Online advertising is the most important and highly rewarding marketing tactic in recent times. Almost everyone’s trying to ride the ‘online’ growth wagon these days.
Despite the economic impact of the 2020 pandemic, online advertising spending continued to increase in 2020 and 2021. The future growth figures look promising too.
As spending grows, the online marketing ecosystem will be more competitive than ever in 2023 and beyond. Marketers and business owners need to personalize the customer experience and advertising communication to stand out in this landscape.
The rising competition and information overload around the subject can overwhelm anyone. That’s why we created this beginner’s guide to share the best online advertising methods.
What is Online Advertising?
In its simplest definition, online advertising refers to ads that appear in emails or websites. It’s a marketing strategy that uses the internet to generate website traffic and deliver specific marketing messages to the right customers.
Digital advertising helps persuade targeted customers to take specific actions like purchasing.
Unlike traditional ad strategies, advertising products online enables you to target a specific demographic, such as gender, generation, or geographic region. Online ads are interactive, meaning that users can respond through actions like clicking and visiting your website.
Types of Online Advertising
Integrating different online advertising channels into your digital marketing strategy is a great practice when you’re aiming for growth. An omnichannel campaign influences customers across different platforms and increases your marketing ROI. Here are the six most popular channels you should add to your strategy:
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a popular way to advertise and reach your customers online. An email marketing strategy allows you to offer a personalized experience for your subscribers and inform them about your value proposition.
You can use email marketing to promote your products, send survey emails, start a newsletter, or nurture leads. Automated email campaigns can also be set up using a marketing automation tool to help you put things on autopilot.
Email marketing campaigns yield high conversions and a great ROI — thanks to email and SMS automation tools like Sender.
Based on your marketing goals, you can easily set up automated newsletter campaigns, lead nurturing campaigns, remarketing emails, and much more!
2. Display Advertising
These are visual ads that you can place on contextual third-party websites. Typically, they contain images or videos published as display banners, blog banners, or within other placements on a website, blog, or online portal.
You can buy ad space on popular blogs by reaching out to publishers or can use a platform like Google Adwords to start a display ad campaign. Such ad campaigns are priced based on the number of clicks or views. You’re charged for cost per click (CPC) or per thousand views (CPM).
If you have an eCommerce product and know of websites or blogs ready to place contextual ads for you in their content, you can do very well in terms of impressions and even conversions. All you need is a beautiful display ad banner to be placed right for viewers to discover and leave the rest to your website.
3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or PPC advertising consists of ads placed on top of search results on platforms like Google.
SEM ads are displayed when users search for keywords you pre-select in your Adwords or search ads campaign. CPC, site quality, and contextual messaging affect the placement of search ads.
These ad campaigns aim to raise brand awareness, drive clicks, and get conversions without waiting for SEO benefits to kick in. Basically, SEM ads help you get instant results from existing search traffic. You can use these ads for all kinds of businesses, including eCommerce, B2B SaaS, and service-oriented agencies.
4. Native Advertising
Native ads are different from other forms of ads you see online. Think of native ads as in-line promotions embedded within your content, so they don’t look like ads anymore.
These ads are designed to look like an ‘add-on’ that fits neatly in the user’s journey to discover something new. Though they might look like ads at places, they generally add value to the discussion, so most consumers don’t mind clicking on them to know more.
Native advertising aims to gain visitors’ trust by solving their problems. The simplest way to implement native ads is by creating a blog where you discuss topics related to your niche, include helpful and interesting info for your users, and promote your products natively within the discussion.
5. Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising works best for businesses with an active presence on social networks and a large following. Creating ad campaigns on social media platforms helps generate brand awareness, build a community, reach a large audience, and acquire new customers.
Most people spend a better part of their day on social media. Using social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for ads allows you to target potential customers who have already visited your website and attract new ones.
Due to social platforms’ deep targeting and segmentation capabilities, advertising makes sense for products and businesses looking to grow revenues from niche audiences.
6. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a popular way to start online ads, especially for B2B SaaS, eCommerce, and service-oriented business models. It involves creating relevant content for audiences that answers their specific queries.
You can start creating content on your blog that will help you boost your search engine rankings. When users search for a similar query online, your blog pops up in the results. Users can find their solutions in your content and go on to try out your product or service (which you can plug natively into your content).
Nowadays, content has evolved with the rise of different distribution mediums, and businesses are using existing content to repurpose across social media platforms, newsletters, and communities to attract additional visitors to their websites and landing pages.
7. Video Advertising
Video ads are one of the best types of advertising to promote your brand. People love watching videos, so these ads get higher engagement than traditional banner ads.
Video ads allow you to tell stories about your product, highlight its benefits, and showcase your brand’s personality. You can even use videos to demonstrate your products uniquely and emotionally connect with your audience.
