In the last post in our "Bridging the Gap" series, lets explore how advertisers build tailored campaigns to promote their businesses.

My team and I work mostly with medium-sized businesses that try to be as efficient as possible with their online ad spend. In the past, we found that direct response campaigns (which ask users to make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter) were more common than pure branding campaigns. However, I've seen firsthand that advertisers are slowly but surely beginning to understand the value of online advertising as an extremely cost-efficient, effective and measurable branding mechanism.

As publishers, this means that you'll have more opportunities to capitalize on the increased ad competition that brand campaigns bring. Below I'll explain what types of brand campaigns we see, how advertisers select publishers to include in brand media plans, and how you can ensure that your sites make it in.

Types of Branding Campaigns
The most important difference between direct response and brand campaigns is that brand campaigns aren't focused on driving direct conversions. The goals of online "pure brand" campaigns are very similar to offline ads: reach a specific audience with a sticky message that builds recognition, favor, and/or credibility of the brand. Another type of brand campaign called "brand response" aims to reach a targeted audience and elicit some form of action. Common types of brand response goals include increased searches on brand terms, unique visitors to the advertiser's site, and user interaction on site.

To achieve these goals, most brand campaigns have the following characteristics:
  • CPM pricing
  • Flighted dates (specific, short period of time for an advertising campaign)
  • Display ads
  • Placement targeting* (Brand advertisers, especially pure brand advertisers want to ensure that they reach a specific audience by targeting certain sites)
*Though placement targeting is the traditional method for branding, we are seeing a lot of successful brand response campaigns running both placement AND contextual targeting.

Building a Media Plan
When advertisers choose sites to include in the media plan for a brand campaign, they consider much more than 'will it convert?' The top things on their minds as they choose sites to target are:
  • Does it have a high composition of their target audience?
  • Is it aesthetically pleasing?
  • Does it have highly visible, above-the-fold inventory?
  • Does it accept image, flash and video ads?
  • What is the average CPM?
Boost Your Chances of Being Included in a Brand Media Plan
As mentioned, brand campaigns are great for publishers because advertisers are willing to pay a premium for sites they want to show on. This means more revenue for you.

One of the best ways to maximize the chances of being included in a media plan is to update your site information in the Ad Planner Publisher Center. Google Ad Planner is the media planning tool advertisers use to select inventory on the content network. Ad Planner allows advertisers to filter sites by audience composition, accepted ad formats and sizes, reach, unique visitors and daily pageviews.

Other important steps you can take:
  • Accept image and video ads
  • Provide above-the-fold, premium placement ad slots
  • Open up real estate on your homepage
  • Opt to receive placement targeted ads