There are three key ways that digital advertising can help you improve the performance of your organic marketing efforts.
With digital ads, organic performance can benefit from:
- An increase in brand awareness by displaying your content to individuals within and outside of your networks.
- A better understanding of your audiences by leveraging the targeting and analytics of the ads platforms.
- The creation of higher-performing content by understanding what ad
content helps you achieve your business goals and what doesn't.
The goal of any ads strategy should be to get a positive return on
your investment, which comes down to whether you're getting more revenue
out of the ad campaign than the cost you're putting in.
How can you determine what your ad spend should be to get the most
return on your investment? To start answering that question, we'll need
to understand the bidding system used by the ad networks.
A bid is the maximum amount of money you're willing to pay for the
desired action on your ad. If it sounds like an auction, that's because
it is an auction. Ad networks have a limited amount of ad space, and to
determine whether or not your ads are shown to your target audience,
they run an auction to see how much each advertiser is willing to pay
for ad space.
Just like in an auction, the highest bidder wins. Let's say you bid
$10 for a click on your ad, and the next highest bidder only pays $5 for
Each ad network will only make you pay the lowest amount possible to
win the bid. In this example, you might be willing to pay $10, but in
reality, you'll only have to pay $5.01 to win the bid. Winning this
"auction," in addition to the overall quality of your ads, will
determine how your ads are displayed on the different ad networks.
Use this equation:
Lifetime Value (LTV) x Average Lead-to-Customer Rate x Average Conversion Rate
Your LTV is how much a customer is worth to you throughout their
relationship with your business. The average lead-to-customer rate is
the rate at which your leads become paying customers. And your
conversion rate is the rate at which new contacts convert on your
content offers by filling out a form.
Combined, these metrics show you how much you should spend on your paid ads to break even.
Let's say that you want to use digital ads to promote your new
content offer. You're going to need to know what your maximum ad spend
should be to see a positive return on your investment. Assume that you
know the following about your business:
- Lifetime value: $500
- Average lead-to-customer rate: 10%
- Average conversion rate: 20%
Plug these numbers into the equation above to determine what your
maximum ad spend should be: $500 x 0.10 x 0.20 = $10. This means that
you can spend a maximum of $10 per click on your ad to break even. Your
goal should be to spend less than $10 to see a positive return on your
Now that we know more about how to advertise online, let's dive into the various types of online advertising.
Every month, there are nearly 2.5 billion active users on Facebook, 1 billion on Instagram, and 330 million on Twitter worldwide.
Whether it's to chat with friends, stay connected to people across
the globe, or for business and networking purposes, consumers are on
social media for a multitude of reasons — and marketers know it. Because
of the sheer number of active users on these platforms, advertising
spend invested in social media channels is at an all-time high. Social
media advertising across the world is projected to exceed $8.5 billion this year.
Advertising on social media comes with many advantages. You can:
- Reach very specific target audiences with the help of targeting
features and different audiences across all of the social media
- Leverage a variety of ad formats to advertise in a way that aligns with your business goals.
- Invest in the specific advertising efforts that drive leads and sales for your business.
Let's take a look at eight popular social media networks, including
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat,
and TikTok. We'll cover the audiences and ad types available on each
Facebook is the most widely used social media network. Almost 2.5 billion people around the world use Facebook. That's more than 30% of the world's population.
With so many people using Facebook, you're almost guaranteed to be
able to reach an audience that's relevant to any type of business.
That's where one of the most powerful features of advertising on
Facebook comes in: audience targeting. The targeting capabilities on
Facebook are unmatched by any other social media network.
There are three types of audiences that you can target on Facebook:
- Core audiences: An audience based on criteria like age, interests, and geography.
- Custom audiences: Get back in touch with people who have previously engaged with your business.
- Lookalike audiences: Reach new people whose interests are similar to those of your best customers.
Facebook's advanced targeting can be used to target your ads to the
most relevant audience — and even tap into new audiences you'd otherwise
never reach with organic content alone.
Advertising on Facebook includes a range of ad types, including:
- Photo ads
- Video ads
- Story ads
- Lead ads
Photo ads are great for sharing collections of image content. Video
ads are great for product explainer videos and branding. Story ads allow
you to use a combination of photo and short-form video content. If you
want to learn more about the different ad types, here's a great course
from HubSpot Academy all about Facebook Advertising.
