EVERYTHING You Need to Know about Online Advertising Services
Much like different domains to pick from to start your business, there are a plethora of options to pick from when it comes to an online advertising strategy. Understanding the basics of all of them will allow you to differentiate which is most effective for your mission and your audience. In this, we will tackle almost every method of online advertising so you can be a jack-of-all-trades, understanding the pros and cons of each.
Before we dive into the methods, ask yourself these guiding questions:
Do you understand your target audience?
Are you optimizing funds by targeting appropriate mediums or are you spreading yourself too thin?
Are you open to being patience in experimenting and measuring the effectiveness of multiple strategies?
Is this a large enough undertaking which would be best employed with assistance, allocating employees, or asking for managers?
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing (SEO and SEM)
The Basics: Search engine optimization is making sure your websites, socials, and other relevant online media is curated to be the first result in an engine search. The goal is to optimize your SEO strategy enough to where your chosen words lead you to that first page on a Google search. This is different than search engine marketing, as this utilizes keywords you bid for in order for your brand, service, or product to pop up in curated search engine explorations.
Pros: The customer base of SEO/SEM produces are more authentic. Because they are seeking your business as opposed to be overtly advertised to, they tend to be more open-minded to becoming a customer because they are already primed. SEO/SEM also have the advantage of providing thorough analytics, which is collected in the background with no extra energy required. This will help your targeting and product management in the future. SEO is an organic marketing strategy and SEM is more paid, so you can get an image about which is better for your brand.
Cons: Making it in the SEO world can sometimes take time, as there is a high density of advertisers utilizing it because of just how effective it can be. Upping your Quality Score and curating those keywords attentively can get you there, albeit with lots of patience. This also means it can be expensive over time if it is not watched attentively, so spend time wisely.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Keyword Advertising
The Basics: As the name so appropriately suggests, pay-per-click advertising is the method of picking key words (similar but not exact to SEO/SEM) and hosting ads which are only paid for by the advertiser every time there is a click-through. It is one of the fastest growing advertising rates on the internet right now.
Pros: Because the advertiser is only charged when there is a click-through, it is one of the most budget friendly forms of advertising. It especially helps when you are paying for a click-through that you know the customer is already at least in some way interested because they actively participated with your advertisement. PPC can also be used outside of just Google into social media websites, news outlets, and even online shops. It also is one of the most versatile, working in great conjunction with almost every other form of online advertising method.
Cons: This is a very high maintenance form of advertising. Much like SEO/SEM, it takes time to curate the perfect ad campaign. Understanding your audience is key, and sometimes that is a time-consuming effort. Delegating different duties to different departments so time is not wasted will be the most advantageous if employing this method of online advertising.
Display (or Banner) Advertising
The Basics: One of the pioneers of online advertising, display ads are much like the billboards of the internet. Banners which appear in the sidebars of websites or on the headers are your display ads.
Pros: A viewer of this ad does not need to actively search for it in an engine. They are passively viewed, therefore more often reinforcing brand awareness (not just a name), because they are already in place, very often at your choice of targeted location based on market segmentation research. This is the main way they differ from SEO or PPC advertisements. It also works in wonderful conjunction with remarketing. In fact, according to Invesp, “Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on a retailer’s website.”
Cons: Display advertising is falling out of popularity due to the increase usage of PPC and SEO advertising. More and more individuals are installing ad-blockers in their browsers and phones so they are not bombarded with visual clutter. Though there are many people who do not, a vast majority of your target audience may be cut because of an unwillingness to be exposed to advertisements.
Social Media and Website Marketing
The Basics: Probably the fastest growing online advertising industry at the moment, social media marketing is utilizing the medley of social media channels to advertise your brand or product. Numerous outlets say in this day and age, social media marketing is non-negotiable.
Pros: Social media and website marketing can manifest in such a variant of unique ways, it is sometimes hard to tell when you are being advertised to. Pinterest DIY graphics, self-aware blog posts, and memes floating around Facebook can all be methods of this form of advertising. This means your brand identity can be the most identifiable it has ever been because creating a social channel does exactly that—it makes what used to be two-dimensional (a product or service) into something interactive and empathetic (a social entity). Your advertising penetration is possibly the highest with SMM as well. You can’t ignore the numbers: “2.56 billion global mobile social media users, equaling 34% penetration; globally with 1 million new active mobile social users added every day.”
