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Returning to basics, all advertisements must follow general AIDA principle. They must attract attention, generate and retain interest, create desire, and stimulate action.
But what will best achieve this objective: classified or display?
The answer depends on a number of things, not least of all an understanding of what these two methods involve, how they differ and what similarities, even overlap, might exist.
Classified advertising, sometimes called 'lineage', generally employs just words, without embellishment, other than perhaps a few words emboldened, and sometimes impact lines or boxes around advertisement. Where these minor forms of decoration are included, format is frequently referred to as 'semi-display'.
Display advertisements, on other hand, are designed to stand out from crowd, using a variety of techniques including: occupying a set position on page, taking up a specified amount of space, including graphics and illustrations, adopting a variety of fonts, and so on. The argument is that display advertisements are more noticeable, more profitable than their counterparts buried amongst countless others in classified columns. Hence far higher cost of display advertising.
The following main points will help you decide:
* Classified ads are usually cheap and are excellent for generating enquiries. Many successful classified advertisers use two-stage enquiry method, allowing customer to obtain further information before placing an order. A major benefit for dealers is chance to build a useful mailing list for future offers.
* Display advertising is best for selling straight from page. Readers are more likely to trust their money to someone who has paid for a larger advertisement than someone whose advertisement occupies a tiny space among so many competing entries. Classified advertising is rarely effective for selling off-the-page except for very low cost items, commonly Ј10 or less.
* Classified advertising can be used to test interest in your product before venturing into more costly display advertising.
* Classifieds can be used to test and compare advertising sources.
* Classified advertising is generally unsuitable for anything that requires a lot of 'telling' to accomplish task of selling. Too much grey matters in classifieds is boring and readers can easily lose interest halfway. If it can't be said in a few words, try display advertising.
* For classified advertisements, words themselves must do job of selling. Sometimes a maximum wordcount is set and every word must pay its way. Conversely, display advertising allows a variety of other techniques to be used to attract and retain reader interest. Based on what they say about a picture being worth ten thousand words, it follows that, if design, style or appearance of your product is important to potential customer, display advertising is usually best. If product markets well 'sight unseen', classified ads might be appropriate.
* Classified ads usually focus on a single offer. Display advertisements can include several products, or an invitation to send for further information, obtain a catalogue, send for samples, and so on.
Adrian Kennelly is the webmaster of DirectoryGold Web Directory & Portal, featuring an Article Directory