Online Channels: Search, Display and Affiliate

Online channels can be used together to maximise your marketing efforts. It makes sense to combine them and to use different KPI to reach the objectives set per channel. Tracking is paramount to understand how each online channel performs at a global and individual level to understand the user’s journey.

Online channels can be defined as different digital ways to communicate online. The most common ones are Search Engines, Display and Affiliate but we could also include Email, Social, Blogs or Mobile.


Online Channel: Search (SEM)

Search Engines are frequently used by Internet users and are seen as virtual directories that allow them to find relevant information related to their queries. Search trends have evolved over the years as users become more sophisticated in the way of conducting their research, switching from one device to another.

SEM Text Ads

Text ads are displayed when users are looking for specific keywords or sentences.

They have a limited number of characters, please refer to Google Support for more information related with the Google Adwords Specs.

Headline: 25 characters
Display URL: 35 characters
Description: 35 characters

Text ads have now been enhanced with the possibility to add geographical context  or phone button to facilitate bookings.

SEM Targeting

Targeting is very precise with the Search Channel as users are looking for specific information. We call it a Pull support.

  •  Keyword (s) targeting
  • Geographic targeting: based on user’s location
  • Platform targeting: based on the type of devices (Smartphone, Mobile, PC)
  • Retargeting on specific Keywords through Banner Ads

It is also possible to do Contextual targeting using Adwords, but the ads will not appear within the Search result pages but within Google Network of Partner sites.

SEM buying approach

Search Engines are using bidding models to select the ads that will appear first within their Search Result page.

Advertisers need to select a maximum CPC per Keywords. Search Engines try to optimise performances by including new buying models like Enhanced CPC that focus on bidding more on Keywords that lead to valuable actions.


Online Channel: Display

Display banners are great to generate awareness of your product. They mostly appear on top, bottom or right side of a website.

They are not usually seen as performance channels but they can bring a good ROAS when combined with low CPM or CPC buys.

Display Online Banners Sizes

Online formats and sizes vary widely from one support to another.
Formats can be standard or rich media (video, expandable ads, overlay, synchronized units…).

You can find some examples of innovative Online Banners on our Pinterest board.

The standard sizes are the MPU (300×250), the Leaderboard (728×90) and the Skyscrapper (120×600).

The iab established a guideline to harmonise the landscape of the online publishers and also to help advertisers reduce their production costs.

Below is a short video that features Display Rising Star Formats:

For more information on Ad formats, please refer to IAB Guidelines.

Display Online Targeting

We can track everything Online and this is why targeting is more precise… so if you do not like it, you should remove your cookies quite often or opt out from specific campaigns (e.g: AdChoices).

There are different type of targeting:

  • Demographic: targeting is made according to a profiling of the audience (sex, age, income, family…)
  • Geographic: targeting is made using the ip address of the users
  • Time based: targeting is made during specific time of the day
  • Contextual: targeting is based on the content of a site
  • Behavioural: targeting is made according to the habit of the internet users
  • Interest: targeting is made according to the taste of the users
  • Retargeting: targeting is made on users that demonstrated an interest in the brand – the retargeting scenarios can become very complex when combined with solid CRM data from the advertiser

With the rise of social media, it becomes easier for the advertisers to target very specific pools of prospects.

  • Per Job titles and industry on LinkedIn
  • Per Interest group on Facebook

Display Online Media Buying Approaches

There are different ways to buy online media, the most common metrics beeing:

  • CPM: Cost per Thousand
  • CPC: Cost per Click
  • CPA: Cost per Action
  • Fixed Price

Each buying approach has its own advantages and drawbacks and should be selected according to the publisher’s capacities and to the objectives that need to be reached.

Online Channel: Affiliate

Affiliate campaigns have a lower level of risk for the advertiser as budget is always spent wisely. However Affiliate campaign can sometimes damage the image of a brand when not monitored closely.

Advertisers can create their own Affiliate programs, like Amazon Affiliate Program or use Affiliate platforms that have already the capacity to communicate  to a large community of Affiliates.

Affiliate Supports

Affiliates use different type of supports to display the product or services that they promote.

  • Blogs
  • Comparison Shopping Engines
  • Content Site
  • Coupon or Deal Site
  • Cashback Site
  • Search site
  • Mobile Apps

They also use different supports to bring traffic to their sites:

  • Paid search
  • Display
  • SEO
  • Email
  • Social networks
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Shopping portals

Affiliate Buying Approach

Advertisers will pay every time a specific action will be achieved: leads, purchases, subscriptions…

This is the best approach for performance campaigns.



Posted in Online