Online advertising, also referred to as web advertising and online marketing, is a type of marketing in which businesses use the internet to share advertising messages to customers. The goal of online advertising is to drive consumers to a brick and mortar business or a company’s website to purchase a product or service.
In this article, we provide a more detailed overview of online advertising, including how it is done and the benefits it provides. The internet has changed the shape of the business world, including the way that companies market and advertise. While many businesses still rely on traditional means of marketing and advertising, more and more are relying on the World Wide Web to reach their customers, drive purchases, and increase their success.
Known as online advertising (also called internet advertising, internet marketing and web advertising), this modern approach to advertising is exactly what it sounds like: the marketing or promotion of products and services on the World Wide Web. Online advertising is an umbrella term, as companies use many different strategies to reach their audience and deliver their marketing messages. Entire books can (and have) been written to explain online advertising; in this article, we are going to provide an overview of this type of marketing.
When most people think of online marketing, the first thing that usually comes to mind is paid search advertising. Also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, paid search is one of the most commonly employed and effective forms of internet marketing.
With paid search, you can bid on terms and phrases that are relevant to a business (keywords and keyword phrases) that would allow text-based ads to be displayed when people enter those words or terms into search engines, such as Google or Yahoo. Keywords and key phrases are the foundation of PPC advertising. Marketers bid on words and phrases that are relevant to their business via an ad auction. The purpose of this auction is to ensure that all marketers are given an opportunity to have their ads displayed to consumers instead of just limiting opportunities to marketers that have large budgets.
In order for pay-per-click advertising to be effective, the selected keywords should be closely related to your establishment. They should also be arranged and ordered into ad groups that make sense and segmented by the type of advertising campaign you are running. Additionally, they should be associated with the match type (selected audience reach) so that they will be displayed for and reach the right visitors, at the appropriate time, for the proper campaign.
Though paid search may have changed the shape of online advertising, paid search is changing the way internet advertising works for tomorrow. Social media has become one of the most common activities around the world. People in all corners of the world are posting, sharing, browsing, searching, and commenting on social media sites on a constant basis, with the most popular platforms being Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Paid social advertising works much like paid search advertising; however, the primary difference is that instead of users taking the initiate, marketers do. In other words, marketers have to search for users instead of users searching for advertisers.
Marketers also have the option to target potential customers according to what they follow on social media platforms, the items they purchase, and even the news and events that they keep tabs on. Advertisers can create these types of custom audiences in several ways; by using data that they already have about their customers or via their email lists, for example. Social networking sites can then connect the data that they have about these users in order to showcase insights about their behavior.
Knowing Your Audience is Vital
Being familiar with your audience is another crucial factor for online advertising. This is the case in both paid search advertising and paid social advertising. Keyword research (pinpointing keywords and phrases that customers would use to located products and service a business offers) is vital for paid search advertising. For paid search advertisers, creating a buyer’s persona is the equivalent of keyword research. This strategy involves paid search marketers creating personas that mimic the customers they are trying to target. It enables marketers to increase their reach and ensures that they are using their efforts to really target their audience.
The Elements of Online Advertising Campaign
While it is true that online advertising does involve placing ads online, there is a lot more to it than that. Online advertising campaigns that garner the most results use a combination of various strategies in order to ensure that they are reaching their audience. Each of these strategies serve different functions with the goal of maximizing the potential of the advertising campaign. Though a campaign may not contain every element, it should follow the elements that are a part of a digital marketing initiative, and these elements will be common throughout campaigns.
Commonly use elements in online advertising campaigns include:
- Landing pages. Landing pages are optimized web pages that people are taken to once they click on an advertisement. These pages can feature specific products, or they might showcase prompts that encourage users to input highlighted information that the marketer can use, such as a web form. Landing pages can also be used to persuade people to take specific actions, like making a purchase, downloading a video, or asking for additional information.
- Text and visual ads. Programs like Google AdWords give marketers the option to display text ads (advertisements that contain content), or ads that contain visual elements, such as banner ads. Generally, text ads are referred to as PPC ads, and visual ads, such as banners, are often referred to as display ads. Additionally, social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, offer options that are highly visual and feature elements of both PPC and display ads. There is a plethora of advertising formats available to marketers, which means you really have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a format that will work the best for you.
- Call tracking. For a lot of marketers, the telephone is an extremely effective way to attract and communicate with leads. For these marketers, call tracking is an excellent option. They can track calls that are made from their online advertising campaign so that they can find out which ad and which keyword encouraged a potential client to call their company.
- Email marketing. One of the most commonly used elements in the majority of internet marketing campaigns is email marketing. In fact, this strategy is so effect that some marketers choose to launch campaigns that only feature emails. Email marketing allows companies to stay in touch with their clients, clients to stay in touch with companies, and encourages relationship growth and a loyal customer base; all things that are highly beneficial for a business.
- Sponsored content. Sponsored content is another element that a lot of online advertisers choose to feature in their internet marketing campaigns. There are many types of sponsored content, including:
Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social media sites, offer this feature; Facebook offers Promoted Posts and Twitter offers Sponsored Tweets.
