101: Onsite Targeting is Not Banner Advertising

Even though marketing budgets are being slashed, marketers still need to improve website performance, sales, and conversions without breaking the bank. Looking at the options marketers are buzzing about, I found that there is some confusion in the marketplace about the differences between onsite targeting and banner advertising. For those of you who are relatively new to digital marketing, I figured it makes sense to explain why these are two very different concepts that should be used differently.

Onsite targeting involves a company carving out a space anywhere on their website where they can inject dynamic content and give visitors a completely customized experience based on their preferences and/or behavior. At Knotice, we call these areas that are carved out on a website for targeting a “live zone.” Onsite targeting leverages data integration and the use of cookies to define a segment of site visitors, then display content specific to the criteria outlined in the segment. For example, let’s say you look at a specific product on company’s website, but do not purchase it. On a return visit to that site you see the same content again, this time with an offer or incentive designed to get you to take action. Onsite targeting is all about increasing consumer engagement and company sales and conversions through relevant website experiences on a website, microsite, and/or landing page. Here is a really great explanation of how marketers can leverage onsite targeting.

Banner advertising is a different concept. A banner ad on a website involves the purchase of some real estate on a website to attract visitors to your own site, like traditional display advertising. This type of advertisement is used in a traditional manner, in the sense that a banner ad’s purpose is to inform a person about a product or service that they have to offer and direct them to an area where they can get more information or make a purchase. An example would be if you are on the Wall Street Journal’s website reading an article about Hulu, and you see an advertisement for Sprint that you may click on, at which point you’re taken to a Sprint page designed to get you to make a purchase.

These are two very different marketing approaches that should not be confused. One involves utilizing your own site to increase the relevance of a consumer’s experience, and the other involves media planning to purchase areas on other sites to drive traffic back to an area where that consumer can make a purchase. These two approaches work well together, with a banner ad getting people to visit your site, and onsite targeting giving a visitor all the relevant information and content they need to make a purchase. Armed with a better clarification of what’s what, you are now ready to pick and choose which program best suits your marketing needs.


  1. Krish
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Nice article.


%d bloggers like this: