What is Paid Advertising?
Paid advertising is an online advertising model where advertisers bid to participate in real-time auctions in order to show their ads within slots on a specific platform or network. For example, in this search on patio furniture, you can see both shopping ads and text ads.
It is also sometimes called biddable media or PPC advertising. PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click advertising as you usually pay every time someone clicks on your ads.
This model is usually opposed to earned or owned advertising where you can use a platform to push your content for free i.e. Facebook or LinkedIn posts.
How PPC Advertising Works
Most platforms offering paid advertising services use algorithms to run real-time auctions. The algorithms decide which ad to place within an available slot online. The criteria are often a mix between the bid amount and the quality of the ads but can vary depending on the platform used. Platforms don’t always make the criteria transparent however, and there are a variety of other variables to consider.
Ads come in many shapes and formats such as text, images, videos and more. Many platforms now offer to automatically favor ads that are performing well based on your goals. Their algorithms pick up on a huge number of signals than humans can process, making it more efficient to let them decide which ads to push.
There are many targeting options to choose from but most of them fit into two main categories:
Search ads – triggered by someone actively searching for specific keywords; the ads usually show on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and answer a specific question.
Display ads – triggered by someone fitting specific targeting criteria such as demographics or interests; the ads usually show when someone is browsing the web or an app and can be regarded as disruptive.
These two categories can sometimes be mixed and matched depending on the platform you’re using. However, we recommend analyzing their performance separately if you can. This is because search ads tend to perf
The Business Benefits of Paid Advertising
Biddable Media, Fast-track to Increased Traffic
Paid advertising is a great way to increase traffic – and in turn conversions – quickly. In comparison, investment in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics takes longer and you’ll usually see results months after you’ve made changes to your site.
This doesn’t mean that PPC advertising is easier to set up and run than SEO or that you should only focus on PPC. Paid advertising is a great short-term tactic whereas SEO should be seen as a long-term investment for a business with exponential growth. Therefore, you should keep budget for both channels if you can. It’s like investing in the stock market, you need to vary your options to get the return you’re after.
Here are a couple of scenarios where PPC can be useful:
Online starters – Paid Advertising can be a great ally to a business that is starting online and isn’t ranking very well organically for relevant terms. You can set up a campaign targeting the terms you want to show for and start seeing results pretty fast. In the meantime, you should invest on SEO for these same terms to build their organic strength. Then, you can shift your PPC budget towards other terms where you might be lacking organic presence.
Competitive search results – Paid media can also complement your SEO strategy for terms where the search engine results are very competitive which is bringing organic results down the page. This usually happens for highly commercial terms which can be key to your business. Showing ads for these terms means you’re multiplying your chances of getting clicks as you’re appearing twice in the search results.
Expanding your reach – Biddable media is a great way to expand your reach towards people who don’t know you. With so many targeting options, you can reach new audiences that might not have heard about you otherwise and pique their interest.
Retarget existing visitors – Retargeting means showing ads to visitors who have previously interacted with your ads or website, days or even months after they searched. Many online advertising platforms allow you to retarget people based on different criteria. This is great to move people down the buying funnel by showing them ads that correspond to what they need. You can retarget people who visited your site, people in your CRM, people who engaged with an ad without clicking on it, etc.
(Almost) Everything is Measurable With Online Advertising
The appeal of PPC advertising is that you can pretty much measure everything online. When you compare it to traditional advertising like TV or billboards, it is very difficult to actually attribute Return On Investment (ROI) to these channels as you cannot track people who saw your ads, or those who subsequently bought what you were advertising as a result of your ad.
There are many tools that allow you to track what people do on your website which can integrate with the tracking from your advertising platform. Once you have your foundations properly in place then, you can easily see if someone purchased on your site after they clicked on an ad and, from there, calculate the ROI of your paid activity.
Advertising platforms also give you access to a goldmine of information about your audience(s). Most platforms like Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn will give you demographic information as a minimum for people who saw your ads. You can also get information about people’s interests, their jobs and other personal data – all anonymized of course! This data can help you understand your audience(s) better and so maximize your budget by more specifically targeting people who are more likely to be interested in your products or services.
