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Online Advertising: What is it And Where Do I Start?

Online advertising guide header image
Online ads can be a powerful selling tool, but they can also be expensive if you don't know what you're doing. (Image Credit: ProfileTree.com)

Online advertising is exactly what it says – advertising, but online. This method of advertising comes in many forms. Much like the online sphere, there is so much to choose from. 

If you think of the main reasons you go online – from checking emails at work to scrolling through social media on your commute, to even browsing shops when you get home – each and every platform has ads.

Understanding online advertising is the first step you need to take if you want to appeal to any target audience online. If you dive straight in – this is how mistakes are made and money is wasted. There is a lot to wrap your head around – but we have condensed it down to make it easy for you.

If you are new to advertising or are simply looking for new ways to expand your online reach – learning about online advertising and what it has to offer is a must.

Understanding Online Advertising

Online advertising is a method of appealing to potential customers in a convenient, targeted way. 

With online advertising, you are not limited to only placing ads on websites. Instead, there are various platforms and services that will suit your intended audience and budget parameters. 

With a thorough understanding of the most popular and prominent methods of advertising, your business can reach new levels of success. Online is where everyone is. According to Statista, almost 4.57 billion people were active internet users as of July 2020. This encompasses 59% of the entire global population.

This statistic goes to prove that if you haven’t advertised your business online yet – then now is certainly the time to do so!

When you think of online advertising – there are many ways this can be done. 

What Are the Types of Online Advertising?

There are millions of new ads launched each day online throughout the world. From reading a blog you follow, scrolling through social media or enjoying a YouTube video – you are likely to see plenty of ads.

Before social media, online advertising was much more restricted. This kept marketers limited to pinpointing a small pool of websites or networks. While this was good in its day, now ads are far more versatile and effective.

Here are some of the common types of online advertising:

Social Media Advertising

Social media comprises many platforms where people chat with friends, post personal updates and share interesting or entertaining content. 

Many people tend to swerve towards Facebook, as it is the most used social channel across the world with over 2.7 billion active users. However, while Facebook houses the largest audience, this can often make it harder to wade through to the people you want to reach. 

That’s why, depending on your business and who its primary customer is, you should investigate as many options as possible. Social media sites stretch far and wide. For example: there’s TikTok which is good for targeting teens, Instagram for millenials and LinkedIn for professionals. 

Top tip: figure out which platform is best suited to your customer, and focus on mastering that first. Once you feel like you’re ready to conquer the next one, move onto the second most likely platform that your audience would use. 

You can also check out our social media advertising checklist, a specialist guide on how to get started.

Content Marketing

This method of advertising relies on the power of the written word, high quality graphics and sleek video. As the digital world continues to expand, the need for concise, engaging and profit-driving content marketing has never been stronger.

Content marketing drives traffic to your site. Whether this be keyword-focused copywriting to improve your SEO, or an eye-catching video to showcase your products or services – content marketing will enhance your online presence. 

It is counted as a form of advertising as you are investing in creating content to put your business on the online map.

Top tip: get started by using a content calendar to help you brainstorm and organise your content ideas. This will help structure your thoughts and create a schedule.

Email Marketing

When you think about it – almost every person you know has an email address. Whether it be for personal or business use.

How many times do you get asked to sign up for newsletters when you visit websites? A lot. This is because email is a great way to make people feel like they are part of a special subscription, as they usually incorporate exclusive news and offers. 

Email marketing is a key player in advertising, as it is the most likely method to equate to customer retention. Now that explains all those emails!

Top tip: have a scroll through your inbox and evaluate other business’s newsletters/email offers. Could you offer something similar, if not better? This research will help you make crucial content decisions.

Search Engine Advertising

This is where companies pay to be higher up in the search engine results page (SERP) for chosen keywords. Versions of this include pay per click advertising (PPC) which allows a company to pay for each time a user clicks on their link in the search results. This can increase a company’s conversion rate and improve their ROI.

This way, your brand visibility and the likeliness of being clicked on, increases. When a visitor clicks, you pay. However, if you get a conversion from a customer, then the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Top tip: invest time into keyword research. This way, you can accurately find people who are actually searching for you. Try to think from the searcher’s point of view, and take it from there.

Display Advertising

Display advertising – also known as banner advertising – is a way of advertising on a third party website.

You can place static or animated graphics on websites related to your business, and therefore, your audience. This method of advertising is meaningful, as it is so tailored to the audience. For example, if you were a small business hosting an event – you could invest in display advertising on a local newspaper’s website to reach people nearby.

Display advertising has long been a staple for businesses wanting to advertise online. Mostly due to its effectiveness in raising brand awareness, over actual click-through rates.

Top tip: imagery is everything. Make sure you spend time on making your display ad creative, clear and concise to grab attention and encourage clicks.

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There are many ways you can advertise online, including PPC, social media and retargeting. (Image credit: Pronto Marketing)

The Difference Between Impressions and Click-Through Rates

You will hear this term often in online advertising as it is a core metric in measuring ad impact.

Anytime you launch a new campaign online, it is possible to track live results. Impressions in online advertising refer to the number of times your text, banner, or social ad has appeared in front of users online. 

Impressions are not the same as ‘hits’ or ‘clicks’. Instead, they simply show how frequently your banner or advertisement has been viewed. 

Comparing your click-through rate and your impressions is a way to determine just how effective the campaign you are running is. The higher your click rate is for each campaign – the more successful your ad placement and visual appeal is to your target audience.

Advantages of Online Advertising

As previously mentioned, online is where a huge portion of the worldwide population currently are. Therefore, advertising online is a much more beneficial way of advertising than traditional methods, due to their ability to be uniquely personalised. 

Online advertising provides you with more opportunity. You can advertise where people tend to chat with their friends – which heightens the chance of your ad being shared amongst other people. You can advertise where people go to read the news – so you can provide them with information on your business or event.  

When you choose to advertise only offline and in the print world, you limit your ability to create a convenience for people. In turn, this helps you generate new leads, customers and revenue. 

Using online advertising is also insightful to learn more about your prospective customers and clients regarding what they want and need from your company. You can discover what works and doesn’t work. Ultimately, this will improve your advertising strategy going forward.

The more familiar you become with online advertising, the easier it is to understand metrics and use these to your advantage. Whether you prefer content marketing or display advertising – understanding all of the tools and resources you have available is essential to get started on the right path to success.

Online Advertising is a New Necessity

In the world of digital advertising – designing your branded message is only the beginning of a successful campaign. Bringing that message to a targeted audience, on the right platforms at the right time of day requires skill, insight and extensive experience.

Regardless of your sector of industry, ProfileTree can steer your product or service towards real success with online advertising that informs, engages and inspires. Our specialist teams combine their skills to devise campaigns with real, measurable results. 

For more information, contact us now.

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