Even if you’ve never used paid online advertising for your business or non-profit, you’ve no doubt seen them, those little contextual ads that pop up when you’re browsing on Google or scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You may have wondered how much it costs to run ads on platforms like these, and more importantly: are they effective? Don’t people just scroll past them? Does anyone actually click on them?
Why Should I Use Paid Online Advertising?
The first question we get from a lot of clients is: why should I pay for online advertising? According to Ad Week, Internet advertising will overtake traditional advertising (i.e. radio, television, and print) very soon. More and more organizations, from the very large to the very small, are learning that paid online advertising shows a higher return on your investment than traditional advertising.
Consider the following trends in the U.S.:
- 80% of people now shop online before making a purchase
- 66% of people make decisions about a brand based on a company’s website
- 50% of people now shop on mobile devices at least some of the time
It’s a given that you want to advertise where people will see your ads. More and more people are looking online before making a purchase or are skipping the physical storefront altogether to shop with the convenience of their favorite device.
If you want to reach today’s consumers, you need to be advertising online.
Okay, Which Platforms Should I Use?
For our clients, we recommend two main paid options: Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. These two platforms are the most affordable options available to businesses and non-profits and work on similar principles: pay-per-click or PPC (AdWords) and pay-per-impression or PPI (Facebook). Typically, you want to avoid PPI advertising as it can be difficult to tell when a consumer has seen your ad, but Facebook provides detailed information on not only impressions, meaning how many times your ad has loaded, but also on how many people have directly interacted with it.
How Much Does Paid Online Advertising Cost?
The other great thing about paid online advertising is that it allows you to tightly control your budget. In fact, both Facebook and Google AdWords are built around very specific budgeting requirements. Here are some of the most common associated costs:
- Facebook 3-day “boosts” to individual posts: $5 per post
- Ongoing Facebook Ad campaigns: start at $5 per day
- Google Adwords Clicks: average $1-2 per click
As you can see, paid online advertising is considerably more affordable when compared to traditional advertising, which requires you to pay a set rate and hope for the best. Paid online advertising allows you to tightly control how much you pay and thus boasts a much lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA), on average.
How Targeted Is Paid Online Advertising?
Finally, the other advantage of this form of advertising is how targeted it is. Facebook allows you to pinpoint the people who will see your ads based on their interests, past consumer behavior, location, and a variety of other factors. AdWords is tied to keywords, so when set up properly, Google Ads will display whenever a user searches for a particular phrase. You can also target Google Ads to a particular location if you’re a local or regional business with a defined service area.
As With All Things, It Starts With Your Goals
Are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads the only paid online advertising options anyone should ever use? Absolutely not. We’re currently trying out LinkedIn’s relatively new Sales Navigator as a key venue for locating leads to small businesses and non-profits on LinkedIn and will write an upcoming post about our experiences with that platform.
What options you choose will depend highly on your business goals. The first criteria is whether you are trying to reach consumers through search traffic or a social media platform. All of the major social media platforms have their own advertising options now, so if you’re trying to reach users on a specific platform, you’ll need to use that platform’s advertising options.
Look for some upcoming posts from us talking about the specific benefits and drawbacks of Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.