YouTube, TikTok, and other video platforms all offer ways to advertise on their platforms. You can even collaborate with YouTubers to review your products or services on their channels. Another strategy is producing original video content that helps you reach the right audience, attract views, and improve your organic search rankings.
Most Effective Forms of Online Advertising
To maximize the online advertising opportunity, you need to spend the maximum budget on effective channels. In 2023, organic reach will be at an all-time low across platforms. So, using paid channels to promote your products and services online makes sense. Here are the two most effective online advertising channels if you want to get started:
Paid Search Advertising
Paid Search Advertising (aka PPC advertising) is an effective online advertising tactic that allows you to bid for top search positions on SERPs. According to TechJury, PPC has an amazing ROI of up to 200% and generates twice the number of visitors compared to SEO.
Paid search is a great option for companies seeking brand awareness and driving qualified website traffic. You can use Google Adwords and other PPC advertising platforms to launch paid search advertising campaigns for your brand.
Paid Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising is the second most effective form of online advertising after search advertising. According to a survey, 33% of all digital advertising spending happens on social media ads.
The phenomenal retargeting power that social platforms offer, plus explosive reach, make it a preferred option for B2B, B2C, and eCommerce brands. You can start advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok with a small ad spend and scale as per your goals and advertising budget.
Online Advertising Examples
You know now the types of ad campaigns you can run online. You also know the most effective ones. Now, let’s look at some real-world advertising examples from the digital world. Use these examples to get inspired to launch your own online advertising campaign and attract traffic to your website.
Targeted Online Advertising
Targeted advertising is one of the most effective online advertising strategies. It’s a form of digital display advertising where marketers deliver promotional messages to customers based on their specific traits, interests, and preferences. Look at the following example by G’s Beauty Parlor:
Online platforms like Facebook allow you to target customers based on their online behavior, interests, geography, etc. Like in the above example, the brand specifically targets the ladies in San Dimas. Targeted ads have many advantages, including the following:
- It helps you interact with audiences that are most interested in your products;
- It offers advanced personalization that enables you to provide the most suitable products or services to consumers;
- You get improved sales and higher conversion rates since you’ll show relevant offers to your target audience.
Depending on your budget, prices are based on the limit you set on an advertising platform. When you reach the limit, the advertising platform stops showing your ads. That said, here are five ways to up-sell and cross-sell your previous customers using targeted advertising:
- Analyze past buyer metrics to help you understand the true motivation behind their purchases;
- Organize your customers into segmented lists to target them with the right offer;
- Create remarketing campaigns in Google and preferred social networks to target specific buyers with the correct messaging;
- Remind customers why they choose you over your competitors to instill a new sense of brand loyalty in them;
- Incentivize loyal customers with personalized offers such as free gifts or discounts if they purchase an item again.
Paid Online Advertising
You can buy online ad spots on platforms with high traffic volumes to attract potential customers to your website. Paid advertising allows you to put your featured ads appear on specific websites.
The best-paid search advertising strategies are PPC, influencer marketing, social media ads, retargeting, and banner ads. Marketers and businesses compete for PPC ad space and social media ad slots by bidding for their advertisement slots. Take the following ad example from SEMRush:
The banner ad is displayed across eligible sites on the Google Display Network, bringing lots of traffic to the SEO tool’s website. You can work with any budget to launch your paid ads. Paid ads have various benefits, including:
- They’re very affordable and measurable
- You can test them and gain valuable audience insights
- You can broadcast your messages across multiple, but selected channels
Google Ads Online Advertising
Google Ads is a paid advertising platform by Google that helps you run PPC ads. You can see Google ads all over the internet — on top of search results, within YouTube videos, and all over the websites on the Google Display Network. Take the following Google Ads example:
The brand has placed a PPC ad on the keywords ‘monitor sales calls,’ and Google has a top placement for the brand. So, whenever a searcher searches for the said keywords, he sees the ad from the brand on top of all organic search results. Google ads help expand reach and drive conversions. More benefits include:
- It enables you to target people with specific interests in your products.
- It helps you control your costs since you only pay when someone clicks your ad.
- You can measure your success since you’ll know when someone clicks your ad.
- It offers you tools to manage and monitor your accounts.
Social Media Advertising
Placing paid ads on social media is profitable for marketers and business owners. With so many users spending time on social media platforms, it makes sense to spend money on advertising your brand or business on social media. Here are your options in case you’re thinking of social media advertising:
Facebook Online Advertising
Facebook ads work on a PPC model where you pay the network each time a user clicks an ad. It enables you to build brand awareness, increase ad visibility, and measure clearly defined metrics to create better, more optimized ad campaigns.
