So, you’ve made the decision to go online! Your website is live and your team is ready to start handling the wave of new orders and leads that are about to roll in. All you need to do is “make some ads” and wait. Well, maybe…
While online advertising can, indeed, be a rich source of valuable traffic and orders, without understanding the specifics of each channel and when to use them, you’re putting yourself at risk of burning a lot of money or, at least, spending it inefficiently.
In this article, we’ll explain the main differences between various marketing channels and the best uses for each one.
Is the customer actively searching for your product?
The internet is a big place, and there are many different ways to reach your potential customers. For one, you could show them your ad on Facebook or they can find you on Google. Alternatively, you might pin images of your product on Pinterest, show your new video ad on YouTube or take out a banner ad on your favorite news website. All of these approaches will bring you completely different results, CR (Conversion Rates) and carry a different CPA (Cost Per Action).
The main reason behind this variability is User Intention.
Long story short, someone who is actively searching for a specific product or service on Google has much stronger intent to buy that product than a person randomly scrolling through his or her Instagram feed. Your CPC (Cost per Click) with Google Ads will most likely be higher than with Instagram, but so will the Conversion Rate.
Does this mean that Google Ads or SEO are the best channels and you should only invest your marketing budget there? Of course not, but a good understanding of the specifics of each channel will yield much faster growth and allow for more efficient spending.
Some online marketing channels benefit from the intention of buying or researching a product more than others. When a user is proactively searching for information about specific products or for inspiration, showing her or him an ad about your product or service can bring a much higher chance of conversion (order/lead/signup).
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
It’s one of the most popular online marketing activities out there. Being at the top of Google’s results for relevant phrases is the holy grail for almost every page owner. Improving one’s organic position is a long-term project that consists of both off-page activities (e.g. link-building) and on-page activities (e.g. content optimization, technical excellence, page speed improvements, etc.). Organic visibility in search engines is free, which means that as an advertiser you will not pay for each click; however, there can be some indirect activities related to content creation, website optimization and link-building that you have to invest in if you want to get better visibility in organic listing.
Google is by far the most popular search engine, but there are also other players on the market ー Bing, DuckDuckGo or Ecosia, to name a few. For many businesses, paid listing is the most efficient way of getting new customers. Knowing the exact connection between search phrases, costs and conversions is one of the main reasons why search ads are so popular. In contrast to SEO, search advertising is a typical performance channel ー you get results almost instantly and will see traffic on your page as soon as you start paying for clicks.
Advertising on Pinterest is not yet as popular as its traditional search engine equivalent, but it’s also an intent-based marketing channel ー a visual search engine! Users looking at specific products on Pinterest have the intention of finding things that interest and inspire them. For users, it’s a great tool for inspiration, but from a marketer’s perspective, it’s also a huge opportunity to reach out to potential customers as they do their research ー even before they start searching for your product on Google.
The name “Interest-based” is somewhat misleading, because “interests” are not the only targeting criteria you can choose; however, let’s call it this for simplicity’s sake. Using these channels, we can reach out to people not only based on their interests, but also their behaviours, occupation, demographics and the many other targeting options that are available in the vast array of advertising ecosystems that are out there. Still, the main difference between these and Intent-Based channels is the fact that they target users who are more likely to perform a desired action, even if they are not proactively looking for your product or service. These channels usually combine text and banners and present ads in a pleasing, visual manner.
There are many different ways of using these channels to promote your business. For example, if:
- your products or services are new to the market and you need to educate your audience about them (people won’t search for something if they don’t know about it!);
- you have a great product that can attract customers and you have nice visuals to showcase it;
- you have very strong competition in search;
- it’s hard to describe or distinguish your product with a single keyword or phrase, making it better to “tell a story” about it; or
- when you want to support the sales process.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular “interest-based” channels.
Don’t be fooled by the name; what we’re referring to here is an entire advertising ecosystem that includes all Facebook-owned products ー Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. This channel allows you to target people in many ways, including based on their interests, behaviours, demographics, etc. With Facebook Pixel, Facebook SDK and Offline Events, you can measure campaign performance on your website, mobile app and offline store. You can even create custom audiences, for example, by creating groups of people similar to those who have already purchased something through your ecommerce store. This approach can be extremely efficient and is often a first choice for advertisers around the world.
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. If you are offering B2B products or B2C services for specific groups of people (for instance, working in specific positions or at specific companies), this is a channel for you. Although the CPC can be often higher than other platforms such as Facebook, with well-executed campaign management you can generate truly great results. Moreover, the traffic from this channel can often be of a better quality. On LinkedIn, similar to Facebook, you can choose from different campaign objectives and target users based on their location, interests or demographics. On top of that, you have extensive power to target by occupation which allows you to zero in on people working in specific companies or industries, companies from different categories (e.g. Fortune 500) or even companies growing by a certain percentage per year.
Another huge advertising ecosystem that will help you to connect your brand with almost 330 million users around the world is Twitter. The targeting options available are quite similar to the other two ecosystems described above. One particularly interesting option, though, is the ability to target lookalike audiences for any user on Twitter. This is a very powerful tool that can help you to reach out to an audience that has a high chance of being interested in your products or services.
As you can see, there are many, many different marketing channels that can help you to connect with your target audience, all in slightly different ways. Alone, each one has the potential to bring you a lot of valuable traffic, but the real power of online marketing is contained in a holistic approach that combines all channels, user-intentions, demographics, interests and behaviours into one integrated strategy. With the extensive tracking possibilities of various digital channels, we can create custom audiences (e.g. people who converted) and lookalike audiences (e.g. people similar to your customers) or set up retargeting campaigns, for example, to recover abandoned carts or encourage users who bought your product to sign up to your newsletter and potentially increase their customer lifetime-value (CLTV). We can also connect all your channels and reach out to your customers with a seamless and coherent message across the internet. In our opinion, that’s the real beauty of digital advertising!
Want to learn how digital marketing can improve your business? Get in touch and let’s see how we can help your business grow.