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This story appears in the September 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When you want to determine which of your banner ads are delivering the most cost-efficient results and which are simply draining your bank account, take a valuable lesson from the marketers who track customer responses in real time.

Using a process known as real-time optimization, you can uncover information, like how many customers have clicked on a banner ad, the ad's conversion rate (the total number of transactions from that ad divided by the total number of visits during any given period) and even customer response to individual aspects of an offer, such as the price or the message itself. That information helps entrepreneurs "optimize the ads that are running, push Web sites that aren't performing to do better and, if necessary, cancel contracts with them," says Brad Aronson, president of i-Frontier, an interactive advertising agency in Philadelphia. "One advantage of Net advertising is that you can measure results daily and use that information to increase efficiency."

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