The cost of Facebook advertising is determined by a daily or lifetime budget. Daily budget is where your ads run continuously throughout the day, while lifetime budget is where your ads run for a specified period. Here’s an example of a Facebook ad by Mark Morphy:
The ad is displayed natively within a user’s feed and entices them to check out the collection with a CTA button, ‘Shop Now .’Users are known to respond well to direct CTAs on social media ads. Other benefits include:
- Facebook has over two billion users worldwide, so Facebook Ads can help you reach a wider audience;
- Both B2B and B2C companies can use Facebook Ads to reach their target audiences;
- Facebook Ads allow you to drive referral traffic to your business’s website.
Like Facebook, Instagram also offers you an option to run ads to target users on the platform. You can place video ads, in-feed ads, or choose from different available formats. The ads appear as a post by a brand within a user’s feed, on the explore page, and more recently between Reels scroll, too. Here’s an example of an online ad by Ajio on Instagram:
Such an ad persuades users to check out the product range by installing the eCommerce platform’s app. Clearly, with social media’s targeting options, such ads perform really well for eCommerce brands and businesses when planned well.
LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that’s really good for B2B businesses to advertise their products and services. Like other social media ads, LinkedIn ads also offer in-feed placements along with other placements on the website.
LinkedIn ads are known to increase awareness and drive downloads, signups, and inquiries if you’re targeting a professional audience, founders, marketers, or a target audience that spends a lot of time in the office.
Take a look at the following ad by Route Mobile:
The ad shares a case study with the target audience, urging them to download the case study. The successful download can be seen as a qualified lead instance and move a prospect into the sales pipeline.
Twitter ads are known to be concise and targeted mainly at youngsters, millennials, and Gen-Z. If you are in the tech business, Twitter can be a great advertising platform. However, Twitter’s ad targeting options can be limited, and you might spend a lot of money on a single ad campaign.
Nonetheless, brands use Twitter to reach out to their audience and announce product launches, updates, and more. Take a look at the following ad by One Plus India announcing their new smartphone model:
Reddit is another platform where you will see B2B, SaaS, and tech brands trying to grab the attention of a young audience. However, Reddit users are known to hate paid ads; brands have been experimenting with various ad formats on the platform.
The platform allows you to run promoted ads that appear as Reddit posts within the user’s feed. Look at the following promoted post by Grammarly as an example:
Video advertising is promotional content that plays before, during, or after streaming. Some marketing professionals expand video advertising to include display ads with video content, such as videos that start playing when you put a mouse cursor over them. Examples include in-stream video ads, out-stream video ads, and bumper ads.
The benefits of video advertising include the following:
- You can communicate the necessary information quickly to your target audience.
- You’ll gain more social shares and attain a wider customer reach.
- You can educate customers about your offers interestingly and interactively.
YouTube is the most popular video advertising platform that allows you to run ads within the videos, on the homepage, across website banners, etc. YouTube ad campaigns can be run from within Google AdWords platforms, and the cost depends on audience targeting, watch time, and campaign objective.
Take the following screenshot from YouTube’s homepage as an example:
The first result is a brand trying to promote its eCommerce store builder. Viewers can see the video ad or click on the link attached to go to the website directly. The video ad can also be contextually placed within relevant videos from other creators who choose to monetize their videos.
Amazon Online Advertising
Amazon advertising works in a similar way to Google’s PPC, but the ads appear on Amazon’s own platform. Amazon sellers pay when buyers click on ads. Amazon sellers have many ad formats and placements to choose such as Amazon-sponsored products, sponsored brands, and product display ads.
Take a look at a sponsored ad appearing on Amazon’s search page for a keyword:
The ad is shown at the top of the search result and is clearly a discovery booster for a seller on the platform. Benefits of Amazon advertising include:
- It has the brand-safe, high-quality environment that advertisers want;
- It shortens the sales cycle;
- It improves product visibility and sales history;
- It boosts brand awareness;
- You can get valuable insights into changing consumer habits and optimize advertising campaigns to reach a more targeted audience.
Ecommerce Online Advertising
eCommerce advertising is any form that raises awareness and drives traffic to an online store.
This includes all kinds of ads shared above. When an eCommerce store uses an online platform to boost sales, it can be deemed an eCommerce ad. Here’s an example of an eCommerce ad placed by Amazon on Facebook:
Such an ad is called a catalog ad that shares an entire product catalog as a carousel for a user to browse without leaving the social media platform. When they click on Shop now, they are redirected to the product page for checkout.
Online Advertising Costs
The cost of running an online campaign can vary greatly based on the platform of choice, your goals, and your audience. You can start from as little as a few hundred dollars a week and go on to spend thousands of dollars. According to a survey in the United States, here’s a breakdown of the cost of advertising, including the cost of advertising on digital platforms:
You might have to do some research based on the platforms and your own marketing goals before you come to a ballpark figure to start an online marketing campaign.
- Always plan your online advertising campaigns in advance;
- Research your audience before you pick an online advertising channel;
- Don’t forget to segment and target your audience based on their personalized interests and expectations;
- Use a marketing automation platform to run omnichannel advertising campaigns.