To say that digital marketers need to be master of the trade is an understatement. The real picture of the skills required to ace online advertising tools includes being a step ahead of the game. It means knowing how trends change and how a concrete advertising perspective fits in the purpose of the business and its marketing strategy.
In the midst of hundreds, if not thousands of digital advertising tools and platforms built to reach out to a potential audience, it’s not easy to wiggle your way to the right customers. Although most channels and platforms can be useful, you don’t want to just scratch the surface and collect a small portion of the possible benefits.
This guide to online advertising tools includes some best practices on how to optimize and carefully target your online marketing efforts.
Paid vs. Free Advertising Tools
Beneficial advertising tools are often free. In contrast, some online marketers give kudos to paid advertising campaigns, emphasizing the importance of buying advertising space on websites and in search engines. Effective campaigns are about combined efforts from free and paid advertising.
There is a multitude of free advertising tools for small businesses. Those are the “can’t live without” tools – keyword planners, Google Trends and Google Suggest, free plans at Hootsuite and Buzzsumo, as well as free social media outreach or organically optimized content. Most marketers have used, looked at or tried at least one free tool out of curiosity. Many use several on daily basis.
Paid advertising tools drive traffic purposefully. You’ll get to your target audience faster.
Paid ads come at a cost. However, paid advertising software, especially programmatic advertising cuts down the overall campaign costs because it uses algorithmic methods for optimal ad purchasing and placement.
In the end, choosing between paid or free online marketing tools is an individual decision and depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your marketing strategy. Marketers often find the best way forward by running a painstakingly persistent trial and error process.
Digital Advertising Tools and Channels
Unless you go for a cross-channel or an omnichannel advertising solution, you’ll need to solve an additional dilemma:
What is the right channel for your business?
Paid channels include display, social, search, video, mobile, and email marketing. Each comes with specific advantages which will be explained below.
Paid Search Tools
Search tools can be free, such as organic SEO, and paid.
Paid search tools include SEM (search engine marketing) or pay-per-click campaigns made with advertising software. The purpose of these tools is to get adequate placement on the popular search engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Paid digital advertising is the best way to connect with customers who are already in need of your product or service.
The Google search toolbar is a digital marketplace where people type in their searches and try to find the best fit among the offered alternatives.
Search advertising tools are based on industry-relevant keywords. Search ads reach your customer once he or she types in the relevant keyword while browsing for the needed product or service.
Accurate targeting of interested customers can be accomplished with search networks. Search networks are focused-niche networks, created by partner websites that upload content around specific keywords.
Display advertising tools are used on company websites that can drive traffic to your own web space.
Web banners are among the most popular display ads. Those are the flashing, colorful diverse shapes that, when misplaced, frustrate customers, pushing them to install ad blockers
If you’ve noticed that web banners are not that annoying as of late and meet your needs better, it is because display ads have been perfected with machine learning tools. They make fewer mistakes. With the help of AI, display ads just got smarter.
If you are considering display ads, keep in mind that they come with side benefits. They can not only drive traffic or increase sales, but they can also raise brand awareness. If you are a fresh small business or a startup, that’s definitely a benefit to put in good use.
The reason that mobile platforms got their own advertising channel is the worldwide constant growth of mobile usage. Chances are, if you are reading this on a mobile, you don’t need to look at the following stats to confirm your assumptions:
- Consumers spend on average 69 percent of their media time on mobile phones. (Source).
Mobile advertising tools will grow in importance even more. Projections about the IoT are putting smartphones and wearable devices into the focus of campaigners who need to find a way to incorporating a mobile marketing strategy into the general campaign.
Buying, tracking, and managing a mobile campaign requires diversification. Marketers need to decide how to target mobile customers within the overall display, search, social, and email marketing efforts to gain the most benefits from the specific device.
Campaign successes depend on the device format, mobile optimization, and the cleverly tailored in-app purchases.
In fact, misplaced mobile ads are even more annoying than poorly targeted desktop campaigns. 70 percent of customers don’t like mobile ads. This is why you need to deliberate the design and the format of mobile ads, paying attention to the device restrictions.
Social Advertising Channels
Social advertising is a process of placing ads on popular social media channels, for instance, Facebook or Twitter.
Social advertising channels allow marketers to reach out to a wider audience and track the success of their ads.
Though social media ads are not so widespread as general search or display digital advertising tools, businesses use them as a combination of free and paid tools.
Paid ads can show up in the user’s news feed, for instance, thus creating the sense of personalized communication and capturing the user interest in a more focused way. Modern advertising tools with intelligent algorithms can help you connect to users that spend most of their online time on a social network, logged on from a mobile.
There is also influencer marketing, a native way to place content in platforms like instagram, facebook and youtube. Influencer marketing involves finding influencers who speak to your target audience and having them promote your product. Today, influencer marketing has also evolved to being able to drive millions of reach in the most organic way possible: directly in the content your audience loves to watch.
Video advertising is the practice of using video content to promote a brand, a product or a service to your customers. Video advertising software can help you analyze and streamline the video content.
Tubular reports that, only in the first quarter of 2017, people made 2.3 trillion views across main social video platforms. Most popular choices for users were YouTube and Facebook.
Video ads are highly engaging. They can prove to be the most successful channel among the multitude of advertising tools you will implement in your strategy.
♦ Video content advertising has an average annual growth of 100 percent (Source).
Video content can take many forms. Some of the most common video advertising formats include:
- Linear ads
- Non-linear ads
- Companion ads
- Master ads
Each of the above video advertising tools has its own specifics; it can run before or after the main video content while accounting for the full-screen size or for a screen segment.
Email: Best Advertising Tool for Personalized Messages
Regardless of the success of digital advertising tools that cast a wider net, email is still the best advertising tool for customer retention and personalized communication.
Once the initial followers are motivated to become customers, email marketing is beneficial for building trusted customer relationships and brand loyalty. It’s also a cost-effective tool to spread your targeted messages to individual prospects, creating a sense of closeness and exclusivity.
In the end, it’s an effective CTA tool that can be measured, analyzed, and used for future predictions about the best ways to develop personalized experiences for your customers.
Each of the above advertising tools has a variety of ways that you can use to implement it in practice.
If you have an impression that finding your way in the labyrinth of online advertising tools is perplexing, you can check out the benefits of AI-based advertising software. Many examples available on the market provide valuable data, stats, and metrics you can apply without doing the math yourself.
If you are ready to save hours in your weekly marketing schedule, check how the smart Frank.ai can improve your digital advertising strategy.