An Introduction to Digital Advertising

We live in a world that is super-connected thanks to the rise of Internet technology and other forms of new media, such as social media. Traditional marketing and advertising channels like print newspapers are no longer as effective as they once were. As much as 36% of the worlds' population today turns to the Internet to find virtually everything they want and this figure is growing by the day. Savvy marketers and businesses are leveraging the Internet through digital advertising to win more business. If you want to attract customers for your business, you need to go where people are and market your product and or services there. The Internet offers invaluable advertising opportunities and key benefits for your business.

Benefits of digital advertising for businesses

One key benefit of online advertising for business is the ability to target any market or demographic you want. Since more and more people are online, the prospects for digital advertising are virtually limitless and quite appealing. Consider the following Social media statistics as revealed by AdAge in 2012:

  • 77% of people interact with brands on Facebook by looking at posts and updates
  • 17% share news and experiences with others about the brand
  • 13% post updates about brands they have connected with
  • 56% said they would recommend a brand after becoming a fan on Facebook
  • 34% of digital marketers have generated leads from Twitter
  • 43% of all consumers who are internet-connected use social

Digital advertising allows you to reach a wide net of customers and boost your business. Any serious marketer and business cannot afford to ignore this marketing avenue.

Most effective types of digital ads

Digital ads used to promote products and services online include text, pictures and videos. These ads come in many forms some of which are more effective than others.

1. Banner ads

Banner ads are the most traditional way of advertising online. The banner ad is usually a wide and short or tall and narrow visual advertisement that is displayed on a website page in the form of a JPEG, PNG or GIF image. The image links to the advertiser's website and may include animation, sound or short video to increase conversion. Although banner ads are easily ignored by savvy Internet users, they often catch the attention of ordinary Internet surfers.

2. Interstitial ads

Interstitial ads generally appear as an "in between" web page before or after an expected web content page loads. For example, if you are searching for a video of a certain beauty product online and you click a link on the product website, ads for related beauty products may appear before the web content page loads. Some people subconsciously ignore these ads and focus on the content they are looking for, but others do consider the related product recommendations and buy.

3. Social media ads

An incredible 98% of 18 to 24-year-olds use social media. Other age groups are steadily catching up and you will be hard pressed to find anyone today who is not on at least one social media network like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. It's easy to see why advertising on these networks is so effective and lucrative. Social media ads allow for two-way communication between a company and consumer in a way that is exciting. It's safe to say that the consumer holds more power through this ad channel.

4. Pay-per-click ads

Pay-per-click ads are paid online advertising programs that require payment only when the ad is clicked through to the advertiser's website. These ads require keyword analysis to ensure the words and phrases used in the ad and those found on the site the ads appear match. Market and search engine company rules and regulations apply to ensure fair play, such as Google Adwords.

Digital advertising best practices

As with most business efforts, there are some best practices you should follow for best results in your digital advertising campaigns.

  • Use high contrast colours: - Key elements in the ad copy and background color should have high contrast for easy absorption and for the ad to stand out.
  • Reduce ad clutter: - Ads should be simple and free of excessive creative design elements.
  • Use larger-sized ads: - Bigger ads tend to have a bigger impact and should be given preference.
  • Increase frequency of ad impressions: - The more times people see an ad, the more likely they are to act on it. Aim for at least five impressions per target audience.

Bottom line

Be relevant. Relevance is critical in digital marketing. People go online for a reason. Keep their desires, hopes and aspirations central to your digital advertising goals and you will set yourself up for success.