In today’s world, the line between online and offline communities is blurred. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, 40% of consumers have either used or are aware of a product or service purely online and without ever having set foot in a physical retail store.
So how can marketers take advantage of this trend and compel consumers to action? One way is through online advertising.
What is online advertising?
Simply put, online advertising is any kind of ad that you see when you’re online. Perhaps you’ve seen an ADT Smart Home Ad or an Uber EATS Offer while checking out on a shopping site. These are all examples of online advertisements.
Online advertising typically is more affordable than traditional forms of advertising and has several perks that make it more attractive to marketers. First, you can target the audience for your product or service directly. Second, as a digital marketer, you have the ability to monitor and measure the results of your online campaign with precision.
Additionally, since your target audience is online, you can showcase your products or services in the form of a demo, a virtual showroom, or a questionnaire to gather feedback. Finally, you can follow up with those who’ve taken the time to give you feedback via email or call.
Why online advertising is important
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 56% of consumers have used at least one of the online tools mentioned above to research a product or service without ever having set foot in a physical retail store. This trend is called omni-channel marketing and it’s enabled by new technologies like real-time video and virtual reality.
Omnichannel marketing means customers can interact with brands directly through multiple channels. In the past, consumers would visit a website, call a number, or enter a store to conduct business with a company. Now, with the rise of chatbots, virtual reality, and 360-degree videos, consumers can connect with businesses anywhere and at any time.
With the shift towards mobile working and remote team-working, managers can log in to a company’s virtual workplace from anywhere in the world and conduct business as usual. This removes the constraints of geographical locations and time differences, giving sales a whole new dimension.
Even if you don’t specialize in digital marketing, you’ll likely still be called upon to partake in the creation and delivery of online ads. Therefore, taking a step back and learning a little bit about online advertising can only be a good idea.
How to make the most of online advertising
As a marketer, how can you make the most of online advertising? The answer is simple. You can use all the same strategies that you’d use for any other type of ad, but with one crucial difference. You’ll want to aim for the top of the funnel instead of the bottom.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, only 12% of consumers see ads in newspapers, followed by 9% who see them on TV, 6% who get them on social media websites, and 5% who stumble upon them on the web.
To reach the remaining majority of consumers, you’ll want to target a digital audience through paid campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Furthermore, you can use free tools like Google Adwords, which allow businesses of all sizes to run campaigns efficiently from one place.
When you run a paid ad campaign, you’re essentially paying to have your ad displayed in relevant audiences’ news feeds on social media websites, as well as in people’s search suggestions on Google. When people search for terms related to your product or service, your ads will appear alongside relevant content.
To learn more, check out Google’s Advertising Guide, which provides detailed tips on how to make the most of your Google Adwords budget.
What are the key differences between online and offline advertising?
The first and most prominent difference between online and offline advertising is that the latter is largely focused on the former’s target audience. In other words, you’re advertising to people who are already aware of your product or service.
With online advertising, your target audience is the world at large. That means you’re not just advertising to people who are already aware of your product or service, but you’re also trying to convince them to purchase it. Furthermore, you can measure the success of your ad campaign in real-time.
In addition to this, you also have the luxury of being able to choose your target audience. Whether you want to target millennials or Gen-Z kids, you have the ability to do so. Furthermore, you can identify exactly what demographics are using what social media platforms and which ones you should avoid.
On the contrary, with offline advertising, your target audience is restricted to people who physically come across your advertisement. This is usually in the form of a newspaper or magazine ad, radio spot, or billboard. Therefore, your audience and reaction to your ad is wholly determined by whether or not they happen to be reading, listening, or seeing your message at the moment that they encounter it.
Finally, with offline advertising, since the majority of people are still engaging with content visually, you can bet that most will be clicking on, reading, or watching videos for supplemental information rather than a wealth of text.
This is one of the major differences between the two. While you can certainly get creative with your ad copy and use all sorts of tactics to attract consumers, the more traditional the better. In other words, keep things simple and to the point.
The rise of digital marketing and the future of online advertising
With all the advancements in technology and the continuing shift towards a more digitally based society, the future of online advertising looks incredibly positive.
Since the majority of people are already using digital marketing and online advertising to some extent, you’ll want to take the time to learn more about what makes the practice so effective and unique, as well as how to integrate this effectively into your own marketing campaigns.