Digital Advertising: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

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When it comes to marketing your business, there are so many options available to you.

Digital advertising, content marketing, print media, standing on the corner of your street with a sign and yelling at the top of your lungs…

With so many things to choose from, it can be hard to know which advertising platform is the right forum for your business.

While all forms of advertising are potential success stories waiting to happen, digital advertising is my favourite method due to its ROI and the ability to track exactly what is going in with your marketing campaigns.

So, what types of digital advertising are there, how do they work and what do you need to have sorted before you invest any dollars?

Let’s answer all those questions now.

What Is Digital Advertising?

This might seem like a straightforward question. And the simple answer is: Digital Advertising is the practice of advertising your business online.

But, when you peek beyond that very simplistic definition, you could easily fall into a black hole of research! There are so many different aspects to digital advertising. 

There are different platforms to master, various tactics to understand, and metrics to monitor. The good news is that you don’t have to know everything to get a good return on your advertising investment.

You simply need to choose the right place to invest your energies. And that is what I am here to help you do.

Why Go Digital Over Physical? 

Digital is my preferred mode of advertising. Now, that isn’t to say that physical or print advertising doesn’t work, because they definitely have their place.

But, digital advertising allows you to connect with current and prospective clients across a range of channels at really affordable prices, and measure your campaign’s effectiveness from the minute it goes live, with real-time data. You can specifically target your ideal client online (where they spend a lot of time) and it can work for any budget. 

Another great thing about digital advertising is that you can measure the effectiveness of your efforts. This stops you from spending unnecessary dollars on a doomed campaign! Rather, you can use the documented results to tweak different aspects and turn that campaign into a successful one.

As a result, you will understand what kind of content works for your audience, what generates the best return, and the exact cost of acquiring customers.

Affordability is definitely another huge selling point. You can get started with digital advertising for as little as a few dollars per day, and adjust your budget according to how well the ad is doing. Compare that to traditional advertising such as radio or print media, which cost thousands of dollars and don’t provide any real measurable data such as how many people saw the ad and clicked to your website.

What Types Of Digital Advertising Are There?

There are lots of platforms that you can choose for online marketing. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Facebook: 

Probably the most well-known and popular platform for digital advertising, Facebook is a solid advertising option for the majority of demographics, because, with almost 2.5 billion people using the platform, you are bound to find your ideal customer here. 

With the ability to target people by age, location, interests and more, you can make sure that you are reaching the right people. You can also create custom audiences, like people who may have engaged with your business before, or lookalike audiences who are new people that have similar interests to your best customers. 

Facebook allows you to create a range of different ad styles such as image, video, text or even messenger ads. And, you can also choose different objectives like increasing website traffic, generating leads, retargeting, conversion ads, or simply gaining visibility for your business.

Facebook ads are considered interruption marketing. 

Interruption marketing is: something designed to interrupt the user from what they’re doing, and get their attention with your campaign.

Put simple: while we can show users ads based on their interests, they’re not actively searching for our solution. This *can* mean that Facebook ads provide a lesser return on investment than Google Ads…

Our FB Ads Success program is your step-by-step guide to creating profitable and strategic Facebook Ads.

Google Ads

Unlike interruption ads, Google ads are considered search ads.

Search ads are: shown to users as a result of their active search for something.

When people are in Google mode, they are also in buying mode! That is why Google Ads can be one of the most effective forms of advertising. On average, Google Ads show a return of $8 for every $1 spent.

Positioning your business at the top of the results (above organic results and potentially above your competitors) Google ensures you are one of the first entries seen. 

As well as targeting parameters like demographics, age, and location, Google also allows another layer of refinement where you can select keywords. These are words or terms that help define what you do and how you help your customers. 

Google will match your ad with search queries, so you want to use keywords that are relevant to your business. Google wants to show the most helpful results to its users, so this platform can deliver great active leads to your business.