Personally, my favorite way to advertise on Facebook is with lead ads
because they give you the best of both worlds: sharing visual content
and generating leads all at the same time. Facebook Lead Ads allow you
to capture lead information without directing people out of the Facebook
No matter your business' size or industry, you can use lead ads to
find potential customers who are likely interested in your products or
services. With lead ads, you provide a helpful piece of content that
encourages viewers to sign up for a newsletter, receive a price
estimate, or request additional business information. In return, when
the viewer fills out the form, the business receives a new lead.
Another way to advertise on Facebook is through Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger is a separate messaging app that comes with its own advertising opportunities. Facebook Messenger is the go-to messaging app
in countries including the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Other messaging
apps like WhatsApp and WeChat are the more popular choice in countries
throughout South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Across the world, 20 billion messages
are exchanged between people and businesses every month on Facebook
Messenger. Ads play a big part in initiating conversations on Facebook
There are a few different ways you can use Facebook Messenger as part of your advertising strategy.
- Facebook Messenger call-to-action in ads: Start conversations with ads on Facebook that include a call-to-action to send a message.
- Facebook Messenger Story Ads: Run story ads on Messenger Stories.
- Facebook Messenger Ads: Use messenger ads to deliver content directly into users' Facebook Messenger chats.
All of these ad types come together to encourage your audience to
kick off conversations with your business. They can be used to get in
contact with a sales team, request more information on a product, or
even share other content like blog posts or ebooks.
My favorite way to advertise on Facebook Messenger is retargeting.
Retargeting ads in Facebook Messenger are a great way to start targeted
conversations and send personalized offers and content.
Sponsored messages allow you to advertise to people who have already
interacted with your business in Messenger. This is a great way to
re-engage your audience in a personalized way.
You can also advertise on Instagram through the Facebook Ads Manager. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users globally. That's a little less than half of the number of users on Facebook. The majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
There are three ways that you can advertise on Instagram:
- Promote posts and stories directly from your Instagram professional account.
- Create ads from your Facebook Page and promote them on both Facebook and Instagram.
- Create ad campaigns in the Facebook Ads Manager to access full targeting capabilities.
I recommend taking the third option and creating custom campaigns for your audience on Instagram.
Instagram has similar ad types to Facebook, including:
- Photo ads
- Video ads
- Story ads
- Ads in Explore
- Shopping Post ads
By far, the most interesting ad types right now are ads in the
Explore Tab and Shopping Post ads. People using Instagram Explore are
exploring their interests and discovering new content creators. Ads in
Instagram Explore are a great opportunity to put your brand in front of a
Shopping Post ads allow you to include a tag that shows the product's
name and price within your image. Clicking on the tag takes your
prospects directly to a product page where they can purchase the item —
all without leaving the Instagram app.
The LinkedIn platform has over 660 million monthly active members
worldwide. Users on the platform are largely made up of working
professionals which makes LinkedIn a great place for B2B
(business-to-business) advertising. LinkedIn is the go-to platform for
working professionals, which provides B2B advertisers a large audience
pool to reach.
Plus, the advantage of advertising on LinkedIn is its unique targeting capabilities. On LinkedIn, you'll have access to unique targeting criteria that isn't available on other platforms.
You can target users on LinkedIn by unique demographics, including
job title, job function, and industry. Maybe you only want to advertise
to potential customers at the director level who work in customer
service within the recruiting industry. LinkedIn's targeting
capabilities make that possible.
Plus, with the option to include lead gen forms in your LinkedIn ads,
LinkedIn can be a lead generation machine. This will allow you to not
only reach a very specific audience but drive leads without directing
them outside of the LinkedIn platform.
The most interesting ad type of LinkedIn is Message Ads. Message Ads
allow you to send direct messages to your prospects to spark immediate
How to use LinkedIn Message Ads:
- Deliver a targeted message with a single CTA.
- Drive stronger engagement and response than traditional emails.
- Measure the impact of your messages.
But a word of warning: Don't send too many Message Ads to the same
people or it will come off like spam. And, make sure the messages sound
authentic – if you were writing a LinkedIn message to a friend, what
would you write in it?
