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📄 Contents

  1. Introduction to Electronic Commerce
  2. Adding Value with Electronic Commerce
  3. Using ASP Page with Banner Ads in the Electronic Commerce Model
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Using ASP Page with Banner Ads in the Electronic Commerce Model

If you have visited any business on the Web recently, you have seen those horizontal rectangular banners that urge customers to "click here" for a FREE offer. Banner advertising is as almost as new as the Web itself and has become nearly as ubiquitous. HotWired ran the first banner in 1994, with outstanding results: a nearly 50 percent click-through rate (CTR). CTR is a measurement based on the number of customer Web responses, called clicks. Clicks are commonly used to count the number of customers who click on the banner and are transferred to the advertiser's site. The click-through rate is the percentage of click-throughs to banner views, for example a 1 percent CTR indicates that 1 percent of each 1000 banner views, or 10 customers, has clicked-through.

Today's Web customers seem to be less enamored of banners as an advertising medium than they were in 1994. Today if a banner gets a 1 percent click-through rate is considered a top performer. Whatever the current case, they remain the most widely used form of online promotion. Other programs and media are now competing directly with banner ads for online marketing dollars and click-throughs. While the CTR has greatly declined since the mediums inception, the number of business' using banner advertising continues to increase. One recent study by Forrester Research predicts that online advertising spending will increase nearly sixfold in the next four years, rising from 1.3 percent of all advertising spending to a over 8 percent of total spending. If the study is correct, banner ads will account for $22 billion per year.

Types of Banner Advertising

There are three types of banner advertising: click-through, brand-awareness, and sell-through. Each can type of banner advertising can be equally effective at building brand awareness, generating click-throughs, and boosting sales. However, while individual banners often accomplish all these objectives, the most effective are designed and implemented to accomplish only one of these three major goals at a time.

Click –Through Banners

Click-through banners are measured on a cost per click (CPC) basis. With CPC, advertisers only pay when a customer actually clicks on the banner. Though it has high advertiser appeal, CPC is not the type of banner ad most widely used. Business often chooses not to incorporate banner ads from other business because they do not meet their design and quality standards. The cost of CPC ranges from $0.01 per click up to $0.75. Businesses measure their Return on Investment (ROI) on click-through banners by dividing the value of the customer traffic that the banner ad brings to the site by the total cost of the advertising.

Brand-Awareness Banners

The purpose of brand-awareness banners is to build positive awareness for the business. Brand-awareness is a marketing strategy to identify the business' products with a name, phrase, design, or symbol to distinguish them from those of the competitors. The business' brand can elicit an immediate image or emotion from customers.

It is difficult to measure ROI for brand-awareness banners. Businesses often use before-and-after surveys to quantify the success of brand-awareness banners, however, this approach is not met with much success. Instead, most brand-awareness banner success is measured on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis. Using CPM, businesses pay either a site or advertising network a set amount for the banners. The price may range from $1 to $200 for each 1,000 displays or impressions of its banner. If Kanthaka Farms were to buy 100,000 impressions on a Web site that charges a $100 CPM, they would pay $10,000. The $100 CPM is multiplied by the 100,000 impressions to arrive at the total cost. When ROI is calculated on brand-awareness banners, the value placed by the business on the increased awareness of its brand is divided by the cost of the brand-awareness banners.

Sell-Through Banners

Sell-through banners result in immediate sales and are used to generate revenue quickly. Sell-through banners use ploys to induce customers to come and buy. Loss-leader pricing is used to deliberately sell a product below its customary price to attract attention to it and the business. The purpose of loss-leader pricing is not to increase sales of the item, but to attract customers to the business with the intent that once there, they will buy other products as well. However, this loss leader approach only works when the business is also able to sell high-margin items.

Sell-through campaigns are measured on a cost per action (CPA) basis. With CPA, the advertiser only pays when a specific action, in this case the completion of a sale, occurs. CPA provides excellent accountability, but is very costly. ROI on sell-through banners is calculated by dividing the total sales generated by the total cost of the sell-through banners.

An ASP Banner Strategy

Using ASP Server-Side Scripting to Create Banner Ads for Sample Business Kanthaka Farms ...

In this exercise, you will use ASP server-side scripting to create banner ads for Kanthaka Farms. The ads will be limited to a maximum number of 10.

