An important part of any marketing strategy in today’s digital landscape, digital advertising delivers relevant and valuable content to highly targeted audiences through a variety of digital channels, such as social media, search engines, email, mobile apps, websites and more. A cost-effective, measurable and dynamic marketing tool, it can be leveraged to help boost brand awareness, generate high-quality leads, and promote products and services in a space where key audiences are already spending most of their time: online.
Here are four best practices for your digital advertising strategy to help grow your business:
1. Understand the Buyer’s Journey
Online platforms allow users to have highly customized experiences tailored toward their unique interests and needs. By creating content that is meaningful, relevant and engaging, you can get your key messages in front of the right audiences, at the right time, to build greater brand awareness, grow your customer base and increase revenue. In order to maximize your ad spend, it’s important to first understand your buyer personas and where they are on the buyer’s journey.
At a high level, the 3 stages of the buyer’s journey focus on awareness, consideration and decision making. The first stage—awareness—is often helpful and educational. During this stage, your company is aiming to build trust with prospective customers, making it an ideal time to promote content such as blog posts, social media, quizzes or helpful videos. In the consideration stage, the goal is to target individuals who have previously shown an interest in your company and are developing a relationship with your brand. Educational content such as how-to guides, webinars and white papers can help to nurture these leads further along the buyer’s journey, bringing them closer to a decision. Finally, during the decision-making stage, the focus should be on differentiating your brand from competitors by offering content like testimonials, product demos or trial offers to help close the deal.
Ultimately, the goal is to develop a digital advertising strategy that aligns with each stage of the buyer’s journey by focusing on user intent.
2. Leverage Your Social Media Platforms
When it comes to digital advertising, social media is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to reach your target audiences and continually grow your customer base. It’s no surprise that, in addition to Google, social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are among the top four channels in which to invest your digital advertising spend. In fact, marketers in North America reported that Facebook offers the highest ROI for digital advertising, with Google Search coming in at a close second.
Regardless of which channel is used, it’s important to measure your results against key business objectives as a means to improve your digital advertising strategy over both the short- and long-term. A B2B company that wants to try out paid social ads on Facebook, for example, should first define what “success” will look like before running the campaign—whether it’s general brand awareness or driving direct conversions from the platform.
Though paid social is easy to set up, your content must be high quality and engaging enough to cut through the noise on social media—or it runs the risk of getting lost. There are many different ad types and formats to consider with paid social, depending on your goals. For brand awareness and engagement, video ads tend to work best, while static image ads are better for driving more clicks and conversions. In addition, ad content should be brief, compelling and include clear calls-to-action.
3. Incorporate Paid Search Advertising
When people are searching online, they are likely to click on the first result that is most relevant and valuable to them. Search-based advertising, which utilizes search engines like Google and Bing to deliver ads in search results, focuses on the intent of your website visitors. In order to get the best results with paid search ads, you need to choose highly relevant keywords and feature engaging content.
A good place to start is by conducting keyword research in order to determine which keywords are most relevant to your target audience. Keywords can be broken down into branded keywords and non-branded keywords. Branded keywords include your company name and help differentiate your business from competitors’ ads. If a user is searching your branded keyword, it’s likely they have some level of familiarity with your company. On the other hand, non-branded keywords help to increase your reach among new audiences who are seeking the products and/or services you offer, but may not yet be familiar with your brand. A paid search ad strategy that incorporates both branded and non-branded keywords will typically yield the best results.
In addition to keywords, it’s important to maintain clear, compelling messaging and keep target audience needs in mind in order to ensure your paid search ads will stack up against the competition. Assessing the quality of your ads with tools like AdWords quality score can boost their relevancy and rank, as well as lower your cost per conversion—ultimately resulting in higher ROI.
4. Use Paid & Organic Search Together
When used together as part of a content marketing strategy, paid and organic search can capitalize on user intent to maximize the online presence and visibility of your brand—in turn improving your ranking in search results. To be successful, key messaging must be aligned across both channels.
With paid and organic search, search engines like Google prioritize user experience and relevancy. Even if you achieve page-one ranking for a particular keyword through organic efforts like an SEO strategy, paid search utilizing that keyword can further boost your visibility—particularly given that paid ads rank higher than organic posts and most clicks occur on links toward the top of the results page. In addition, paid search can also help boost relevancy and drive even greater traffic back to valuable content on your website that has been optimized for organic search—ultimately resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.
When used in a highly targeted, strategic manner, digital advertising can be beneficial tool to help grow your business. For the best results, remember to tailor your content to the three stages of the buyer’s journey, leverage both paid social and paid search, and build your online presence organically as well.