If your Message Ads are too stiff, they'll come off as spammy, too.
Remember: This channel is a one-to-one conversation. Direct messages are
sacred spaces – if you're going to advertise there, you need to be
extra careful about taking the time to make your Message Ads feel
personal and relevant to your end-users. Make sure you're delivering
value to them in a way that feels authentic.
Digital advertising is less common on Twitter because organic reach
is still a significant driver of a brand's performance on Twitter. This
is very unique to Twitter – but even so, ads can still deliver strong
results depending on what your goals are. Twitter has over 330 million monthly users globally. The majority of users are between 35–65 years old.
Advertisers have discovered a few niches that have high engagement on Twitter: B2B and e-commerce. Many B2B companies are using Twitter as a digital marketing tool, and Twitter users are known to spend a lot of money online. This makes advertising specifically to these audiences a great strategy.
Twitter breaks down its ads into five goals:
- Awareness: Promote your tweets and maximize your reach.
- Tweet engagement: Promote your tweets and get more retweets, likes, and replies.
- Follows: Promote your account and grow your Twitter following.
- Website clicks: Promote your website and get more traffic.
- App downloads: Promote your app and get more downloads.
All of these can work together to help you grow your audience on the platform and convert users into customers.
Pinterest is a unique social media platform with 300 million users
who are highly engaged and predominantly female. Some people say that
Pinterest is the only platform where users actually want to see ads from
brands they love because Pinterest is all about visuals.
How to advertise on Pinterest in four steps:
- Pick a pin: Promote your best pins so they appear in the most relevant places.
- Decide who sees it: Set up targeting so the right people see your ads.
- Pay for results: Choose to pay for engagement or visits to your site.
- Track what's working: Once your campaign starts, see how it's doing and make changes.
Pinterest is great for businesses relying on photography to sell their products and who have a female target buyer persona.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, second only to Google, with over 2 billion
monthly active users. Ads on YouTube appear before and during other
YouTube videos or as a stand-alone promoted video that's displayed after
performing a search.
Since you can target demographic information and interests, you can
serve your videos to specific relevant audiences already watching videos
from similar brands or on related topics
Snapchat's 218 million users are predominantly made up of people between the ages of 18–24.
Snapchat offers a few ad types, including story ads, sponsored tiles in Snapchat Discover, and augmented reality (AR) lenses.
Snapchat's ad types feel pretty similar to the advertising options on
Instagram. What really makes Snapchat unique is the augmented reality
lenses. AR lenses are sponsored by a business to create interactive
moments that users can use and share with their friends. It might be
hard to believe, but in this example from Dominos that pizza isn't
really there — that's the AR lens at work.
One of the newer — and most popular — players in the social media
advertising world is TikTok. TikTok is all about creating short,
creative, and oftentimes funny videos. TikTok has exploded in the past
few years and has reached 500 million monthly users.
are still limited; they are mainly geared towards driving awareness.
TikTok doesn't hyperlink posts to websites and only recently started
allowing advertising, so businesses advertising on TikTok focus on
boosting brand awareness rather than leads or traffic.
Promoting TikTok videos allow brands to build awareness with a young
target audience. Most of the posts you'll see on TikTok are aimed at
getting laughs. From a brand perspective, you'll want to create videos
that are funny and align with other content on the platform. Think of
things like dance challenges and memes. This type of content is the most
People searching online are looking for something specific and will
click on the first result they believe is going to be the most helpful
You might be thinking: "I already appear in organic results on search engines. Why should I pay to advertise too?"
Well, there are three key reasons:
- On average, digitally prepared businesses anticipate four times better revenue compared to the less-prepared ones
- Advertising on search engines protects you from the competition who may be advertising on your branded terms.
- Search ads appear first in the search engine results pages (SERPs) above the organic results.
Paid search advertising allows advertisers to capture the attention
of their audience in a more targeted way than with organic search alone.
Search ads allow you to anticipate the wants, needs, and desires of
your potential customers and serve ads to them that are highly
contextual. Over time, the analytics of your search ads can help you
analyze and improve those ads to reach even more people.
But how does Google know how to deliver the right ad to the right
person? That's where keywords come into play. A keyword is one word or
phrase that someone uses to describe what they need in search.