Instagram:

As Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can create ads for both platforms within Facebook’s Business Suite. With over 1 billion monthly users globally, Instagram is a strong platform for visual advertising, especially if your audience is in the 18-34 age bracket.

You can choose to promote posts or stories directly from your Instagram account or create ads via your Facebook Page/Facebook Business Suite. If you use Business Suite, you can access all the same targeting options that are available for Facebook. 

Again, you can choose different ad formats like images, video, stories, shopping posts, or even choose to get your content in front of a new audience in the Explore tab.

More than half of Instagram users are under 34 and the active user demographic drops off steeply after age 44. So, Instagram is best for businesses with a demographic under this age bracket.

LinkedIn

Recently, LinkedIn has had a real surge in popularity and is particularly effective for those with B2B businesses. It has shaken off its dinosaur-like reputation and now boasts an impressive 660 million active monthly users.

LinkedIn has unique targeting functions where you can focus on people in certain industries or people with certain job titles/functions. You also have the option to generate leads within the platform by including lead gen forms.

You can advertise in the feed or via the Linkedin Message function. I would consider that LinkedIn is best for businesses wanting to advertise to medium sized businesses and organisations, rather than small businesses. Facebook and Instagram are typically preferred platforms for small businesses and entrepreneurs, however this can vary per industry. 

Pinterest

While Pinterest is not an immediate go-to platform for advertising, it is still worth considering, especially if your product is very visual. Acting as its own kind of search platform, Pinterest has 300 million (largely female) engaged users. Studies show that 50% of pinners actively shop on Pinterest.

As a very visual platform, you can advertise by promoting certain pins so that they appear in relevant places for your audience. With targeting and the ability to set a budget, you can invest as much as you want into getting in front of the right people.

60% of Pinterest users are female, however, the age demographic using Pinterest is wide. So, it’s well worth checking to see if your demographic is represented on Pinterest.

General Display Ads

Display advertising is all about using images that appear in designated areas of certain websites. So, like the ads you see when you are reading the news online.

You can use these ads for a few different reasons – general brand awareness, retargeting people that have shown an interest in your business, or for lead generation.

Available via Google, Facebook or software like Adroll, these ads help you get in front of a lot of people for minimal investment.

The Lingo You Need To Know

The paid online advertising world is full of all kinds of lingo. Here are the basic terms you need to know:

Ad Lingo

  • Custom Audience who have interacted with your business before (warm leads), 
  • Saved Audience which will target people based on things like interests or location (cold leads) 
  • Lookalike Audience of people who are “like” those that already interact with your business (cold leads)

Audience: The group of people that you are targeting with your campaign. You can build a: 

Campaign: The advertising content that you are creating. Each campaign will have a goal or objective that you are looking to achieve. In Facebook, your campaigns can have three different goals:

  • Awareness – to build visibility for your business
  • Consideration – to generate traffic, engagement, lead generation etc.
  • Conversion – to get users to take an action, create a conversion

Analytics: Setting an ad and forgetting about it is not going to tell you anything. Which is why it is important to track and measure the effectiveness of your ads through various analytics platforms – like Facebook or Google Analytics. Analytics show you things like how many times your ad was viewed, what actions people took when they saw it and the cost involved.

Retargeting (or remarketing): A powerful form of advertising that puts your business in front of people that have engaged with you before – either on your website, in your email list, or on your social pages. They are a warm audience, so converting them to a paying customer is easier than someone who has never encountered your business before. 

Facebook Pixel: A piece of code that goes on your website, tracking visitor movements and activities. It is essential for effective digital advertising as it gathers data you can use for remarketing to website visitors and tracks the success of your ads. It’s worth noting that the recent changes to IOS devices have caused massive disruption to pixel marketing, as users can now opt to not be tracked. This will affect ad retargeting and interest targeting, as well inaccuracies with reported sales.

Ad Set: The Ad Set controls who you are advertising to and where your ad will be placed.