  1. Launch your Web server software. Verify that it is running by viewing it in the tray.

  2. Create a C:\Kanthaka folder and copy Figure 1 to it.

    Figure 1

  3. Using a simple text editor, create a file named Ban_Demo.asp with the code below. Save the file to a new C:\Kanthaka folder.

    <BODY BGCOLOR="#FFFFFF" TEXT="#000000">
    <H1 ALIGN=CENTER>Kanthaka Farms</H1><P>
    <P align="center"><IMG SRC="KAN_LOGO.gif" width="121"
    <!--#INCLUDE FILE="banner.asp"-->
    <H2 Align=Center><A HREF="Ban_Demo.asp">Click here to reload
     this page</A>. Watch the Banner Ad Change!<BR>
    <H3 Align=Center>The random value is: <%=RandomNumber%>
  4. This code is used to generate a random value, so that the site can display random banners. A built-in random function is used to obtain a random number used to select one of the 10 banners. Notice that the RANDOMIZE must come first. It ensures that the value generated is truly random. This is important to Kanthaka Farms. They do not want their site to repeatedly display only one banner ad. The LowestNumber is set to the lowest value desired, in case 1, and the HighestNumber to the highest value, in this case 10. Coded in this fashion, the RandomValue variable will retrieve one of the following values: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10. You will need .gif files for this next step. Copy the 10 separate banners in Figure 2 to the Kanthaka folder. Consecutively name each banner, banner 1.gi, banner2.gif, and so on.

    Figure 2

  5. The next task is to select a banner ad. To accomplish this, the code will use the SELECT CASE function to select a banner. In a simple text editor, type in the following code:

    LowestNumber = 1
    HighestNumber = 10
    RandomNumber = INT((HighestNumber-
    SELECT CASE RandomNumber
    CASE "1"%>
    <A HREF="link1.htm"><IMG SRC="banner1.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "2"%>
    <A HREF="link2.htm"><IMG SRC="banner2.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "3"%>
    <A HREF="link3.htm"><IMG SRC="banner3.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "4"%>
    <A HREF="link4.htm"><IMG SRC="banner4.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "5"%>
    <A HREF="link5.htm"><IMG SRC="banner5.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "6"%>
    <A HREF="link6.htm"><IMG SRC="banner6.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "7"%>
    <A HREF="link7.htm"><IMG SRC="banner7.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "8"%>
    <A HREF="link8.htm"><IMG SRC="banner8.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "9"%>
    <A HREF="link9.htm"><IMG SRC="banner9.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%CASE "10"%>
    <A HREF="link10.htm"><IMG SRC="banner10.gif" BORDER=0></A>
    <%END SELECT%>

    Save the file as banner.asp in the C:\Kanthaka folder.

  6. To see the page in action, use the link.htm files provided, however, as you prepare your Kanthaka Farms Web database construction, you may want to replace these files. To do so, just replace the "link" with the URL's you wish to use. Also, create banners that to link to the IMG tag.

  7. Open the "link" files provided in the Kanthaka folder. This line of code must be coded on all the pages where you want your banners to appear:

    <!--#INCLUDE FILE="banner.asp"-->
  8. In your Web browser, view the Ban_Demo.asp file from the following URL:


    Test the links. Click on each banner. Modify any code as necessary to make your banner system free of error. Your finished Ban_Demo.asp page should look like the one shown in Figure 3.

    Figure 3

Using an server-side include (SSI) file can make a banner system easier to maintain. To use an SSI, it is necessary to modify the banner.asp file, however, once modified, all the pages on the Kanthaka Farms site will be updated. Just make sure that banner.asp is in the same directory as the script. If you want to include banner.asp into scripts that are located in sub-folders, you must place banner.asp in the root of the Kanthaka Farms' site and use this include statement instead:

<!--#INCLUDE VIRTUAL="banner.asp"-->

The use of the word virtual in the header indicates to ASP that the file to be included is located in the root folder of the Web server. If the word file were to be used in place of the word virtual in the code, the SSI would not work, because it would indicate to ASP that the file to be included is located in the same directory as the ASP file in which the include statement appears. It is also important that the include statement appear at the top of the file in order for it to run properly.

Electronic commerce Web database constructions add perceived value to a business' Web site. You can create banner ads with CGI or JSP and learn about other components of the Web database construction like ActiveX or JavaScript, in our book, Building Electronic Commerce with Web Database Constructions.

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