Advertising on search platforms takes the targeting capabilities
available on social media platforms, like demographics and location, and
layers it with the addition of keywords.
When a Google user types a query into the search field, Google
returns a range of results that match the searcher's intent. Keywords
align with what a searcher wants and will satisfy their query. You
select keywords based on which queries you want to display your ad
Keyword research is just as important for paid ads as it is for
organic search. That's because Google matches your ad with search
queries based on the keywords you selected. Each ad group you create
within your campaign will target a small set of keywords and Google will
display your ad based on those selections.
Let's say Mary is moving to a different house and is looking for a
home mover. So she goes into Google and types "who are the best movers."
By searching "best home movers," she's going to see results for
advertisers that targeted keywords like "moving companies" and
Search engines also consider your intent when choosing the types of ads to display.
In the example above, search ads were the most helpful resource. But
what if you're looking for a location-based business, like a coffee
shop? In Google maps, you might see “Promoted Pins” like these, shown in
purple on the map and in the search results on the left. Promoted Pins
are a great way for businesses to attract customers to their business
based on location.
What if you're looking to make a purchase? Well, Google might show
you a different kind of post to match your intent, such as Shopping Post
In this example below, Google shows you shopping post ads for the
keyword "buy snowboard." Since my query includes the word "buy," Google
knows that I'm interested in making a purchase, so I am shown ads for
products I might be interested in.
So how do you select your keywords?
Keywords typically fall under two categories: brand and non-brand.
A brand keyword is a word or phrase that includes a brand's name or
variations of a brand's name. For example, some of HubSpot's brand
keywords include HubSpot, HubSpot Free CRM, and HubSpot Marketing Hub.
These are all variations of the HubSpot brand and the tools that we
Non-brand keywords are all other relevant keywords that don't include
a brand's name or variations of a brand's name. Some of HubSpot's
non-brand keywords include inbound marketing, sales software, and
customer relationship management.
While these keywords are not part of HubSpot's brand name, they are
relevant terms that allow HubSpot to reach audiences that might be
interested in eventually making a purchase.
Brand and non-brand keywords play a role in your digital advertising
strategy. Brand keywords help you protect your brand from your
If you don't run ad campaigns for brand keywords, you'll leave your
business vulnerable to losing website traffic to the competition who is
bidding on your brand keywords. Non-brand keywords still have a role to
play, too. Non-brand keywords allow you to reach new audiences
unfamiliar with your brand.
When it comes to when your ad is displayed, you don't just want to
pick a certain group of keywords and have the ad shown only when those
keywords are entered into the search engine.
This is where match type comes in. Since there’s an infinite number
of ways that people can actually search for one term, Google gives you
three match types to choose from: exact match, phrase match, and broad
match. You can even use a broad match modifier and exclude negative
keywords to optimize where your ads are delivered.
Let's take a look at each match type:
- Exact match: A keyword set to exact match will only
display your ad if the search term includes that exact keyword or a
very close variation. Exact match keywords are surrounded in [brackets].
- Phrase match: A keyword set to phrase match will
display your ad if the search term contains the same order of the words,
but it can also contain additional words. Phrase match keywords are
surrounded by "quotes".
- Broad match: A keyword set to broad match displays
your ad when the search term contains any or some combination or
variations of the words in your keyword, in any order. Broad match
keywords don't include any symbols.
- Broad match modifier: The broad match modifier
allows you to select keywords that must be included in the search query
for your ad to be displayed. Keywords with a broad match modifier use a
- Negative keywords: Excludes your ads from being shown on searches with that term. Negative keywords include a -minus sign.
Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo
There are a few advertising platforms out there for search, including
Google, Bing, and Yahoo. But Google is by far the most used search
engine out there.
With 3.5 billion search queries a day, over 71% of the total searches
made daily around the world are done on Google. Google brings in six
times more searches every day than Bing and Yahoo, combined.
But this doesn't mean you should entirely rule out advertising on
these other platforms. In some cases, you can achieve impressive results
with a smaller ad spend on Bing and Yahoo than you could on Google
since there is less competition from advertisers.
My recommendation is to dig into your organic traffic to identify if
Bing or Yahoo make up a significant amount of traffic for any given
keywords or topics. This might indicate that advertising for those
keywords on Bing or Yahoo could be profitable.
