Digital advertising has become a major component of modern day marketing strategies—and if it’s not part of your business strategy, it should be. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, by implementing digital advertisements correctly, you’ll be able to successfully grow your online presence, and ultimately foster more conversions and sales. Now more than ever, digital advertisements allow your company to have more visibility throughout a much wider audience. However, if your ads aren't well thought out, you most likely won’t get the outcome you’re hoping for. Whether it be the design, channel, or messaging elements, every aspect of the advertisement needs to be taken into consideration for it to work in your favor.
To determine the very best ways to create and implement digital ads, we've turned to experts across the digital advertising industry, and have consulted with our own thought-leaders from Blue Fountain Media, to create a collection of tips that will help any company get the most out of their campaigns. From the best channels, to the best converting content—we’ve got it covered. Take a look at these 10 tactics, and see if integrating them into your own marketing strategy can help your company get the digital advertising results you’re looking for:
1. Creative Elements
Your business has visual elements that make it stand out from your competition. Use that to your advantage in your marketing efforts. Whether it is a logo, mascot, font, or color scheme, having it included can help make your brand recognizable. You want to catch the eye of the audience, but you also want to maintain their attention and have them remember your brand. Incorporating unique and creative visual elements into your ads is crucial to the success the ads will bring you. Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager at Shutterstock points out that you want a variety of creative images, but they should be consistent:
"When advertising on social media, it's important to refresh your creative often so that it is relevant and so that users aren't seeing the same post more than once. When testing variations and trying out new campaigns, look for images that have a consistent aesthetic so that your overall social campaign will feel familiar, but not repetitive, to users who may come across more than one ad. Overall, you want to make sure your social ads tell a cohesive story, and that the image aligns with the copy, which aligns with the CTA or link content, which of course should align with your branding."
-Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager, Shutterstock
2. Spend Wisely
Each platform used to market online provides you with a different value. You need to analyze which outlets you should invest more time and money into, and which ones are not as imperative. Some platforms that work really well for one company, yield little to no results for another. It is all very specific to your brand, and you need to plan your budget accordingly. Determining what each platform is going to do for your specific advertising efforts should be the basis for the decisions you make with your campaigns, explains Hitesh Sahni, Marketing Consultant at Smemark:
“It’s imperative to understand the value each channel offers. Search advertising platforms, such as Google Adwords, work best when there is a clear demand for your product or service, and you want to target people who search for your product or service online. Search advertising is less effective for a startup that has created a new and innovative product never before seen in the market. Or for something that most people buy at brick and mortar stores and rarely search online. In these cases, you want to create demand from scratch. That’s where Facebook fills the gap. Facebook users fill out their profile with demographic details and other interests. This means you can target people who are likely to be interested in your business, whether they are searching for your business or not.”
-Hitesh Sahni, Marketing Consultant, Smemark
3. Do Your Research
You may have ideas for what is going to work best for your audience based on past experience with your ads, but taking the time to conduct thorough research and have data to support your actions is important. You may anticipate that your customers will behave a certain way, when in fact they go in a completely different direction. It’s essential to be prepared for this ahead of time and use the information you collect from research to plan your marketing strategy. Elliot Simmonds explains this concept below:
“ A lot of people use sponsored posts and other paid advertising, and it seems that many are happy to simply pay the money and watch the views and clicks roll in - even if some of those clicks are from individuals tangential to the product or service they're promoting. Most platforms allow you to specifically target your sponsored posts and ads, and my tip is to do so following a period (even if it's only a short period) of actual research. Your gut instinct might tell you a lot about who your clients are, but you should also take the time to find out for yourself - which profiles of consumer spend the most? Who are the ones who return time and again? Where are more of your clients based?”
-Elliot Simmonds, Lead Consultant, Rippleout Marketing
4. The Buyer Process
Understand the buyer journey and what you need to present them with at each stage of the process to more effectively reach users. There are so many detailed options when it comes to viewing buyer analytics. You can see each step a visitor takes throughout your website, how much time they spent on each page, and even what pages caused them to possibly leave. Use this information to cater your digital marketing to those audience members so that you can make the process simple for them, and beneficial for you. James Kirby, PPC Specialist at Blue Fountain Media, highlights the importance of this:
“Start targeting users who are near the bottom of the funnel. For instance, in-market audience targeting allows Google to observe user history to better understand where they are in their buying phase. This will then allow retailers to target potential customers who are further down the funnel and are close to making a purchase. Currently there are 492 different market audiences to reach. Targeting methods like this are often overlooked by marketers and retailers so it’s important to take advantage.”
-James Kirby, PPC Specialist, Blue Fountain Media
5. Know Your Target Audience
Fully grasping who your audience is, and how to best market to them is critical. You need to know who you want your buyers to be before you try to market to them. This is an important step in any marketing strategy whether it be on or offline, and it is a clearly defined aspect of your brand that you can keep referring back to. Sean Gallahar, Social Media Director at i7 Marketing explains the importance of clearly defining your target audience when you’re beginning your digital advertising campaigns:
“When it comes to digital advertising it is important to remember that for any business to be effective, they need to know who their audience is, which social media sites their audience spend time, and then they have to make sure to be able to provide content for the platforms their audience spends time on. When it comes to marketing through social media, Facebook is definitely leading the race because they have the best options to define who you want to market to and you can set whatever budget you are comfortable with. Facebook also allows you to target your audience based on up to 10 interests of your audience. This is why it's important to have a defined target audience, you have to know what they like to do and what they want so you know how to create content that will capture their attention.”
