A Complete Guide to Online Channels

by Danielle Bloom

4 min read

Online advertising has leveled the playing field by giving small businesses, entrepreneurs and sellers the same tools as companies with large marketing budgets. Online ad campaigns can be small and scaled up quickly if there is a positive response, making them cost-effective. Additionally, online advertising can also be used to market-test ideas to determine if they are viable before investing time and money into product development.

Using different channels such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit allows you to target ads precisely based on user data. The first step in a successful online ad campaign is to pick the right channel. Each service offers a different audience with varying levels of detail on users as well as a different suite of tools.

Online Advertising Primer

While each channel is unique in its own way, they all provide analytics regarding the ads’ impressions, cost-per-click, click-through-rate and conversion in order to assess performance. These metrics will allow you to compare performance between different advertising platforms.

An ad’s impression count is the number of times it is viewed. The cost per click is how much you must pay every time someone clicks on your ad to learn more about your product. Most advertising channels charge based on a combination of impressions and clicks. The cost per click varies based on the competitiveness of your niche.

The click-through rate is the number of people who click on the ad divided by the number of people who view the ad. This metric will help determine whether the ad is well-designed or marketed to the right audience. The conversion is basically how many people click the ad and then take action, which could mean that they buy a product or sign up for an email list, depending on the nature of the advertisement. Conversions are the most important part of online advertising because of their impact on revenues.

Google AdWords

Advertising on Google entails bidding on search terms. Your ad comes up in the search engine results, and you are charged if the user clicks on your ad. Make sure that there is interest in your product by navigating to Google Adwords KeyWord Suggestion Tool. This tool will help you find the best compromise between value and popular search terms related to your product.

If people are not searching for terms similar to your product or service, then Google AdWords is not the right channel to use. The most lucrative online ad campaigns are with popular keywords that are underserved in terms of advertising, leading to cheap costs and high conversion rates.

Google AdWords offers the largest potential interested audience in your product as long as people are searching for information about it. Ad campaigns can be launched for as little as $20. This gives you the chance to experiment and find out if Google AdWords works for you.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads can be targeted precisely. Facebook has a tremendous amount of information on users going down to hobbies, browsing history, demographics and location. You can create unique ads to highlight aspects of a product for different markets, which can lead to [higher conversion rates] (http://digitalpublishing101.com/digital-marketing-101/digital-marketing-toolbox/part-3-email-and-online-advertising/online-advertising-basics/). These ads show up in users’ newsfeeds.

Like Google, you can get started with low-cost campaigns to test whether the ads are worth the investment. While you may not find a worthwhile return on investment for Facebook ads, your business should at least create a Facebook page. When people like your business’s page, they will start seeing your posts in their newsfeeds. When Facebook users like a post on your page, it may show up in their friends’ newsfeeds as well. A well-managed Facebook page will allow you to connect with your fans and reach interested customers.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is the best place to advertise to sell professional services or to other businesses. LinkedIn offers a variety of advertising options, such as text ads, dynamic ads and display ads. Ads are targeted based on user information, which can be quite specific, given the knowledge LinkedIn has about users’ career histories. These ads can be targeted by location, company, industry or job title. Additionally, LinkedIn can let you customize the ad to incorporate elements of the person’s profile into the advertisement, which results in a unique ad for each person who sees the ad.

Reddit Ads

Reddit is a website with tens of thousands of communities devoted to almost every imaginable topic. It has a tremendous amount of traffic and allows you to reach a targeted audience. Reddit is largely uncensored, so many marketers avoid it completely. However, this creates opportunity, as ad inventory is cheaper on Reddit. A Reddit ad is basically buying the first post of a forum. You are charged a rate for every 1,000 impressions; the rate varies on demand for that particular subtopic.

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