Banner Exchange Programs
Banner exchange is one of the most popular free promotion tools today. You can drive a decent amount of traffic to your site for free. Display other site's banners on your site and they display yours. They are easy to use, just paste a relative HTML code (given to you by banner exchange program) into your web site, and upload your banner to banner exchange. That's all - you are ready to go. The script will automatically run banners on your and other web sites.
There are a lot of banner exchange programs on the net now days. How to choose the best one for your site?
Here are the main criteria you want to look at:
Banner exchange ratio:
How many of your banners will network display for every banner that you displayed on your site. Ratio can vary from 1:1 (one banner each banner you displayed) to 5:1 (1 banner for every 5 banners you displayed). The average ratio is 2:1. Obviously you need to look for an exchange networks that gives the best impressions ratio.
The most popular size is 468x60 px and most of the banner exchange networks work with this size. There are also networks specializing on other sizes (like button exchanges 88x31 px, or skyscraper banners 120x600px). Some networks can offer you to run banners of different sizes in one account.
Special Interest Networks / Targeting
Most of the networks offer non-targeted banner exchange. This means that your banner will be shown on any member site of the network without consideration of it's content. Some banner exchange networks offer targeting by category within the network itself. You can for example show your banners only on Business or Sport category sites and show only those banners on your site. Another way to get targeted traffic is to join specialized banner exchange network, which accepts only sites related to the subject of the Network (for example Business banner exchange network, or Webmaster banner exchange Network). You stand a chance for much better click through rate on the sites like this.
Now days, many networks offer sign-in bonus. Your account will be credited with free impressions just for signing in. You will get a chance to start generating traffic to your site from this free impressions. The bonus size vary from network to network and can be from 100 to 20 000 impressions.
Tracking and Reporting Capabilities
Most networks have on-line tracking capabilities, also it's great when your banner network sends you the data in an e-mail, and some banner networks do this.
Do not use a banner exchange networks who does not have on-line tracking.
Participating in more than one Banner Exchange program
If you are planning to show banners of several networks on your site and test the effectiveness of each, you probably need a good banner rotation scripts. Check out EasyBanners - great solution for banner rotation, logging clicks and impressions, also provides a WebBased admin area, and advertisers stats page.
Here are few links to some of the banner exchange networks with the brief info: