Digital Advertising 101: An introduction to the digital ad space

Digital advertising is one of the most lucrative sectors around, with businesses across the world spending around $250 billion on the practice every year.

Experts have predicted that the figure will keep rising over the next few years as companies continue to get a healthy return on investment (ROI) from digital ads.

Increasing brand awareness is a major driver for most firms who use digital advertising, while improving sales and boosting repeat purchases are other important considerations.

In addition to those attractive marketing elements, there are numerous other attractive benefits to using digital ads to market a business.

Companies are able to reach their target audience much more effectively, while results tracking is far easier than many other popular forms of advertising.

This data not only highlights how your campaign has performed but also identifies areas where you can improve future digital ads.

In simple terms, digital ads can be targeted to focus on keywords, consumer interests, demographics and remarketing, helping you get a better ROI.

Read on as we take an in-depth look at digital advertising and show you how it can be of benefit for your business.

What is Digital Advertising and Why Use It?

Digital advertising is a targeted marketing strategy designed to ease customers along a path towards completing a purchase with a business.

Companies use digital ads to promote their products and services, increase brand awareness, grow sales, retain customers and much more.

It differs from traditional forms of advertising by utilising digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube to promote goods and/or services.

Digital ads provide firms with tons of useful data they can use to track the performance of campaigns and identify any areas for improvement.

By comparison, if you advertise in a magazine, you can find out how many copies it sold but you have no real way of knowing whether consumers engaged with your ad or otherwise.

Similarly, an advert on a billboard might seem like a great way to spread the word about your business, but knowing how much sales it generates is an impossible task.

Digital advertising gives you the tools to ‘drill down’ into the data to ensure that your campaigns are reaching the right people and giving you the ROI your business needs.

Types of Digital Advertising

Broadly speaking there are four different types of digital advertising you can use in business – Social, Search, Display and Influencer.

Social is perhaps the most commonly used, with networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and others offering easy access to consumers.

By using a mix of written content, images and video, it is easy to run targeted ad campaigns that help to drive sales and generate qualified leads.

Expanding on the video theme, display advertising has become a hugely important part of the digital advertising landscape over the past few years.

Display ads on affiliate websites leverage platforms such as YouTube and Google to get your business in front of the right audience.

Search advertising is also extremely popular, with studies showing that more than three-quarters of consumers research products or services on search engines like Google, Yahoo and others.

Many firms also successfully use influencer advertising as part of their digital strategy, tapping into the trust that the individual has already established to generate sales for your business.

Digital Advertising Technologies

Digital advertising technology, also known as ad tech, is the range of tools and software used by businesses to run strategic digital ad campaigns.

Any company that uses digital ads wants to be sure that these reach their target audience, generate sales and leads, and give them a solid ROI.

Adtech helps advertisers achieve their aims by providing the tools they need to ensure that those demands are consistently met.

There are a wide range of adtech platforms available, including PubMatic, TubeMogul, Media Math, SmartyAds and Simpli.fi.

These can be utilised by companies or agencies to boost ads performance and help to ensure that businesses are getting value for money from their campaigns.

They allow businesses using programmatic advertising to determine whether the messages they are pushing out are effective and where improvements can be made.

In the long term, proper utilisation of these technologies can help businesses control their spend on digital ads and prevent them from wasting resources on ineffectual marketing practices.

Digital Advertising Strategy

A digital advertising strategy is a formulated plan designed to help your business achieve specified goals via different platforms.

While there are numerous elements that go into creating a successful strategy, the most important is gaining a comprehensive understanding of your target audience.

Once you are fully au fait with that side of things, you can start to formulate your aims from your ads and identify the digital tools you will need to achieve them.

From there, you can evaluate your existing digital presence and review which platforms will be most effective in your advertising strategy.

This should include a strategic overview of your website (s), social media profiles, images and video, to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Once you have identified what is working and what doesn’t, you can set about filling the gaps before finalising your paid ad strategy.

With the foundations successfully built, your business will then be ready to implement the plan which should ultimately help to deliver your stated goals.

Future Trends in Digital Advertising

As with any form of marketing, the world of digital advertising is a landscape that is evolving at a rapid rate.

While it has been shown that digital ads can help to build brand awareness, generate sales and leads, and help with customer retention, businesses cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

One frustrating trend is the increasing prevalence of ad blockers – something that can make it difficult for firms to reach their target audience.

However, techniques such as search engine optimisation (SEO) can help your business reach consumers via organic searches.

Market saturation is also a future challenge, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to find ways to stand out from the crowd.

Growing concerns over user privacy is also a trend that companies need to be aware of, particularly in respect of targeted and personalised ads.

Despite this, digital advertising looks set to continue to boom for the foreseeable future and firmly remains one of the most effective forms of marketing.