Types of Advertising
Advertising comes in all shapes and sizes, and each will provide value, but it depends on what exactly you’re looking for. In this article I’m going to break down some of the top advertising strategies and the pros and cons for each one.
Tradition advertising is advertising that has been around before the digital era took over. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Broadcast TV
- Print (newspaper, magazines, etc.)
Benefits of Traditional Advertising
- One of the main benefits of traditional advertising is reach. Through traditional advertising, such as TV, Billboards, Print, you’re typically guaranteed a certain reach. This is good at spraying out a message and driving some type of brand awareness.
Cons of Traditional Advertising
- On the flip side, while traditional advertising is good for reach, it often lacks:
- It’s hard to map the effectiveness of these ads. You can estimate reach, but harder to estimate sales/leads that originated from these efforts. There are mechanisms that can be placed (i.e. advertising unique phone numbers for specific methods, promoting specific coupons, etc.), but generally it’s much harder to understand the full impact.
- Effectiveness of driving immediate sales
- Given users are likely not in front of a computer and ready to make a purchase decision when seeing this type of advertising, the effectiveness as it relates to driving immediate sales is relatively low.
- Targeting specific audiences
- We’re often limited on the degree on who we’re targeting with traditional media. We can get close to specific demographics and interests based on where you’re advertising (specific tv shows, magazines, etc.), but you can’t hone in the audience based on other attributes that could be important such as users who are in-market to purchase specific products, age, demographics, etc.
KPIs and Goals of Traditional Advertising
Given traditional advertising is typically more of an awareness play, and less of a direct response activity, it’s best to set goals that align with it’s purpose. In this case it would be reach (how many users you’re reaching), brand awareness and consideration.
With digital advertising, all things change, compared to traditional advertising. Specifically:
- We can be way more targeted, targeting users based on what websites they’re visiting, searches they’re conducting on Google and Bing, age, gender, household income, geography, and even life events. This isn’t everything, there are even more ways we can target through digital advertising.
- Measurement is awesome. Through digital advertising, we have a very full picture of what users are doing once they click our ads and go to your website. Things we can track include, but arn’t limited to:
- Online purchases
- Contact forms submitted
- Even store visits
- Budgets are extremely fluid. With most forms of digital advertising, the advertiser controls how much they spend per day and how much they’re willing to pay per click. This makes it super approachable, especially for small businesses who can’t afford large, up-front, sponsorships.
Now that we covered some of the differences between digital advertising and traditional, let’s get into the specifics of some of the top digital advertising platforms. This list covers the top platforms I recommend, but is certainly not all platforms for consideration.
Google Search Ads
Google Search Ads is advertising where you can target users based on search queries their typing into Google.
Advantages of Google Search Ads
- It’s extremely powerful, where you can display your message to people searching for products and services you offer.
- You only pay when users click on your ad to go to your site.
- You set the daily budget you’re willing to pay.
- Google offers a variety of tracking mechanisms so you understand the return on your investment.
Cons of Google Search Ads
- For many industries, the cost per click, is pretty high. This makes sense as the traffic is very valuable. However, this can still be very profitable if you know what you’re doing and how to leverage the platform.
- Google Ads is complex. You can’t simply create a few generic ads with a basic campaign and expect it to work well. Given the competitiveness of the platform, you need to really know how to leverage the platform and the nuances and intricacies of the platform.
For anyone looking for support and learn Google Ads, checkout my courses that I host on SkillShare.
The Bottom Line of Google Search Ads
For nearly all businesses, I recommend to give Google a shot. For most businesses it works well, but it takes time to optimize and learn the platform to have a well run advertising program on Google.
Unlike Google, with Facebook you’re not targeting users based on search intent, but you are targeting users based on a variety of attributes such as:
- Status (i.e. engaged)
- Website and social engagement (i.e. if they’ve visited your website, or interacted with your facebook channel).
- Users based on email upload
- Look-a-like audiences, leveraging Facebook’s data to find more people like your most valuable website visitors or customers.
Advantages of Facebook Ads
- It’s relatively inexpensive to reach a lot of potential customers, on the cheap.
- Facebook has a variety of great creative to capture the attention of potential customers (i.e. videos, ads with multiple images).
- Through advertising on Facebook, you can advertise on Instagram as well.
