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Digital Advertising - The Basics

So let's be absolutely brutal about this - if you’re not advertising online, you’re going to miss out. Not only does the internet offer you direct access to more than half the UK population, It also provides so many different channels on which to advertise - channels that are specific to who you want to sell to.

Currently, there are over 4 billion people using the internet. This number is up 300% from 2005. Point being, internet usage is going through the roof - and it’s not stopping.

Businesses now have the freedom to reach their target audiences in different ways, for different budgets. There are also a number of tools that can help you execute your advertising strategy.

But what if you have no idea where to start? Yes, you use Facebook and you see those weird stalkery ads that follow you RIGHT AFTER looking for a holiday but... how do they even get there? And who puts them there?

Here are the most common ways to advertise online:

Paid Search Advertising

Whether Google, Yahoo, or Bing, all search engines have their own paid advertising. This is referred to as pay-per-click, or PPC, and involves bidding on keywords and placing ads at the top or sides of search results. Here's what they look like:

When someone performs a query using one of those search engines, advertisers have the ability to display ads above organic search results. That’s what makes PPC so powerful — it gives your advertisements prime position in front of people already searching for your products and services.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms know how valuable their content is, and that’s why they offer the option to sponsor or boost posts. Social media ads put your message in front of your target audience and encourages them to engage, click-through, and buy. More and more, social media sites are prioritising ad space over organic content because, generally, it brings in more revenue. Whether you’re a fledgling or established business, consider running some social media advertisements. These will not only advertise your products and services but also promote your social media pages and grow your following. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter each have their own version of ads.

Native Ads and Sponsored Content

Sponsored content has been around since 1922, when brands would sponsor entire radio shows. Today, sponsored content refers more to native ads and blog or article content. Have you ever read a Buzzfeed article that heavily referenced a certain product or service? It's highly likely to have been sponsored by a company to promote their products and services. Sponsored content is a great way to promote your content to an audience that is already familiar with a particular platform - thereby likely increasing trust in your offering.

Banner and Display Ads

Banner and display ads are an extension of search ads and follow a similar PPC model. But instead of a text-based ad, consumers see a more visual advertisement. Banner ads are typically the horizontal boxes on top of a web page:

whereas display ads are smaller in nature and shown on the side >

Whether you opt for traditional print ads in magazines, specialist press or choose online promotion on social media or search engines, there are a few rules that make for great advertising.

Now, there are many exciting digital options available and, what is extremely satisfying is that you can track results. Gone (mostly) are the days of mailshots sent out (then thrown in the bin, possibly?) and newspaper ads that that are so difficult to track.

Granted, print advertising has it's place, but for the first time ever in history, we are able to reach our (very specific) target audience chillaxing at home and what's more - we'll know for certain if it's working or not.

Imagine the possibilities...?

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