So you've decided its time to start advertising online in order to get more people to learn about your business. Whether you already have a site but desire more traffic, or you're just getting online, it's important to understand the main areas to advertise online and where you're first dollar should go. Yes, the big companies are on every advertising platform, but when you're just starting out and dollars are precious, it's important to pick where you'll get the best bang for your buck to see successes and grow. Here, we'll cover the main types of online advertising and which one you might want to start with.
This is where most of the online advertising dollars are spent. It's considered a bottom funnel platform so often because many people turn to search right before they make a buying decision which makes it an excellent place to have your company. You get a lot of control on what keywords you want to show for, what message your ad conveys, and what part of your site you take your users. They work on a bidding method, so you compete directly with others that may be selling similar products or services so you need to watch out as it can get pricey here. These are the main places to show on paid search:
Adwords allows you to show on Google.com and many other smaller search engines. Google has near 70% market share on search traffic, so this is almost always the first place to start.
BingAds gives you the ability to show on bing.com (including windows 10 'search window') and other small search engines like AOL. BingAds demo skus slightly older and wealthier than Google searchers, so there is opportunity here if that fits your businesses demo.
Yahoo (Gemini) is where you'd advertise to show mainly on Yahoo.com. The advertising platform is still new, and unless you feel saturated on AdWords and BingAds, I'd avoid this platform.
Why Choose to Advertise Here First?
For most businesses, this is a smart place to start. Especially if your customer typically searches for your product or services when they need them. If you have an abstract or new product/service that people won't know to search for, one of the other categories may be more appropriate to start.
This is where people are talking. They are spending time checking in with friends and absorbing content; liking, sharing, re-tweeting what they like. Wouldn't it be nice to have them talking about your business? Advertising here can expose you to where users are spending an increasing amount of their time. Most platforms give you the capability to target your ads to the specific types of people you feel your product/service identifies with. Selling baby toys? Facebook lets you get as specific as targeting 'Parents with children 0-12 months'. Now that's targeting! These are the big social platforms from an advertising perspective:
Facebook is quickly becoming the AdWords of paid search. Almost everyone is on Facebook in the US and many spend a lot of time there. The targeting and data insights available in this platform are almost endless. This is a great place to advertise if you have a product worth talking about. Post an add and you have the chance of it going viral if people think it's worth sharing.
Instagram advertising is actually done through Facebook. If you have an active Instagram account for your business, this would be a good tactic to grow that audience.
LinkedIn is for the B2B businesses. You can promote your LinkedIn content or directly message users. Your targeting capabilities include company name, industry, job title and more. If you need to reach a certain type of person in a business, this platform is for you.
Snapchat is where the young people hang out. If you have a trendy product or service that sells well to those under 25, pull out your creative video making hat find success here. Swiping up on your ad will drive them to your website.
Twitter is for those that want to advertise more to a message than people. You can promote your ad to people talking about certain things or using trending hashtags. The ad platform is not as well developed as the others, but there may be some small nuggets to gain here.
Pinterest lets you advertise your pins. If you have a product like women's clothing that has a big following on Pinterest, it might be worth your time to check out advertising here.
Reddit may be the most cultish large social platform out there. It's a giant thread/forum database where people discuss topics. Though the stereotypical Reddit user is ruthlessly sarcastic, they are also very loyal, and if you know the Reddit world personally and feel like treading here, the risk/reward is very high. You can advertise on specific subreddits, locations and interests.
Why Choose to Advertise Here First?
Choosing to advertise first on social media is increasingly more popular, especially with Facebook. If you have a product that is fun to talk about or has a great story, you can enjoy plenty of free organic action on your ads here. It's also a great place to target people that might enjoy your product, but don't know to search for it.
Video is arguably more of a tactic than an advertising platform, but I figured it's be worth mentioning. If you want to do TV like advertising, but online, below are your first stops:
YouTube advertising is done through AdWords. The second largest search engine is in fact YouTube so there are lots of eyeballs here to see your ad. You can target user types, YouTube Searches, or video categories for your ads.
Facebook is an aggressively growing video platform. Enjoy all the benefits of advertising on Facebook, but your ad contains your video. You can even let Facebook give you auto subtitles (that you can edit) so people can understand your message even when in mute mode.
Digital TV Platforms (Hulu) is going to be the closest thing to advertising on TV. You don't have too many targeting options and are limited to mostly shows, high level demo's and location. This is a good place mainly for driving brand awareness.
Why Choose to Advertise Here First? If your main objective is brand awareness, this may be a good place to start as video ads give you the best platform to convey your brands message. You may also want to start here if you feel you have a dynamite viral commercial in the making (Dollar Shave Club anyone?).
Though paid search is usually the best place to start for most businesses, your unique offering may lead you in another direction. Wherever you choose to start, make sure you understand what your goals are and where your potential customers may best find you.
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