Digital Ads 101: Getting Started on Online Advertising

You probably know that business success is all about gaining clients. And gaining clients starts with getting your name out there where potential customers can see it. But in today’s digital age, that has become a little more complex than a printed sign, an ad in the newspaper, or even a TV commercial. Today, digital ads are the best way to grow your business—no matter what industry you work in.

What Are Digital Ads—And How Do We Use Them?

metrics from digital advertising

Digital advertising is pretty simple in concept. You deliver promotional content (i.e., ads) to users on the internet. The trick lies in figuring out how, and where, to do it most effectively.

In contrast to more traditional advertising, which reaches out to a wide, general audience, digital advertising can be tailored to reach specific audiences on specific platforms or sites—which can quickly become complex if you’re not sure who you’re targeting or the best way to reach your ideal audience.

So here’s what you need to know before you get started.

Types of Digital Ads & When to Use Them

a google ad for Google Ads
Photo courtesy Google.com

Digital ads come in a variety of formats, and each works a little differently to reach its intended audience.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The most common form of Search Engine Marketing is Google Ads, since Google is the most widely used search engine in the world. You’ve probably even seen these ads before; they’re usually the top one or two results on your search results page—labeled as “Ad”. With SEM, you designate specific keywords that allow you to appear at the top of the search for that keyword.

Google Ads are great for driving traffic to specific landing pages on your site. They generally help to promote your business, service, or product, and they can even get people to visit you in person or give you a call.

Display Ads

You’ve definitely seen display ads before—they appear on other sites, sometimes for products related to the site you’re visiting, and other times based on your recent searches. Typically, they use text and images in either a banner or pop-up format, though they can also be videos.

These ads are good for retargeting, or redirecting people from other sites. They typically have a lower cost than Google Ads, but often have a lower conversion rate, too. However, they’re especially good for promoting local events to a target market area.

Social Media Ads

These days, whether we like to admit it or not, we spend a lot of time on social media. For business owners, social media offers a huge opportunity to get word out and locate potential clients—via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, and more. But when regular posts on social media aren’t enough to grab the business you need, that’s when social media ads come into play.

Social media ads interrupt the user’s social engagement. This audience is not actively searching for your product or service, but social media platforms are very good at targeting viewers who might be interested in your business. Social media ads can also be a good reminder for people who’ve already visited your website or heard about your business.

Social media ads are especially effective for increasing your existing account’s followers, viewers, and overall engagement. Based on your current followers, these ads can help you find “lookalike” audiences similar to the one you already have.

Best Practices for Digital Ads

a facebook ad

Before you launch an ad campaign, you should take some time to plan not just where or how you’ll advertise, but also what your ad will contain. Keep in mind that each type of advertising will have a different audience, and understanding that audience can help determine how your ad should look or what it should say.

Here are a few quick tips for getting an ad set up.

Create a strong call to action

Your call to action is one of the most important aspects of your ad. You’ve got to tell the viewer what you want them to do—directly and specifically. Call? Click? Visit? Download? Let them know.

Be straightforward and simple

Keep it short and sweet. Lengthy or confusing ads will lose your viewer. Be concise and to the point.

Make sure your brand is evident

A good way to keep it short and sweet, while still ensuring your viewer knows who or what you are, is to make your brand prominent. Your brand is your “identity”, what sets you apart from the competition, so make sure it’s front and center.

Consider your medium

A TikTok ad isn’t going to look the same as a Google Search Ad. Your audience will be different. Your formatting will be different. The medium is different, so you’ve got to compensate accordingly.

Confused by All the Ad Information Out There?

We hear you loud and clear! Digital advertising isn’t something you learn overnight! It takes years of research, practice, and perfecting. If you don’t have the time for all that (hey, you’re running a business—you probably don’t), then we can help! Contact Corridor Consulting to find out more about what we can do for you and your business. We’d love to chat!

Published by Corrine Lombardo

Artist. Designer. Marketer. Advertiser. Manager