Cons: There are so many channels out there, it can sometimes be overwhelming to dive headfirst. The algorithms are also always changing, so oftentimes it requires not only a lot of attention, but constant attention, making it time consuming and very expensive with loads of trial and error. A social media manager (or team) is almost necessary to juggle all of the profiles, specifications, and news updates. The predominant generation utilizing social media is also increasing in awareness to advertising methods, so some argue SMM is not as necessary because users are complacent and aware. Use at your discretion.
The Basics: One of the well-hidden forms of advertising, native advertisements sneak into blog posts, social media feeds, and web pages with ease because they are specifically designed to have the aesthetic, structure, and tone of the website which is advertising it. This takes the form of linked out advertisements in articles, sponsored content or product placement in YouTube videos, and branded content a company creates for another company and pays to have them host it in some way. Affiliate marketing is also sometimes considered native, in which an individual or company receives a small commission from advertising a product or service.
Pros: Native advertising is not known by name by the majority of consumer public. Though sometimes it is obvious, its lack of commercial usage can be utilized to its advantage. People are aware of other advertising methods more, and since this method can be more subliminal and seamless, it feels less aggressive to your consumers.
Cons: If you have an audience which is more aware about advertising methods, sometimes native advertising can be seen as disingenuous, as the intention of it is to hide as a native among other content. It is sometimes difficult to find a balance in how to portray your ad, much less measure how viewers feel about that content unless there is a comments section or somewhere linking to reviews.
Remarketing or Retargeting
The Basics: Have you ever experienced seeing an ad based off something you recently purchased on Amazon? This is remarketing at its finest; utilizing cookies, remarketers track internet usage from users to make targeted advertisements in their upcoming internet adventures.
Pros: Remarketed or retargeted ads are being aimed at people who have already expressed interest in your idea or business. This means your money is surely being spent on people who already care about what you have to sell.
Cons: At the beginning, remarketing has a low conversion rate because of that initial unsettling feeling of “being followed” by the internet. However, over time these feelings fade and transform into simply feeling reminded of the product or service they were previously interested in. Sometimes it just takes time to convert.
The Basics: Have you noticed the increase in the number of videos on your Facebook feeds and on news websites? This is because consuming video content is one of the easiest forms to digest information, therefore, making it a great tactic for online marketing.
Pros: It is the most visual of the advertising methods, therefore attaching to more sensory targets than mere words or hyperlinks. The more an ad seeps into the eyes and ears, the more tangible it seems to the customer, increasing desire or likelihood of action. Business Insider reported that online video has the highest click-through rate of any other form of advertising. Video marketing also appeals to all audience types regardless of gender, age, location, or education. This will broaden the amount of people you can show off your brand to.
Cons: Video marketing is one of the most expensive advertising methods in the business. To get started is not hard, but making quality video itself is expensive with the amount of equipment and team members needing to be invested in to make it content worth watching. This is also the most vulnerable form of advertising, sometimes showing off your own team members or the efficacy of your product or service. Making sure your business is prepared to be open-minded to the public eye (and mouth) is essential in video marketing survival.
The Basics: As the name states, it is utilizing email as your primary advertising method. This is formed by creating a loyal mailing list of prospective customers and transforming them into long-term, devoted engagers in your business.
Pros: It is one of the most inexpensive ways to market. Numerous mailing list services, like MailChimp, are inexpensive or free, and if utilized properly, does not take a lot of time because too many emails can scare away potential customers because they are seen as spam. You also are more likely to have click-throughs because they are the forefront of your emails. The consistent reminder with having your emails hit the top of their inbox is wonderful in maintaining consistency and brand integrity with your audience. Emails ultimately can convert people, in fact, they can spend upwards of 138% more!
Cons: It is sometimes difficult to get that initial mailing list populated. On top of that, sometimes you’ll get a long list of people who subscribe, yet the open-rate of the emails is not as high as you hope. Studying what gets individuals to open their emails will be crucial into the engagement of your email marketing strategy. It can also take time to perfect the voice of your brand; making the email sound like they are from a friend or family member will be optimal as opposed to writing it as an inventor begging to get sales.
What to do for now and the future
Understanding the sides of each of these methods of marketing will increase your brand visibility in the best way possible. Knowing which ones target your audience, and which methods work symbiotically with one another, will keep your business and numbers from stagnating.
The world of online advertising is always changing, and new methods are developed all the time. Make sure you don’t fall behind and keep with online marketing news so you aren’t wasting time (and money).