Duncan McCall

Brand Health Checkup: Digital Advertising


Looking for a flexible, scalable, targeted, measurable way to get people to care about your business? Let us introduce you to digital advertising. Of course, that’s a broad introduction, like asking for a sandwich from a deli. Can you be more specific?

Yes! We cover the big categories below and provide some high-level insights into each one. Following that deli sandwich analogy, think of this as a sampler plate. You get an idea about what the pastrami, turkey, roast beef, and ham are like, without getting bogged down by condiment choices.

PPC (pay-per-click)

Ads appear as a “sponsored result” when someone searches for a keyword or term you chose. You pay if that person clicks. Successful PPC ads rely heavily on two things: keywords and copywriting. First, you must determine the keywords (services, subjects, products, etc.) where you want to rank high. Then you use roughly 100 characters to convince the searcher you have the answer they seek.

Aim for a high Google Quality Score. This score considers how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing pages are to the person seeing your ad. Per Google: “Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”

Display Advertising

Tons of things get wrapped in here. Those strips at the bottom of say, your weather app. The big “page takeovers” atop your favorite news site. The videos playing as you scroll a story or before a YouTube video. All display ads. Effective audience targeting options make them immensely popular with advertisers. You can build audiences based on interest, geography, behavior, IP address, etc., so people interested in what you sell see your ads. A tactic called retargeting can even deliver ads to people who recently visited your website.

Grab a reader’s attention with simple, uncluttered messages, and a clear call-to-action. More is not always better.

native ad sample

Native Advertising

Native ads let you fit in without interrupting. Whether it’s a sponsored article, branded content, or even an ad in a story – the presentation mimics the surrounding site design. Blending message with content reduces “banner blindness” – our boredom with ads that makes us stop paying attention. Native ads, made up of a photo with short headline and copy, must quickly convey your value. At the very least, they must spark the “this looks interesting” click. Knowing your target audience is critical. Know who you’re talking to so you know how to connect with them.

Social Advertising

social ad sample

Be where your buyers are. Facebook, Instagram, Linked-In, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube – your customers and potential customers spend time here. Everyday. The Global Web Index says just over 2 hours* a day. These platforms offer a wide variety of ad types (video, carousel, in-feed, sponsored content and mail, pre-roll, in-video, etc.) and let you target in an almost microscopic way. You don’t have to use all the ad types or all the platforms. Go where your target audience hangs out and where your content will best be received.

Take a look at your organic posts when you jump into social advertising. Your high-performing messages may make the best candidates for social ads.

Even at this ‘sampler plate’ level of introduction, do you see a common denominator? Know. Your. Audience. Part of that means adapting your messages to these different channels. For instance, if you advertise across Linked-In, Facebook, and display – broadly speaking – keep it business-focused on Linked-In, maybe turn up the humor on Facebook, and use a strong graphic or image with clear CTA on the display ad.

Digital ads can drive measurable results, but there’s no set it and forget it approach. Reporting and results work together to keep your creative fresh and deliver the perfect message.

Ready to explore the bigger menu of digital advertising? Reach out and let’s talk about how we can help.

*Source: GlobalWebIndex (Q3 2019) Daily Time Spent Using Social Media

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