More than 4 billion people use the internet. If you want to build your business brand, reach prospective customers, and make more sales, you can no longer ignore digital advertising. But beware: There are ineffective strategies that can eat your ad dollars in record time, leaving you with little to show for your advertising efforts. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Advantage : Your Customers Are on the Internet
Do you know anyone who doesn’t use the internet? The fact that it is so ubiquitous is probably the most compelling reason to get on board. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn give you ample opportunities to put your products or services in front of potential customers. The Google Display Network is a true advertising behemoth with more than 2 million publisher sites on which you can advertise.
Advantage: You Can Target Effectively
Imagine you could take a snapshot of your best customer and duplicate him a hundred times. With look-alike audiences on social media platforms, you almost can. Facebook and similar networking channels have troves of demographics they share with advertisers, so you can hone in on users who are most likely to purchase your products. Target prospective customers or clients by job title on LinkedIn, connections on Facebook, or interests and behaviors on Instagram. Unlike the wide net approach of traditional television and radio advertising, internet advertising lets you find the right prospects at the right time and show them an ad they may care about.
Advantage: You Can Closely Monitor Spending
You can spend thousands of dollars on a 30-second television ad that might reach someone who might be interested in what you have to sell someday. You can also spend thousands of dollars on internet ads, and only pay when people who are interested in your products click on your ad. With digital ads, you can set a spending cap and limit the number of times a prospective customer sees an ad in a given period.
Advantage: You Can Track Your Results
Digital advertising allows you to monitor and track the results of all your campaigns. You can find out when a lead converted into a sale, note the platform where it happened, and determine what kinds of ads are working best for your particular demographic. The internet with all its minute tracking abilities allows you to measure the return on investment of your marketing dollars.
Disadvantage: It’s Complicated
There are lots of choices when it comes to advertising on the internet. You can choose search advertising, so your ads show up when a target audience is looking for just what you offer or display ads that appear where your most likely prospects roam on the internet. There are even native ads that show up on publisher sites and blend in so well that they appear not to be ads at all. Then there are remarketing ads that target someone who’s visited your website with a customized message that appears in front of them somewhere else on the internet. Add to those choices the way you pay. With pay-per-click ads, you pay when someone clicks, but how much are you willing to pay? For those search ads, you’ll need to identify key search terms and decide how much to bid on each word. There are lots of levers to pull.
Disadvantage: Mistakes Can Be Costly
Because digital advertising is complicated, it’s not uncommon for businesses to make mistakes. Choose the wrong keywords, neglect a bidding cap, target ineffectively, or leave a campaign running when you thought it was off, and you can spend a fortune without turning a single lead into a sale. For example, if you run a campaign on Facebook but your customers are more likely to be LinkedIn users, you’re unlikely to convert a lead. If you don’t cap your bids, you could blow through the money you thought would last months in a matter of days.
Disadvantage: Competition Is Fierce
It depends on your products and market, but internet advertising competition can make ads prohibitively expensive. Those keyword bids? If you can only afford 10 cents a word, but your competitor can pay $10, you don’t stand much of a chance. For some businesses, it makes sense to build a good website and then rely on traditional advertising methods that have always worked in the past.
Disadvantage: Ad Fatigue Is Common
Have you ever been on a site and seen an ad for a product on which you recently ran a search? That’s internet advertising at its most typical, but have you also noticed that after a while, those ads don’t even register on your radar? It’s like they’re invisible. It’s a common and pervasive problem with running ads on the internet. If the campaigns aren’t run correctly, your brand and its products suffer from ad fatigue.
You have lots of marketing choices, and the internet should probably be one of them. Do your research to ensure that you reap all the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.