Following up on last week's post, I thought it would be helpful to outline the fundamental reasons that businesses should advertise online. Diving right in, there are at least 3 reasons that make online advertising a no brainer for businesses:
Are there better reasons for advertising online? Let us know what you think!
Where else can you promote your products and brand in front of millions of people on a budget of less than $20 a day? Looking back to last week's post, I used the example of television advertising. When it comes to television, prime placement and production costs of advertisements are prohibitive unless you're part of a large organization. I should mention that clearly some ads are not restricted by placement or production costs - of course those ads tend to look cheap and air in the middle of the night on channels most people never visit. In comparison, the average advertiser can immediately advertise online across search and social networks with quality ads and placement on a reasonable budget.
Placing an ad online is a function of proper targeting, keywords (in the case of search advertising), and bids. These variables are straightforward enough to build into an initial campaign and can be properly tuned as an advertiser gains more experience. Producing the ads is basically free. An individual or team spends some time putting together effective ad copy, headlines, and images. For the average advertiser there isn't much else that goes into their production of online ads.
Are there any costs to online advertising that I'm missing?
Advertisers want to look for markets where the audience is growing. There's no question that the place this is most obvious is on the internet. Again, as I mentioned last week, people are replacing offline activities with online alternatives - especially activities like watching videos, following news, and listening to music. Of course, a huge amount of social interaction is moving online as well. For instance, a word of mouth purchase (similar to liking a product on Facebook after seeing a friend's like) twenty years ago was difficult to measure, but today, it's becoming possible.
As the data from last week's post showed, online advertising as a piece of the entire advertising pie is growing each year and will soon account for a quarter of all advertising dollars. In addition to the growth, there's a fineness to targeting allowed by online advertising, that isn't yet possible in offline advertising. Social networks and search engines collect lots of information on users, which allows them to help advertisers display ads to very select audiences. This leads to high ROI and more effective advertising.
Flexibility Possibly the most appealing feature of online advertising is it's flexibility. Advertisers can run one campaign in the morning and a completely separate campaign in the afternoon. As an advertiser learns what ads, targeting, and keywords work, they can adjust with almost no delay. This is unique to online advertising and a huge benefit for advertisers (especially those on a limited budget). Immediately after realizing one campaign is struggling - you can shut it down and reallocate dollars toward a more effective campaign. Imagine realizing your newspaper ad isn't working. There's not much you can do immediately, other than tell the paper to remove the ad from future issues. Same scenario with television - you can ask the network to pull the ad once you realize it's not effective. The beauty of online advertising is that you can take in immediate feedback (whether major and minor) and incorporate it into your campaigns and ad spending.
The discussion of where to advertise is quickly becoming a discussion of where should I advertise online. There are all kinds of online advertising: traditional PPC advertising, retargeting, displaying advertising, and more. Surely, many new methods of online advertising will develop in the future as well.
This post highlights three key reasons for the importance of online advertising. There are many more and we would love to hear what you find most important and appealing in online advertising. You can tweet us at @getadstage or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!