Online Advertising - What's Right For Me?


One of the first rules we tell our clients is don’t spend money on large advertising campaigns until you have a good digital foundation in place. In addition, you want the right tools in place for the ability to learn from analytics and align your efforts with your business goals and KPIs.

If you’ve set the right foundation in place, exploring online advertising options will amplify your organic website efforts and reach a larger audience in a shorter time. With so many online advertising options and so much clutter, you may be thinking, what’s right for me and my company, and where should I start?

First, there are some high-level items to consider and questions to ask:

  • Who is my audience? Are they B2B, B2C, are they in a specific geographical region? How can I best segment my audience into specific key groups to get started?
  • What is my budget? Even before keyword research, it’s good to have a ballpark number in mind. Also, it may be difficult to back into numbers before advertising begins, but there are benchmarks you can research for click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per clicks for your industry to help get you started.
  • What are my key performance indicators (KPIs)? Where are we currently having funnel challenges? Whether you are looking for more impressions, qualified leads, or looking to sell more from your eCommerce store, your KPIs and goals can greatly influence where to spend your ad dollars.

Once you can answer those questions, it’s easier to choose where to start and get a monthly or seasonal strategy in place. Here are some common answers to those questions and online advertising strategies to consider for each.

Are you looking to increase traffic and leads quickly?

Google’s Search Network campaigns allow you to create ads that appear in search results pages based on terms or phrases that your audience is searching for and go to auction against other marketers to show up first for those terms. If you are a B2B business and are looking for more leads for your sales team, search advertising is a good place to start because these prospects are in-market searching for a solution. When running ads in Google’s Search Network you are looking for people to take an action such as call and/or fill out a form on your website and you pay per click. Once the data begins to roll in (such as search terms, click through rate, cost per click) you can adjust your bids, keyword phrase types, landing pages and more to optimize towards increases in click-through rate and conversion rate while decreasing cost per click.

Do you have a smaller/niche audience?

If you have a smaller audience, i.e. niche product offering and/or a smaller targeted geography, search volume may not always be high enough to run effective search campaigns. In this case, we would explore the Google Display Network which can help you reach your audience in a different targeted way. The Google Display Network allows you to target based on interest, past browsing history, affinity, and demographics, so you can focus on being in front of your exact audience while they’re browsing their favorite websites. Display Network campaigns tend to have higher impression numbers versus conversion numbers, which also makes them a good choice for awareness campaigns to stay top-of-mind in your industry when your product or service isn’t always something they need and are searching for often.

Do you have a smaller budget?

If you are a first-time online advertiser and/or have a smaller budget, start with social advertising and remarketing. Remarketing is advertising to people who have been to your website before, so they are most likely in market checking you out and remarketing to them will keep you top-of-mind. Another form of remarketing is to upload a list of contacts you may have. Once again, these are individuals who already know you and your company, and as they are browsing online, will see your brand and be reminded of you.

We like social advertising to test audiences and messaging before jumping into Search campaigns. Specifically, LinkedIn and Facebook both offer robust targeting options and campaign variations, allowing you to get more bang for your buck with valid results. You can manually select the demographics and interests of your target audience, upload a contact list, and even expand your reach with a lookalike audience. If you are a B2B company, 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions, and LinkedIn’s audience has 2x the buying power as the average web audience, according to LinkedIn. Also with LinkedIn, you’re targeting a quality audience in a professional context and can also expand your reach with the LinkedIn Audience Network - a premium network of publishers beyond the LinkedIn newsfeed.

Are your prospects B2B and use email often?

Part of the Google Display Network are Gmail ads which can help connect with potential customers in a more personal format. These are interactive, mobile-friendly ads that show at the top of inbox tabs. These ads can be designed to be expandable so when you click one it expands similar to an email. The expanded ad can include images, video, or embedded forms. Gmail ads help. As with other Display Network ad types, you can target based on demographics, affinity, keywords, customer match, and automated targeting which helps optimize your targeting across Gmail, letting you reach people your targeting wouldn't otherwise reach. 

These scenarios are just the tip of the iceberg of options to get started with online advertising to amplify your brand’s digital reach and growth. Additionally, while these scenarios give you an idea of online advertising opportunities, it usually takes a customized combination of tactics to meet specific needs and goals. And don’t forget, your paid efforts should be aligned with organic content efforts for consistent messaging and targeting.

If you would like to learn more about how to begin and customize online advertising campaigns to meet your business needs, get in touch with us today.