Online advertising is a broad term. Sometimes unhelpfully so. But it encompasses a lot of different factors. And it’s crucial to understand the different types of online advertising out there, because what works for some businesses often doesn’t work for others.
A lot of businesses waste money on their advertising campaigns because they effectively throw lots of different ads out, hoping something sticks. In reality, brands need to accept the current landscape – the sheer amount of content out there has flooded customers’ brains.
Take Google Ads for instance. Search ads have helped Google become the richest advertising company in history, yet research tells us that most people don’t click on sponsored ads. As humans, we place a huge emphasis on trust and the fact is, we don’t feel entirely comfortable with the paid-for spots on a Google search results. We vastly prefer an organic result.
Quite whether that tendency is justified or not is another matter, but businesses are nevertheless throwing money away somewhere along the line. The key to online advertising success lies in the ability to be able to make shrewd strategic decisions. Luckily there are a lot of tools available at our disposal. Tools that analyze data and help us regain some control.
What difference does that make?
Well, consider how advertising has changed. Ads have always been served up out of context. Maybe you’ve had a flyer thrusted into your had, seen a pamphlet fall out of a magazine or had a film interrupted on TV. You’ve not made an active decision to engage with that advert and it’s an incredibly ineffective.
But thanks to our ability to interpret data and take tangible actions, we can be much more precise. We can serve up relevant banner ads that are relative to where the user is and what they’re doing. In essence, these ads enhance the user’s experience, not the reverse.
Also look at Facebook. The Facebook news feed is probably one of the most complex and sophisticated algorithms around. So many websites and apps can use it, but it continues to surface adverts that are completely congruent. Facebook ads work very well because Facebook has mastered the art of finding people who were going to buy certain items anyway and showing them ads after they’ve already made a conscious decision to part with their hard-earned cash. Facebook uses advertising to convert sales, which is the whole point, isn’t it?