Ad Level: The Ad Level is where you design what your ad will look like and what content it will contain. It is where you choose the type of ad and is also where you add your media and text. Certain ad types will suit some businesses more than others:

  • Single Image/Video: Perfect for service businesses, blogs and website traffic.
  • Carousel: A selection of images that cycle through on a “carousel” which is helpful for educating your audience about multiple product/service features.
  • Catalog Ad: Great for eCommerce and can link to items in your store. This ad works well for buyer browsing and remarketing.
  • Collection Ad: Another one that suits eCommerce as it displays images in a grid so you can dynamically organise products into groups.

Payment Lingo

PPC: PPC stands for Per Per Click and it is a method of paying for your digital advertising. You only get charged a fee when one of your ads is clicked on. Your ads appear in relevant search results until your set daily/campaign budget is reached. The bonus with PPC is that your ad will appear on a website for free and a charge is only incurred if someone clicks it. So, many people can see your ad without actually clicking, providing you with free brand exposure!

PPI: PPI or Pay Per Impression is another form of paid advertising. You pay per ad views, rather than by clicks. Each time someone visits a website where your ad is displayed, it counts as an impression. You set a budget for the campaign or the number of impressions you would like to take place before the ad ends. 

Pay Per Conversion: Rather than paying for clicks or impressions, you can choose to pay per conversion instead. So, you will only be charged if someone takes a certain action on your website or app. 

Before You Start Advertising

While it can be tempting to jump in and start throwing a few dollars here and there on advertising, you need to make sure you have done these 5 things first:

Get Clear On The Basics – Successful advertising is more than simply nailing the technical aspects, you also need to know your business basics. By that I mean, getting clear on who your ideal client is, the benefits of your products/services, the problems your clients are facing, and the solutions you offer. This will help you create advertising content that people can easily connect with. Our Catch Your Dream Client Course is a great place to start.

Audit Your Website – Your website is how people will find you online, so it should clearly set out what you do and how you can help people in plain language. If you need some help, check out the Pimp My Website Course or the Write Your Site Course for eCommerce or Services. Also, make sure it is easy to navigate and all of the links work!

3: Install Your Facebook Pixel – As I mentioned above, this is an essential resource for remarketing to people who have visited your website. Even if you don’t plan to start paid advertising for a while, connect the pixel now and begin gathering data.

4: Have A Strategy – Like any marketing strategy, paid advertising is only going to work if you have a strategy in place. Work out what your objective is with each ad and how you can support it with the rest of your marketing material. Our Create Magnetic Marketing Course is a great place to start.

5: Know Your Numbers – Get educated on which numbers in your business you need to track, how to do it, if your numbers are any good and how to improve them. Our Know Your Numbers Course can help with all of that!

Creating Good Digital Advertising

The thing to remember when you are creating any kind of digital content is that people HATE being sold to. 

You know when you walk into a store and the shop assistants start circling you like a shark?

It makes you feel pretty uncomfortable, right?

You know they are trying to make a sale. And sometimes, their eagerness to help can come off as pushiness. Or even worse, as the stereotypical smarmy used car salesman.

In those circumstances, I would usually leave the store. I want to be in control of what purchase I make and when I do it. I don’t want to feel pressured into something I might regret later. 

That is exactly what your audience will be thinking when they are browsing online. If the message is too pushy and salesly, they are simply going to click away.

Even though the whole objective of advertising is to gain leads or a sale, that shouldn’t be how it presents to your viewers. Instead, think about what your audience will want to see and what might grab their attention.

Your ads should be relevant, engaging, interesting, and helpful. They in themselves should be a piece of content. The best ads are where people don’t realise they are being sold to. 

If you are ready to dive in and try your hand at paid online advertising, then our Facebook Ads Success Course is the perfect place to start!

Kat Soper - The Helpful Academy

About the author:

Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.

Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).

If you’d like individualised help with growing your business, check out our services.


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