What is Digital Advertising? A Comprehensive Guide
We’re long past the days when purchasing an ad on TV or the radio was enough to improve your sales significantly.
Digital advertising has become the most important channel for marketers and businesses around the world for a good reason—more and more people are going online to make purchasing decisions.
Today, 40% of the world’s population is connected to the internet, so advertising your brand online delivers the widest reach with the least amount of resources spent.
Brands all over the world are turning to digital channels, with total digital ad spending expected to hit over $333 billion, or roughly half of the worldwide ad market.
No matter the size of your business, you should always aim to spend your resources where they’re likely to generate the biggest returns. Before diving into the market, learn the basics of digital advertising to start developing your own productive strategy.
What is Digital Advertising?
At its most basic, digital advertising is any form of advertisement that appears online, whether on your web browser, your social media apps, or other destinations and properties across the internet.
Today, digital advertising takes multiple forms and uses various channels including social media, video streaming sites like YouTube, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads you see at the top of search results, and more.
Most digital advertising is paid—when you place an ad on someone else’s website, or even on Facebook, you’re paying for it to be viewed.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Advertising?
Before investing in digital advertising, take a look at these statistics to see exactly why you should make it a priority:
- According to Google, there were 3.5 billion searches per day in 2018, or a total of 1.2 trillion searches for the entire year.
- 92% of searchers will choose a business on the first page of their search.
- 64% of online shoppers say a social media video helped inform their purchase decision.
- Social media user rates have continued to rise, with total users expanding by 13% from 2017 to 2018.
- In 2018, digital ad revenues surpassed $100 billion for the first time.
The 5 Most Effective Digital Advertising Channels:
Digital advertising is often used as a catch-all term to cover several different types of online marketing strategies. These are some of the most commonly used:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC). This is one of the most widely used channels for marketers, and it involves placing display or banner ads across different platforms and paying for every click received. PPC accounted for $10.1 billion in ad spending during 2017 alone, with more than 7 million advertisers displaying ads.
- Social Media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are excellent tools to reach targeted and interested audiences. Advertising on social media can be paid or organic and can range from sponsored posts on users’ feeds to viral campaigns, online reviews, and various content placed on your page at no cost.
- Video. Video is quickly emerging as one of the most popular digital advertising strategies considering more people prefer it to written and photographic content. Video advertising includes traditional ads, but can also entail Q&As, small and engaging branded videos made with tools like Swish, tutorials, and other “soft-sell” types.
- Search Engine. One of the first things consumers do when researching a product is a basic Google search. Search engine advertising helps position companies to be noticed quicker. Paid search advertising will place ads at the top of results, but organic methods like search engine optimization (SEO) help your website place higher in search results.
- Display ads. Display or banner ads are generally static images or graphics that feature your branding and a quick call to action. These ads are usually placed on other websites and are used to generate new leads and expand your exposure.
It’s worth keeping in mind that your strategy for digital advertising should usually be a mix of these channels, and none of them is mutually exclusive.
Videos are increasingly popular because they can be distributed on their own (on YouTube or Vimeo), embedded in your website and blogs, or even used for social media posts.
How to Choose the Right Digital Advertising:
It can be confusing to find the right balance of digital advertising channels, but it’s possible with a little foresight. Instead of trying to do everything at once, ask yourself these questions to focus your strategy:
- Where are your audience’s online destinations? Even with social media, different demographics might prefer different platforms. Understanding how your target audience behaves on the web will help you hone your strategies to achieve the best possible results.
- How cost-effective is this channel? Different forms of digital advertising will exhibit diverse results. Depending on your budget, tools like PPC or paid search advertising may not be viable. However, social media and advertising don’t have to cost you anything. By using tools like Swish, you can create short, engaging branded videos that you can deploy across different media at no extra cost.
- What ROI is this advertising generating? This is parallel to the previous question, but it’s important, nonetheless. If a certain channel is slightly more expensive, but it delivers a greater return on every dollar you spend, it may be worthwhile to invest a little more in it.
Make Sure Your Message Reaches Your Audience
Digital advertising is increasingly a central part of most marketing strategies, and you shouldn’t be afraid to dive in. Take the time to find the right balance of channels and tactics to begin building a marketing strategy that helps your brand shine online.