You Want To Advertise Online, But Where? - Plug and Play
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by Brad Girtz

Finding the right place to maximise your advertising dollar used to be easy. You either bought space in a publication your customers liked or you advertised on a billboard near a busy street. Now your advertising budget could go to any one of hundreds of online advertising platforms. Choosing which of those platforms is right for you can be a daunting prospect if you are not a seasoned online advertiser. Thankfully you are currently reading the Plug & Play blog and we are seasoned online advertisers. So let’s break this down for you so you can go back to running your successful business rather than worrying about online advertising.

Your Customers Know What They Want

The biggest player in the market is Google. Have you heard of the 800 pound Gorilla in the Room? Well they are more like King Kong on the Empire State Building. Google are great at a number of different things so they will most likely be your first port of call. If you are a traditional service business or you have a well defined product, Google Search advertising is your best bet (Bing also offer a similar service). You can very effectively target people when they are out there looking for exactly what you sell.

The Up Side: Google Search advertising is generally cheap (unless you are selling insurance, loans or a few other expensive niches). It is also relatively easy to set up and once you have it set, it will keep running without too much work.

The Down Side: Beyond the basic setup of a campaign, Google advertising is very complicated so you may need to hire an agency (shameless Plug & Play promo). If you decide to set up Google yourself and end up making a mess, it will likely take a professional to solve.

Your Customers Don’t Know You Exist

If your customers don’t even know that your product exists, or are not actively searching for it then you are in need of a broader brush. A good way to capture this audience is with display or social advertising. Display are the ads you see on websites with a picture and text, advertising a product that may or may not appeal to you. Display advertising is based on your search behavior and the content of the website you are viewing. Google provides a good display advertising service.

Social advertising is a bit more varied and is based on the social media platform you use. Facebook is good for a broad range of users while Instagram targets a younger demographic. Look at your audience and try to match it with the target audience of the social media company. In either case you can reach a broad audience with display advertising to help build an interest in your products and brand.

The Up Side: Display and social advertising can reach a very broad set of demographics and they are a great way to introduce yourself to future customers.

The Down Side: In general, display advertising has lower click through rates than search advertising. Both display and social advertising work better when someone knows how to adjust the targeting based on results.

Your Customers Are Other Businesses

If you are looking to only target businesses, LinkedIn is probably your best bet. You can also use targeted display placements or search advertising if your customers really know what they want. However, if you just want to target businesses in general, LinkedIn is for you. LinkedIn is the biggest business networking site on the internet and people just don’t go there unless they are in business. You can target specific professions, members of a specific company and even general industries.

The Up Side: LinkedIn has lots of tools to help you target your audience and they are relatively easy to use.

The Down Side: When it comes to deeper functionality like quality score (this is the score Google gives to keywords in your account) or account promotion (where you can pay to advertise your Linkedin account to gain more viewers), LinkedIn is not that great.

You Want To Target Previous Customers

Aside from email marketing lists which are about to be hit by GDPR, the best way to target previous customers is with remarketing. Google is the biggest player here as well but there are other services available. You can target people based on the pages they visit on your site or other actions they have taken on your web property. The great thing is that this allows you to reconnect with people who have already seen your website so each person you remarket to is more qualified than just a generic consumer.

The Up Side: Remarketing is easy to set up if you are running Google Analytics and AdWords.

The Down Side: There are restrictions based on audience list size that mean sites with small traffic numbers may not be able to use remarketing.

You Don’t Know Where Your Customers Are

If you are still looking for your customers online your best bet is to try a little of everything. Start with small budgets and try search, display and social advertising. This casts a wide enough net that you should be able to find your customers quickly and narrow your advertising to avoid wasted spend. It also gives you some experience with advertising which will guide you when creating ads. Remember, in online advertising the rules are fail cheap and learn from your mistakes. If one channel did not work, you learned something and you may have still got some valuable data.

The Up Side: Your ads will reach the largest possible audience.

The Down Side: You will be running a lot of different small ad campaigns that can take time and money to keep up with.

If you are struggling with online advertising, Plug and Play can help. We are online advertising experts that can help you find the right audience fast while keeping costs low. To learn more about our services, call us today.

  • Brad Girtz

    Brad Girtz

    Digital Marketing Manager