Digital or ‘paid’ advertising is the practice of delivering promotional content to a targeted and refined audience through online media communications and search engines. It’s used to promote brand awareness, drive website traffic, boost engagement and generate new leads & conversions. Set apart from its marketing counterparts on account of its data-driven accuracy, this strategy is a sure way to boost your online presence, hit KPIs and manage your sales funnel.
Welcome to the third and final chapter of our limited edition Picos article series Social Media Marketing for Dummies. We’re wrapping up this trilogy with a focus on digital advertising because it’s data-driven, meticulously efficient and integral to your marketing strategy. Not to mention, it’s designed to work for any budget and every business.
Common Acronyms that Most People Pretend to Understand… but Don’t
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization
- SEM: Search Engine Marketing
- EDM: Email Direct Marketing
- SMM: Social Media Marketing
- SMA: Social Media Advertising
Answers to the Questions you Felt too Awkward to Ask
Contrary to popular belief, digital advertising in 2021 is not all too similar to scenes from Mad Men with graphic storyboards, enormous ad budgets and secretaries in pencil skirts. The non-Hollywood advertising industry is in fact very different. Needless to say, the most obvious divergence is the central role of Google’s search engine and its accompanying social media. With these, businesses and consumers around the world traverse the digital landscape in search of something they’ve actually asked for. For brands, this might be ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ leads with a demonstrated interest in their products. Whereas for the everyday online user, it could mean finding material that is actually relevant to them on the internet, instead of indiscriminate spam. In this sense, digital advertising makes life for the consumer and business owner a lot easier. Okay, we may have over-simplified digital advertising a tad… but you don’t need to be an expert to get the most out of online marketing for your business. So in this article, we’re going to address the questions you felt too awkward to ask in person because, in reality, we all had to ask them at some point.
1. What makes digital advertising different from junk mail?
They’re actually polar opposites. Unlike junk mail, digital advertising isn’t indiscriminately dumped on the doorstep of passive recipients. Instead, it’s directed towards an active audience of online users that have shown an interest in a specific brand, product or service. Categorised into subgroups according to their unique characteristics, locations and purchase intentions, these online users receive marketed content because they browse, purchase or enlist services through the internet – and aren’t being spammed just for the sake of it. They are more likely to click on links, scroll through websites, create accounts, subscribe to newsletters, follow social media profiles and purchase products than a random scrolling through the internet. Put simply, these online users belong to a class of quality leads.
2. What is the difference between paid advertising and social media marketing?
Great question. Paid advertising and social media marketing can both work to boost brand awareness, encourage engagement and generate traffic… but they’re used for different purposes. Community management, influencer marketing, public relations, customer retention and brand promotion are all forms of social media marketing that are performed on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. They focus on connecting with people online and nurturing customer relationships. In contrast, digital advertising focuses on promoting specific products or campaigns to refined audiences for engagement, conversion or traffic-based purposes. Its performance can be tracked and improved in real-time with clear visibility into ROI. Unlike social media marketing, digital advertising includes email direct marketing (EDM) and search engine optimisation (SEO).
3. What’s the difference between traffic and engagement-driven advertising?
It sounds confusing, but it’s actually pretty simple. These are your advertising objectives, similar to KPIs. If your business goal is to create an advertising campaign that promotes a new product launch, your primary objective would be to invite new customers to your website and move them (voluntarily) through your sales funnel. An ad designed for this purpose is a traffic-based one. Typically, it will highlight some of your most popular items with professional photography and embed a call-to-action in the copy section, encouraging customers to click on a link to your website. Meanwhile, an engagement-based ad is designed to generate brand awareness, increase visibility and – you guessed it – increase customer engagement. This might be to draw more attention to a previous traffic-based post you’ve uploaded that didn’t get as much traction as you would’ve liked. For example, you could give an old Facebook post more airtime by boosting it and retargeting it towards interested online viewers.
4. What does ‘boosting’ a post actually mean?
When you ‘boost’ a post on Facebook or Instagram, you’re effectively putting money behind it to secure a wider reach and better engagement from your target audience. This advertising feature is normally used on high-quality posts that have specific call-to-actions or, alternatively, ones that didn’t perform as well as you would’ve liked. Once you have decided on a post you want to boost, all you have to do is outline your target audience demographics, your desired budget and the duration of the boosting period. Typically, posts are boosted for 1, 7 or 14 days unless otherwise specified in the custom response tab.
5. What kind of content should I be advertising?
Short answer: only quality creative content. As content creators by nature, we have to disclose that our approach to this question is biased, albeit totally evidence-based. The success, or failure, of your marketing campaigns is ultimately determined by the quality of your creative material. No amount of money in the world will convince an online user to follow a call-to-action on a post that looks like poorly worded spam. The same goes for the quality of your images, videos and even the design of your website. Our tip: follow a no junk mail approach and deliver creative content that people would actually want to engage with.
6. What’s the difference between paid and organic advertising?
That’s a fair question. Organic advertising encompasses all of your unpaid marketing efforts implemented to create an engaging online presence. These include community management, sharing user-generated content and working on your social media profiles’ aesthetic to encourage traffic. Paid advertising, on the other hand, is used to increase the reach and impact of your marketing efforts by targeting refined audiences that are more likely to engage with your content. Unlike the former advertising method, paid advertising requires a set budget and can provide acute insight into the performance of your campaigns and the quality of your leads.
7. Will someone please tell me what SEO actually is?
We hear you. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is an absolute buzzword in the advertising world – and for non-marketers, it’s mumbo-jumbo. Put simply, its an advertising practice that convinces search engines like Google to recommend your website to online users. To be ranked favourably in their database, your content needs to meet certain criteria proving that your website is relevant, trustworthy and of good value to their customers. SEO experts conduct search analytics, crawl, Google index and mobile usability reports to determine how your website is ranked and to identify ways to optimise your performance. They focus on keywords, including metatags and titles, to make sure that the words you use on your website best describe the products or services your ideal customers would use when looking for something that you provide. So to summarise, SEO is an extremely useful and organic tool that drives traffic and visibility.
8. What is a Cost Per Action (CPA)?
Cost per Action (CPA) is a metric used to measure the success of digital advertising campaigns. It’s a popular payment model that charges advertisers for specific actions taken by their target audience. These actions could include clicking on a link to a website, submitting a form, subscribing to a newsletter or purchasing a product. Other common metrics include Cost per Click (CPC) and Cost per Lead (CPL), both of which follow a similar approach to tracking the performance of advertising campaigns. When you’re charged on a CPC basis, you’re only paying for each time a viewer clicks on your ad. This is a traffic-based objective designed to increase the flow of visitors to your website. Meanwhile, a CPL model measures the cost of generating quality leads.
9. Should I be sending out emails to my client base?
Email Direct Marketing (EDM) is a sure way to keep your target audience engaged and to nurture existing customer relationships. Not to mention, it’s also a great technique to market your campaigns to quality leads – people who have already subscribed to your offerings before – and encourage customer loyalty. You can use email marketing to let your subscribers know about special promotions, new product launches or to simply provide value to their day with information that only you can provide. When developing an EDM strategy, the most important thing to remember is that in the same way that you can build trust with your audience with well-executed campaigns, you can destroy existing relationships by sending spam – or worse – unprofessional emails. If you’re considering launching your own EDM campaign, our advice is to consult content creators and marketing professionals first. They’ll know where to start.