Regardless of where you advertise, the good news is that advertising
on all of these platforms more or less work and look the same. So
knowing how to advertise on one will make advertising on the others
Publishers like BuzzFeed and The Dodo produce content that snowballs
in popularity on social media almost every day. And they make money by
helping other brands do it, too. Brands will pay these publishers to
craft posts and videos that follow the publishers' formula for virality.
They also pay publishers to distribute this sponsored content to their
massive audience through social media and their website.
This is native advertising.
Check out this example from Geico. It partnered with BuzzFeed to
create this video advertisement for morning workouts. It's a topic that
is loosely related to insurance, which Geico sells, and it tapped into
BuzzFeed's expertise to create this video that feels right at home with
the rest of the content on the site.
When you pay for a publisher's native advertising services, you'll be
able to leverage their editorial expertise and audience reach to help
your brand tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.
And each publisher is going to support different ad formats and creative
During the creative process, you'll collaborate with publishers to
craft sponsored content that covers one of their main topics and looks
like a regular piece of content on the publisher's website.
This way, even though your post is technically promotional, it won't
disrupt their audience's browsing experience. They'll enjoy reading your
post and won't feel like you or the publisher are advertising to them.
This exposes your work to a huge, engaged viewership and attracts new
followers to your brand.
Native advertising creates a symbiotic relationship between
publishers and brands. Publishers who do sponsored content right reap
the benefits of another revenue stream and gain more audience trust if
they promote a native ad from a trustworthy brand.
For brands, collaborating with prominent publishers can unleash
unprecedented amounts of creativity to help them win over the
publishers' audience and boost engagement — as the click-through rate on
native ads far exceeds traditional. For example, T Brand Studio, the
New York Times native ad business, crafted sponsored posts that captured as much engagement as some of nytimes.com's highest-performing articles.
To find the optimal native advertising opportunities for your brand, try using StackAdapt or Nativo.
Display ads are a controversial topic in the digital marketing
community. For almost 25 years, advertisers have abused them by tricking
internet users into clicking misleading ads — some malicious display
ads have even infected people's computers with viruses. It's easy to see
why people have developed banner blindness and can't stop downloading
ad blockers: display ads have the reputation of being intrusive,
distracting, and irrelevant.
On the other side of the spectrum, though, display advertising
technology has advanced to the point where ad networks can leverage data
and machine learning to offer advertisers more effective targeting
strategies and consumers more relevant ads.
Ad networks like Google Display Network and Facebook's Audience
Network are the leaders in the banner ad renaissance. They can display
your ads to the right target audience at the right place and time. And
if you want more control of your advertising, they'll let you decide
where to place your ads. Below, we'll cover each ad networks' features
and targeting capabilities:
1. Google Display Network
When you use Google's Display Network, you can design visually
appealing ads and place them on over two million websites and apps,
YouTube, and Gmail.
You can also build new audiences by targeting people who are most
likely to be interested in your product or service and remarket website
visitors just by importing a list of their contact information.
If you don't want to build out your ideal audience or deal with
bidding, you can let Google Ads do it for you. Its automated targeting
and bidding features can identify your highest-converting audience for
the best return on investment.
Display ads can be most effective when retargeting an audience that's already familiar with your brand.
2. Facebook's Audience Network
With Facebook's Audience Network, brands can expand their Facebook ad
campaigns and use the same targeting data they use on the platform to
advertise on a huge collection of websites and apps.
Brands can place native ads, banner ads, full-screen ads, in-stream
video ads, and rewarded video ads (for example, "Watch this video ad to
get more tokens!") on the network's websites and apps that their
Facebook audience frequently visits.
This type of advertising can be particularly effective for mobile
games, like in the example below from 5agame who was able to attribute
80% of their revenue through their rewarded video.
Now that you know about all of the digital ad types that are
available, the next step is to learn how to leverage the right ads for
your business to achieve your goals.
With the right pay-per-click advertising company and strategy, you can drive more website traffic, higher quality leads, and ultimately, more customers.
That’s where KBI Marketing comes in. As a Google Premier Partner and Bing Ads Professional, our pay-per-click experts work with you to create an advertising strategy that reflects your brand and will achieve your goals.
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