywords, then by IP address, your ad will appear on the right. It is probably better in this case to go with a straightforward text ad when selling insurance. Buyers are cost sensitive and often want local service. When your AdSense ad pops up next to the search results, the surfer might click on you ad for affordable insurance and hometown service.

Limits of AdWords

AdWords limits you to advertising on Google only. This might not give you the coverage you are looking for because some internet users might not use Google regularly. For this reason AdWords would only be a piece of your overall strategy.

Many AdWords users also report a steep learning curve in things like determining which keywords to use and writing the actual ad copy. A learning curve exists with any campaign but since AdWords is such a sophisticated and powerful tool, many users report that it will require more testing than other options. Always consider posting at least five to ten different ads testing various keywords and copy. Set a low budget for each and eliminate underperforming ads.

A Wonderful Compromise

Imagine the sophisticated keyword targeting of AdWords combined with the choice of text or banner design. Imagine being able to run your keyword-rich text or banner ad outside of Google. Meet AdSense by Google.

This tool allows an advertiser to build a banner (graphic) or text ad that can run on any website that has coordinated with Google to publish the ads. The benefit here is that you get to choose text or banner, or even both, and you are not limited to the Google domain. Your ad will be seen on any site that is an AdSense affiliate – and the network is vast. The sophisticated targeting features choose ads that are relevant to the surfer’s preferences based upon their search history and IP as well as the nature of the site on which they are surfing. Now you as an advertiser are able to deliver a targeted message with your choice of display to a vast network of affiliates.