Reach Your Audience Where They Are Online
People spend a lot of their time online and traditional media such as TV or print magazines aren’t as popular as they used to be. Plus, you can give your audience much more personalised ads online than when reaching out via a national TV ad. You end up being more useful to them and can target people more likely to be interested in you, which usually means a better ROI for your business.
Advertising platforms know this and can help you reach the right people at the right time where they like to hang out online. You’ll need to do some research and a bit of trial and error before finding the perfect platform(s) to advertise on. Remember, things change so something that didn’t work a year ago shouldn’t always be discarded as it might be relevant now. In the same way, once you find the mix that works for your business, don’t forget to keep testing, it might not always be the most effective solution.
Paid Advertising Channels
There are many online advertising channels out there but here is an o overview of the main ones.
Google Ads,previously called AdWords,is the best known and longest-standing advertising platform on the internet. Its sophisticated platform allows you to advertise on the Google search engine, YouTube as well as millions of websites and apps that are part of its network. Using machine learning and the data it collects on users, Google matches keywords and people with your ads and they’re quite good at it!
The platform mainly uses a Pay-Per-Click model based on how much you’re willing to bid and your quality score – how good your ads and landing pages are.
Microsoft Advertising, previously called Bing Ads, works in a very similar way to Google Ads. In fact, you can even import your ads from Google into Microsoft Advertising. Your ads can appear on Bing, Yahoo, and MSN search results as well as other partner sites or platforms such as Cortana or Amazon devices.
The platform also uses a Pay-Per-Click model which combines your bid amount and quality score. The bids tend to be a bit cheaper than Google as it’s usually less used by advertisers. However, you should expect less volume than Google since Bing has a smaller market share but this can vary depending on the country and industry you’re targeting.
LinkedIn Ads offers advertising across its platform and is very much focused on professionals. You can target users based on their job title, the industry or company they work for or their interests, combined with geographic and demographic data. The platform mainly uses a Pay-Per-Click model.
Facebook Ads provides advertising capabilities on its platforms including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. You can target users based on a lot of criteria such as their interests, the pages they like and even characteristics about their friends. Like other platforms, they mainly use a Pay-Per-Click model based on real-time auctions.
Twitter Ads provides advertising capabilities within its platform. You can target people based on keywords, the conversations they take part in, their interests and whether they’ve engaged with your tweets in the past. They’re also based on an auction model with Pay-Per-Click charges.
eBay Advertising has a program where you can bid to show on banner slots across the site based on keywords people are searching for or categories they’re visiting. They also use a Pay-Per-Click & auction model.
How to Develop Your Paid Advertising Strategy
There’s a lot that goes into PPC advertising and you shouldn’t start your campaigns without having a strategy in place, else you could end up wasting a lot of money!
Identify Your Goals
As with everything in marketing, you need to have goals in mind before you start anything else. Who are you trying to reach? What exactly are you trying to achieve and what do you want this audience to do? What is the end result?
Different goals and audiences will need different campaigns and ad types as well as different platforms. The platforms we mentioned are usually quite helpful with this as they’ll tie in specific campaigns with goals. This means that you usually start your campaign with a goal and choose the relevant options they offer you.
Goals can be categorized based on your buyer’s journey as people will need different things depending on which stage they’re at.
The way your audience navigates through the digital landscape across screens, platforms, and mediums is constantly evolving. Your media plan needs to model that behavior, shifting with the audience on a daily, weekly, and quarterly basis.
Boost 10X plans, tests, and pivots media strategies to adapt to your business needs and, most importantly, your customers.
As your customers navigate multiple social media platforms a day, your company must stand out with quality content to make an impact. In order to break through the thousands of pieces of content a viewer is consuming daily, quality content & creativity are essential to driving true business outcomes through Paid Social Advertising.
Based on your business objectives and access to 1st party data and customer insights, we will provide ongoing paid social campaigns, targeting, messaging, creative, and copy recommendations across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube.