Advertising is defined as “a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers,readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideals, or services. It includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade a target market to purchase or to consume that particular brand.” (according to Wikipedia)We are bombarded with all kinds of advertisements every single day. We see it on television,newspapers, magazines, the internet, posters, billboards, etc. Unbeknown to most of us, the consumers, these ads have been influencing the way we choose some of the products that we purchase. That is why business owners take advantage of different advertising venues to promote their products and/or services.Advertising has been used throughout the history of mankind. History records show that the early Egyptians used papyrus to make wall posters and sales messages. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, lost and found advertisements written on papyrus were common. Political campaign displays and commercial messages were found in the ruins of Pompeii and Ancient Arabia. But perhaps the earliest common form of advertisement that most of us can remember came in the form of the Yellow Pages.In 1883, when a printer in Cheyenne, Wyoming who was working on a regular telephone directory ran out of white paper, he used yellow paper instead. This was when the name “Yellow Pages” came about. The first official yellow pages directory was created by Reuben H. Donnelley in 1886.Since the term “Yellow Pages” is not a registered name within the United States, it is used freely by different companies all over the world. The Yellow Pages came out as a print directory that provides an alphabetical listing of businesses within a specific locality which are then segregated under headings for similar types of businesses (e.g. dry cleaners). These directories are generally published annually and are distributed for free to all residences and businesses within a given area.Today, the traditional term “Yellow Pages” is now also applied to online business directories. Online Yellow Pages are also known as IYP or Internet Yellow Pages. IYP offers listings based on a geographic area while standard search engines give results that are based on relevancy to the search term.Recent studies conducted by Nielsen and comScore however, indicate that Internet Yellow Pages have a very small percentage of total internet searches. More than 85% of all internet searches occur on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.One of the most popular online advertising tools being used by most entrepreneurs is Google AdWords. Its total advertising revenue for 2009 was $23 billion. It offers pay-per-click advertising and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads. The AdWords program has a broad scope, covering local, national and international distribution.The original concept was invented by Bill Gross from Idealab. He borrowed the idea from Yellow Pages. Google attempted to buy the idea but could not reach a deal with Gross. Google decided to launch its own solution in 2000 – AdWords. Since AdWords followed a model that was very similar to the creation of Bill Gross, this led to legal action between the two parties. The dispute was settled out of court.In the beginning, users of AdWords paid a monthly fee and Google would set up and managed their advertising campaign. Google then came up with the AdWords self-service portal to cater to smaller businesses. In 2005, Google came up with Jumpstart, a campaign management service to help advertisers set up their own campaigns with many customizable features. Today, this service is no longer available since Google implemented its Google Advertising Professional program within the same year. This program certifies individuals and companies who completed AdWords training and passed an exam. This was brought about by the need of some advertisers to hire consultants to manage their campaigns. These advertisers were well aware of AdWords’ complexity and the amount of money involved in advertising campaigns. In 2008, the Google Online Marketing Challenge was launched. It is an in-class academic exercise for tertiary students. It provides the students a way to be certified and gives them the opportunity to be hired by companies who want to run their AdWords campaigns. In 2009, the Google AdWords interface was revised so that it would be easier to use. They also added Local Business Ads for Google Maps and Video Ads.Google AdWords has been involved in a number of lawsuits in the areas of trademark law, fraud and click fraud. But despite this, it still remains one of the most sought after advertising tools of entrepreneurs. It has become more popular than the oldest form of advertising tool that we know – the Yellow Pages. Why is that? Here are some comparisons:
With Google AdWords, you go to their website, create your account and you can immediately set up your campaign and your payment details. Your ad comes out within a couple of hours. With Yellow Pages, you must speak to one of their representatives. You can’t sign up or pay online. You submit your ad to them through email and it takes up to two weeks for your ad to be active.
With Google AdWords, you pay only when someone clicks on your ad. With Yellow Pages, you pay a fixed price whether somebody sees or responds to it or not.
With Google AdWords you can control your budget every single day. You can raise or lower your budget every day. With Yellow Pages, you pay a fixed annual fee – and this is very expensive.
With Google AdWords, you can customize your ads for different searches free of charge. With Yellow Pages, you cannot customize your ads. Different ads will generate different charges.
With Google AdWords, if you don’t like the way your ad looks or the way it’s running you can change it immediately.With Yellow Pages, once your ad is out there, you can’t make changes immediately. You have to call them and wait for them to do the changes. With the printed Yellow Pages, your ad will stay that way for one year before you can change it. AdWords and Yellow Pages are both important tools for advertising. They reach different people. The Yellow Pages was dominant for a long time because that was where people went whenever they needed a service. But with the inflation and the global economic downturn that we are experiencing, entrepreneurs are finding ways to get best results for their businesses at minimal cost.