The evolution of search and social media means consumers now have the power to discover things simply by typing what they’re looking for into a search bar or browsing through posts on social media.
While this handy digital compass can help consumers easily find what they’re looking for, the plethora of content available online can also lead to information overload and increased stress levels.
To combat this, it’s important to set appropriate digital marketing goals and performance measures to ensure you’re always progressing in the right direction. In today’s digital marketing environment, this means closely aligning your marketing strategy and tactics with the evolving behavior and tastes of consumers.
Why Online Advertising?
Although the most popular method of advertising remains print media (such as magazines and newspapers), the rise of the ‘Digital Native’ audience has made online advertising a viable alternative.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 86% of consumers have used digital media to research products and services, and 79% have used social media to do the same. Thus, if you want to reach these consumers, a digital marketing strategy that includes paid ads on social media is a viable option.
Even better, today’s consumers prefer to do their research online, making the ‘click’ profitable in its own right.
Consider the example of a typical e-commerce store. Before clicking on an online ad to learn more about a product, a consumer might first do online research (e.g. via reviews, videos, FAQs), make a purchase decision, and then convert that decision into a purchase.
This sequence of events – from marketing message to consumer action – highlights why, in 2019, more and more businesses are shifting to an online advertising strategy.
Types of Online Advertising
Depending on the nature of your product or service, you might want to target different groups of consumers with different marketing tactics. Here are just a few of the many different types of online advertising available:
When someone types ‘pen’ or ‘pens’ into the search bar, you’re presented with three options. However, unless you’ve paid for advertising, your ads will only appear as part of the usual free listings offered by search engines.
If you decide to take advantage of this, you might want to look into product-related ads – including everything from ads for specific brands of pens to ads for e-commerce stores that sell pens, etc.
If you’re convinced that the ‘Digital Native’ audience is most likely to be interested in your product or service, you can target ads to specific demographics using the same techniques you would for product-related ads.
For example, say you’re an e-commerce store and you want to reach men between the ages of 18 and 34 who live in cities with over 300,000 people. You can do this by creating a demographic profile including the abovementioned details, and using that profile to create ad groups.
Depending on your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on ads, you might want to consider running ads across a variety of platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook, and Twitter).
If you’re an e-commerce store that wants to draw in potential customers from a certain location, you can take advantage of geo-targeting. When a consumer clicks on a location-related ad, they’re taken to a small pop-up window containing more information about your products or services.
For example, if you’re a pizza restaurant in San Francisco and you decide to target consumers in the Bay Area, you can display ads for your restaurant in local news articles and on social media platforms like Twitter, where people in the area are likely to be interested in your business.
Remember: although you want to focus on reaching the largest audience possible, you don’t want to focus on a single location or demographic, as this could hurt your overall marketing strategy.
Generated content-related ads
If you have a blog, you can use it to post articles related to your product or service. While your articles might be generally informative, you can use SEO techniques to ensure that certain words and phrases pop up when a consumer types in the search bar.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce store that sells swimwear and you write an informative blog post about the benefits of swimming pools, you can use SEO to ensure that individuals searching for ‘swimming pools’ have access to your content.
User-generated content-related ads
If you’ve got fans on your Facebook page, you can use that to your advantage. When someone types in the search bar on Facebook, your fans’ content pops up.
This content can either be something they created themselves (e.g. a blog post), or something they found somewhere else (e.g. a YouTube video). To ensure you appear when a user types in the search bar, you’ll need to have a Facebook page and a profile with a good amount of content.
If you’re an e-commerce store that sells baby clothes, you don’t want to show ads for men’s suits to families searching for kid’s clothing. To ensure you don’t waste your ad budget on this type of audience, you can create a separate list of keywords and phrases for ads specifically related to your product or service, and for these keywords and phrases, you can create ads that directly target these groups of individuals.
Let’s say you’re a boutique that sells luxury watches and you’ve got a special promotion going on where you’ll give away a Patek Philippe for free. To target potential customers in that demographic, you can take advantage of specialized keywords and create ads for this promotion, using phrases like ‘Patek Philippe giveaway’ or ‘free watch Patek Philippe’.
Cost-per-click (CPC) ads
CPC ads are pretty self-explanatory – you pay only when someone clicks on your ad. For this type of ad, you’ll need to set a budget and determine the maximum you’re willing to pay per click – with the default being free.
Although you want to keep an eye on your CPC budget, you need to remember that this is a highly profitable type of ad. If you’ve got the budget and you decide to go this route, you might want to consider running ads on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, where you know you’ll get a decent amount of engagement.
Finally, you can take advantage of the ‘Display Ads’ feature on Google. With this feature, your ads will appear on the right-hand side of the page – as opposed to the usual ‘sponsored’ ads that appear on the left-hand side.
If someone clicks on a display ad, they’re taken to a new page that contains more information about your products or services.
This type of ad can be highly profitable – as long as you keep an eye on your budget and aren’t afraid to take advantage of Google’s default position on the far right of the page. For instance, let’s say you’re a dating site and you want to target men in their 20s who live in cities with over 500,000 people. You can do this by creating a demographic profile including the abovementioned details and using that profile to create ad groups.
As you can see, there are several different types of online advertising available. Depending on your product or service, you might want to consider which ones make the most sense for you. To help with this decision-making process, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about online advertising.