Boost ROI with the vertical advertising option

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Chrysi Philalithes
Chrysi Philalithes

As the pay-per-click market continues to mature, a combination of vertical and horizontal networks have emerged. Understanding the differences and benefits of vertical advertising options can help generate a higher return on investment from online ad spend. Direct response advertisers have two main options when leveraging vertical advertising trends.

Vertical search engines

The first option is advertising on a vertical search engine. These providers deal with specific business categories or verticals, such as automotive, health, employment or travel.

Vertical search engines let advertisers fine-tune distribution to their target audience, as searchers are only looking for relevant products and services. Additionally, many vertical search engines offer more flexibility, such as a combination of display and PPC advertising.

A drawback, however, is that ad distribution is focused on only the main vertical search engine with only a small (or non-existent) contextual network. Since search accounts for only a small percentage of users' time spent online – as noted in a recent study by the Online Publishers' Association which found that that 45 percent of people's time online is spent on content sites compared to just 4.7 percent spent actually conducting searches – advertisers could miss out on potential visitors.

Vertical PPC ad networks

A second option is vertical PPC ad networks. Many PPC advertisers have divided their networks by vertical. This provides more targeted ad distribution. Vertical PPC ad networks tend to have more developed contextual networks than vertical search engines. This allows then to offer advertisers exposure on a wider range of content sites in the specific verticals they are targeting.

It's important to note that some PPC ad networks may be stronger in some verticals than others, depending on the types of Web sites they have distribution agreements with. It's always best to run a test campaign and see how the network measures up for your specific vertical.

2 for 1 vertical ads

Whether you're advertising on a vertical search engine, vertical PPC ad network or both depends on the specific objectives of your campaign. Running ads across a vertical search engine and a vertical ad network can get you closer to 100 percent online coverage for your individual vertical.

Chrysi Philalithes is vice president of global marketing and communications at Miva, New York. Reach her at


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