A Beginners Guide to Digital Advertising

A Beginners Guide to Digital Advertising

Outbound Digital Marketing Tactics

$83 billion dollars is projected to be spent on digital advertisements in 2017. There are many different types of digital ads, different pricing models, and different media types. Some ad formats can only be had on one platform; others are universal. These nuances and differences are important to every marketer who uses digital channels to connect with their audience.

For the first time, digital advertising expenditures surpassed TV expenditures, showing that consumers are turning to digital channels more and more.

So, what are the different types of outbound digital marketing tactics? Well, the most well-known are digital advertisements, which we will be discussing today.

Online Display Advertising

Likely the most well-known type of digital advertising, on-page advertising has been around since the early days of the internet. They were once categorized by where they appeared on a web page, but have since been revived in a more modern format. As Marketingsherpa put it:

“Abandoned just a few years ago, banner ads are back with a vengeance, although they’re now known as online display ads. Advertising networks and enhanced targeting are drawing marketers back to this lower-cost format.”

For our purposes, online display ads are considered any ad that can appear on a web page and does not utilize any online only capabilities. They exist in a variety of forms, which I will briefly outline below:

Static Ads

Static display ads offer no movement or opportunities for user interaction. They are images that link to the advertiser’s site. Static ads try to combine engaging imagery with a compelling call-to-action using only still images and text.

Animated Ads

Animated ads are similar to static ads in the fact that they do not provide opportunities for user interaction. The only difference is the fact that animated ads contain movement, usually in the form of a GIF. Publishers typically impose limits on this type of ad to minimize the processing power required to show them.

Interactive Ads

Interactive ads are more complex than animated or expanding ads. The ad offers some functionality, for example, you can enter personal information in some, others track the movement of the cursor. Another difference between interactive ads and animated ads is that interactive ads are more customizable, where advertisers can set the number of clicks before bringing the audience to your website.

Expanding Ads

Expanding ads are ads that increase in size when the cursor moves over the ad. They can grow to a variety of sizes, depending on the publisher’s preferences. These ads can be any type (static, video, interactive, etc.), and can change format when it expands. Expanding ads give advertisers more information without taking the user to another page.

Video Display Ads

Video display ads can begin at any time, depending on the publisher’s preferences. This type of advertisement offers a large variety of functionality. Some video ads allow pausing, rewinding and other standard video features. Others cannot even be muted. If a user clicks the ad, it will take them to the advertiser’s website. Video display ads are different from pre-roll ads in many ways.

Video Advertising

Have you ever watched a video on Youtube? If you have and don’t use an ad blocker, you likely recognize the opportunities for running advertisements next to video content. Most video hosting websites offer multiple types of online display ads in addition to the following types of video-specific advertising.

Video Ads

Video ads run alongside creative video content. They can be inserted before, during, or after the main video. There are different formats for these ads. They can either be skippable or non-skippable (which are more expensive). Video ads (on Youtube, and most video hosting platforms) can range from five to thirty seconds. Video ads are more costly to produce than online display ads, but if the ad is placed in a favorable environment, it produces a better ROI. It’s important to consider that long video ads may frustrate the audience and damage the reputation of your brand. People will almost always skip ads if given a choice.

Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are similar to skippable videos, but can only be up to six seconds long and always play before the video. The ad must be played before the user can watch the video. This ad format is all about brevity and takes advantage of the fact that the user will most likely skip a video as soon as they are allowed. Bumper ads and longer video ads can be used together for a well-rounded video marketing strategy.

Overlay Ads

Overlay advertisements are semi-transparent ads over the bottom portion of a video. These ads are essentially static display ads that become translucent after a certain number of seconds. If the user touches the ad (or moves the cursor over it), it will reappear. Clicking these ads will take you to the advertiser’s website, just like a static display ad. The major benefit to overlay ads compared to static ads is that the overlay ad is more likely to be viewed because of its location on the video player.

Social Media Advertising

Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are prime locations for brands to advertise. These websites get a significant amount of traffic, and the platforms have a great deal of data on their users, allowing advertisers to share their messages with a very specific subset of users.

Most ads on social media websites appear as sponsored posts and can contain text, images, or video. Every platform is optimized for different sized pictures and videos, so social advertisements should be created with a particular platform in mind.

We examine the differences between advertising on the three top social media platforms in our article: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter Ads: What’s the Best ROI?

Every social network is different. Every social network has different demographics, different user needs, and different advertising formats. Depending on the goals of your marketing campaign, your niche and what your call-to-action is, some social networks will be better than others.

To maximize the effectiveness of social media, a mixture of organic activity (unpaid), and advertising on social media will increase your reach, engagement on sponsored posts, and drive a return on investment back to your firm.

Search Advertising

Google is the world’s foremost search engine. Over 3.5 billion searches are conducted each day on Google alone. As a result, brands have (for years) been finding ways to make their products and services more discoverable in searches. Search engines have realized this desire, and make it possible to pay to appear in a particular spot of a SERP (search engine results page).

These advertisements do not appear in organic searches but get prominent placement on the results page.

On mobile searches, ads appear above the organic results. They are marked with the word “Ad,” but otherwise are identical to a search result. Desktop search ads appear at the bottom of the SERP, in a “product listing ad block” on the right-hand side of the page or at the top of a SERP for “highly commercial queries.”  

Search advertising is paid for on a per-click basis, meaning advertisers are only charged when somebody clicks the ad. Keywords are bid on to determine which brands get to show their advertisements next to particular queries. Search advertising has quite a lot in common with organic search engine marketing. Many activities are the same including keyword research and the efforts to optimize click through rates. The only major difference is that an ad can guarantee a first-page result, where organic searches need to work for it.

Google (and other search engines) are constantly tweaking their algorithms, and with it, changing the way they display search ads. To effectively advertise on social media, stay up to date on the minutiae of search engines. Search Engine Land is an excellent resource for staying informed on topics such as SEO, search marketing, and advertising.

Takeaways for Financial Services Marketers

Despite a period of backlash against certain publishers in early 2017, digital ads continue to grow and proliferate. A mixture of outbound and inbound marketing tactics are considered best practice for a well-rounded marketing strategy. Advertisements are among the most common outbound marketing methods. Therefore, it’s important to have a solid understanding of them. 

To learn more about core tenants of digital marketing, we have a few articles that may help:

16 Digital Marketing Acronyms You Need to Know
Outbound Vs. Inbound Marketing for Financial Advisors
Omnichannel is the Key to Optimizing Customer Experiences

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