Sean Gallahar, Social Media Director, i7 Marketing
6. Connect Social Media Metrics With ROI
To see which efforts are working best, you need to be able to tie your data back to the direct result it produces. When you are marketing online, you are reaching a diverse group of people, and that needs to be taken into consideration when measuring your results. You need to look at what is promoting engagement with your company, versus what is actually driving conversions. To develop a reliable social media attribution strategy, Harpreet Singh, CEO and co-founder of Kvantum, says that a brand needs to consider these key factors:
“1. Your social audience is not a single undifferentiated blob of people trying to friend others or find deals. They can be divided and defined into distinct behavioral groups with distinct missions, when interacting with your brand.
2. The social channels represent a living, breathing group of people voicing opinions and responding to world events. They are in constant flux. Developing a capability to monitor this in real time and responding to it with agility is critical to being relevant to the social conversation.
3. Just because there are more likes or more shares does not mean that the consumer is going to walk into a store and buy. While there is some correlation, there are many other factors in play like paid or organic social, cross-channel effects, size of target audience, social interaction themes, competitive social media, etc. A brand needs to connect the social media metrics with hard metrics like sales, ROI, registrations and leads.”
-Harpreet Singh, CEO and co-founder, Kvantum
7. Leverage Facebook
According to a study from eMarkter, 80% of small and medium-sized businesses haven’t used ads for Facebook. Jayme Pretzloff, Director of Marketing for Wixon Jewelers, says that Facebook is a great advertising space for small businesses, and stresses the importance of exploring this channel:
“Facebook has allowed you to take word of mouth to a whole new level. Now, more than ever, recommendations from friends have a huge impact and can sway even the most cautious consumer. To do this, you have to get in front of your clients-past, present and future. We know that Facebook followings don't happen overnight for businesses so how could we possibly assemble a tribe in a short period of time in an effort to jump start your social media presence? Facebook has a great advertising model in place that enables small businesses to advertise to very specific target markets very easily and without breaking the bank. Even with a modest investment, you can reach your clients and get them on board. Facebook can be a powerful advertising tool if used correctly. Make sure to try out some ads, test them out and figure out what is going to work for your organization.”
-Jayme Pretzloff, Director of Marketing, Wixon Jewelers
8. Integrate All Marketing Channels
To reach your audience effectively, you need to have consistent messaging. This means making sure that your ads are integrated across various platforms and giving users the same message, regardless of the platform. We know each social media outlet has a different vibe and feel to it, so you need to take the time to get your digital efforts to match each site, while still maintaining a unique yet consistent voice for your brand. Adam O’Leary, President of Encite Marketing, details this idea:
“The best digital advertising tip we can share with business owners is to ensure that your campaign is integrated with your other marketing channels. An integrated marketing campaign will garner much better results than any single initiative. For example, Facebook Ads work really well on their own when promoting a sale or publicizing a new product, but it works much better when supporting another marketing channel such as email.”
-Adam O’Leary, President, Encite Marketing
The relatively new venture in digital advertising holds a lot of promise for marketers—especially those in the B2C space. It allows you to target customers in a whole new way based on their physical location, in the hopes of naturally guiding them to your business. Andrea Mocherman, VP of Marketing at Gravit8 Marketing explains how geo-fencing can be effective for a variety of businesses when it comes to driving sales:
“What is increasingly becoming more and more effective tool for marketers is utilizing geo-fencing in combination with digital advertising to engage consumers at the right time, with the right message to drive in-store traffic. These types of campaigns typically generate three times the amount of foot traffic and produce a 27 percent increase in sales on average. What makes geo-fencing so powerful for marketers is the ability to target consumers based on their interests and engage them by delivering offers that will push them down the path to purchase. Geo-fencing allows marketers to draw a virtual fence around any address or point of interest and send a notification when a customer crosses that line. Whether it's a small business owner or a large retailer, they can use this technology to grab a customer's attention before their competition does to deliver timely offers that will drive in-store traffic and ultimately revenue.”
-Andrea Mocherman, VP of Marketing, Gravit8 Marketing
10. Optimize Product Listing Ads
Product listing ads should have all the elements that users want to see when they do a search. You don’t want potential customers to have to go and do more research at the risk of losing interest, so answer any questions they may have up front. Any information that could be beneficial to the purchase process, include it! Enhancing these ads will ensure that they stand out explains Monica Cabaniss, PPC Associate at Blue Fountain Media:
“Take the time to build a product feed that gives a detailed description of your products so that they can be presented well in PLA's on Google, Bing and now Facebook. Pairing a product picture with the product description on a search results page will add visual appeal to the normal text ads.”
-Monica Cabaniss, PPC Associate, Blue Fountain Media
Ultimately, digital advertising can be the key to success for any company looking to market effectively to the appropriate audience. If you’re looking to enhance your tactics, and widen the scope of your current practices, try integrating these techniques into your digital marketing strategy.
While employing these tips should help improve your overall ROI in the present and near future, remember to continuously be eager to learn about the changes and fluctuations in digital advertising, regardless of the platform or channel that you are on. Being proactive about it and keeping on top of trends and updated will set yourself apart from your competition.