- Analytics. If marketers simply published their ads on the internet, they would never be able to keep track of how they are performing and where their traffic is coming from. It is for this very reason that analytics is such an important aspect of an online marketing campaign. There are several analytics tools available that provide a tremendous amount of vital information that pertains to an internet advertising campaign; impressions, click-through rates, cost-per-conversion, and so forth. These tools are also important, as they tell you how people find your website and interact with it.
- Remarketing. It is very rare that a person finds a business website and immediately decides to purchase something. The journey that is involved with location a site and actually making a purchase is long and involved. It usually takes place across various websites and devices, and takes quite a bit of time. It is for this very reason that remarketing has become one of the most essential components for an internet marketer. Remarketing makes it possible to keep track of people who have visited a website but didn’t convert (complete the intended action, such as making a purchase.) Once people leave a website without converting, the process of remarketing is used to serve them ads via other sites. This process can help increase brand awareness and provides more opportunities for a person to visit a site again and make a purchase in the future. Remarketing can be used on both search and display campaigns, as well as social advertising campaigns.
Paid Social and Pay-Per-Click: The Perfect Pair
Blending the reach that pay-per-click provides with details that paid social provides is a highly effective way to get the most out of your return on investment, reach as many new customers as possible, and ultimately boost the success of a business.
The Benefits of Online Advertising
Internet advertising has become the standard for doing business in today’s marketplace. The potential for success that this type of advertising provides is immense. So, what kind of benefits can internet marketing provide? Here’s a look at some of the most notable benefits:
- A long-term strategy. There’s no denying it: the internet is here to stay. Literally billions of people rely on the World Wide Web on a daily basis, and that amount continues to grow. Most people have a personal computer, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or some other device that connects them to the internet. These devices are used to search for various type of information, including products and services that people are interested in purchasing. What does that mean? It means that technology makes it possible for businesses to connect with customers in a fast and convenient manner. It also means that online advertising is here to stay. Internet marketing can generate leads from every corner of the world. Since the internet is here to stay, online marketing is a long-term advertising strategy.
- Gives you control. One of the biggest challenges with traditional methods of advertising is that it’s often out of your control. For example, if you run an ad on TV, it can be hard to keep track of who it actually reached and what conversions occurred as a result of that commercial. However, with online advertising, you are in control of your efforts. You can keep tabs on your marketing initiatives and make improvements, if necessary. This is one of the reasons why so many people find this form of marketing so appealing – and why it’s so successful.
- It can be highly effective. Whether you pay for the advertising or you use free strategies, the World Wide Web can help you reach a global audience. If you take the right steps and use the right strategies, you can find immense success with internet marketing.
- Establish a large fan base. Online advertising also provides you with the opportunity to build a much larger fan base than you would be able to using traditional marketing strategies. Since you can literally reach people around the world, you can build a huge fan base. It goes without saying, but the larger your fan base is, the more successful your business will be.
- Builds customer loyalty. Did you know that it’s much less expensive to retain a customer than it is to find a new one? Online advertising gives you the opportunity to build customer loyalty in a way that traditional marketing strategies can’t. Loyal customers are more likely to not only make repeat purchases from a business, but they are also more likely to spend more money on the future purchases that they make. The various strategies used in online marketing, such as email marketing and social media marketing, make it possible to develop a much larger loyal customer base.
- It’s cost-effective. Saving money is a top priority for all businesses. Obviously, the less money you spend, the more money you have in your bottom line. Internet advertising is much more cost-effective than other marketing strategies. Not only is it less expensive, but it offers a great return on investment. In the end, it can help save you money, which is a pretty big deal.
- Myriad options. Another important benefit of online advertising is that there are so many options available; banner ads, video ads and text ads, for example. If one strategy doesn’t work for or fit your business, you can try another one until you find something that does work. Moreover, with so many options, you can reach a much larger audience, which can help to significantly improve your success.
Disadvantages of Online Advertising
Despite the many benefits that it offers, there are some disadvantages associated with online advertising. Depending on your business and your specific needs, this type of advertising may not be the best option for you. Some of the disadvantages of marketing online include:
- Marketing overload. The goal of every advertiser is to attract the attention of consumers. Often, this means that there is just too much advertising information out there for consumers to digest. As such, potential customers can become overloaded and confused, which could ultimately prevent them from making a decision and a purchase.
- Large amounts of data. Online advertising allows you to collect a lot of stats about your campaign, which can be beneficial; however, the amount of data can be so large that for some marketers, it can become crippling. If you aren’t sure how you are going to measure your success, you may encounter data overload.
- Consumers ignore. People have become so accustomed to advertising that often, they choose to ignore it. For example, they may skip over an online ad or they may not load a marketing video. This can lead to issues, as the less people who see your ads, the less conversions you are going to have.
The Bottom Line
Online advertising has become the wave of the marketing future. Despite the few disadvantages, considering all of the benefits, it is really a wise idea to considering employing this marketing strategy. If done properly, this advertising technique can help you reach a huge audience and significantly increase your rate of success. If you are trying to determine if online advertising is right for you, your best bet is to weigh the pros and cons with other marketing strategies to determine if it is a good fit for you.