- Facebook’s pixel is extremely powerful, in that you can use it to target past site visitors and create look-a-like audiences of users who visit your site, or even purchase .
- You set the daily budget you’re willing to pay.
Cons of Facebook Ads
- Unlike Google, you’re lacking search intent. With that, it’s a great tool for most advertisers, except for advertisers that would only appeal to a small segment of the population only has a need if a certain event happens. For example, if you’re an injury lawyer, Google Ads would likely outperform Facebook, as you need an event to happen, before a user would even consider contacting a lawyer. No matter how many times you reach a user with a FB ad, unless if they have a need, they wouldn’t be interested. Alternatively, if you’re selling items that would appeal to a larger mass (i.e. retail, travel, common services), Facebook should do pretty well.
The Bottom Line of Facebook Ads
As with Google, for nearly all businesses, I recommend to give Facebook a shot. For most businesses it works extremely well, but as anything, you need to invest time and money to understand the best performing campaigns, creative, etc.
Here’s a helpful article I wrote on the top Facebook advertising strategies to consider, if you start advertising on Facebook.
YouTube advertising is a really fun platform as you can share your story with video. Video works at sharing your brands story as you can use sight, sound and motion.
Advantages of YouTube Ads
- YouTube has an insanely large audience, with over 1 billion users globally, advertisers can tap into a significant audience.
- It’s very easy to get started, through the Google Ads platform.
- Advertisers can spend as much or as little as they prefer, based on daily budgets they set.
- Targeting is pretty good as advertisers can target based on age, gender, interests, video content, etc.
- YouTube has very efficient bidding capabilities, advertisers can use their “TrueView” ad format, where they only pay if someone views at least 30 seconds of the video without skipping before hand.
Cons of YouTube Ads
- YouTube Ads are amazing at driving brand awareness and consideration, however it’s not the best vehicle for driving immediate purchases or leads. Reason, users on YouTube are in the moment watching videos. If they see an ad they’re interested in, they aren’t as privvy to click off and purchase, even if they are interested.
- However, Google has great measurement solutions where it will share the number of users who viewed an ad, didn’t immediately click to purchase, but at a later time visited the site to purchase.
The Bottom Line of YouTube Ads
YouTube ads are a really fun and interesting platform. It’s excellent at driving brand awareness and consideration by sharing your brands story with video. If your goal is brand awareness or consideration, this should be in your arsenal. If your goal is immediate sales / leads, I may hold off on YouTube ads, or have a very small campaign that’s extremely targeted.
LinkedIn advertising is the preferred platform for business to business (b2b) advertisers looking to decision makers at other businesses.
Advantages of LinkedIn Ads
- It’s one of the few advertising platforms where advertisers can target users based on their linkedin professional profile, which includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Job title
- Geo location
- You can set daily budgets that are pretty modest, even as low as $10 – $20/day.
- Sponsored In-Mail ads are extremely effective on delivering an effective message to your target audience.
- LinkedIn has some great lead generation forms advertisers can leverage to drive efficient leads.
Cons of LinkedIn Ads
- LinkedIn generally is very expensive. If you advertise on many of their ad formats, the cost per click is expensive as the click through rate is relatively low. However, if you focus on in-mail ads, you should be in a good spot.
The Bottom Line of LinkedIn Ads
If you’re a B2B advertiser, I would strongly recommend LinkedIn advertising. However, when you advertise, leverage the in-mail, and even better if you can use the lead generation forms LinkedIn provides. For more information, I wrote a blog post that goes into more detail on LinkedIn Ads.
Microsoft is another great platform advertisers can consider. Through Microsoft you can advertise on their Bing search engine, along with other sites such as outlook and MSN.
Advantages of Microsoft Ads
- Microsoft Ads will give your search campaigns more reach by advertising on Microsoft Bing.
- Microsoft Ads will give you the option to advertise on other search engines they have a partnership, including, but not limited to:
- Their interface is very similar to that of Google Ads, which makes the learning curve less intimidating.
- Microsoft has great tools to allow advertisers to import their Google campaigns.
Cons of Microsoft Ads
- There aren’t many cons associated with Microsoft Ads, they will give your search ads more reach.
The Bottom Line of Microsoft Ads
If you’re advertising on Google and have campaigns that are performing well, you should absolutely expand your campaigns to Microsoft. Here’s a blog post that I wrote that goes into more detail of Microsoft Ads.