Inbound Marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Online Advertising

Photo of Michelle Givens Michelle Givens - September 29, 2017

Online advertising gives you the opportunity to put your message in front of your audience when they're using the internet. This advertising category is available 24/7, allowing you to get the most out of your campaigns. Types of online advertising include ads that show up when someone uses a search engine, banners that appear on websites and sponsored blog posts in online publications.

The Difference Between Online and Offline Advertising

While you may use offline advertising methods to promote your business right now, you're probably interested in learning whether online channels actually help boost your sales.

With offline advertising, it is quite difficult to get in front of only your target customers. This is due to the fact that offline advertising uses tactics that have a broad reach. One example is how billboards display to everyone, not just your target customers.

With online advertising, you can narrow your focus significantly. Display ads can show up for specific demographics or even just for people who previously visited your site. Search advertising is associated with a specific set of keywords, giving you the opportunity to connect with people interested in a particular topic.

The return on investment is also better for online advertising, with 76 percent of retail companies agreeing that digital tactics wield better results. One reason for this is the overall low CPM that online ads have compared to offline ads. You can reach a lot more people for your money through a social network channel or search engine than you can with a radio ad or television commercial.

Online advertising also has the edge when it comes to tracking results. You can't optimize a campaign without knowing the data on the performance of your previous efforts. Analytics software gives you in-depth details on the path online buyers take before they make a purchase.

Attribution with offline channels is more limited, as you may have to rely on coupon codes, custom phone numbers and particular landing pages to track these conversions. The other issue with offline tracking is that you may have to wait to access data. Online ads, on the other hand, update in real time or another frequent interval.

Online advertising offers many ways to get your message in front of the people most likely to make a purchase. Once you learn how to use digital channels to their best effect, you can get more out of your advertising budget.

Ready to get started with online advertising or perfect your existing ads? Download our Google Adwords Campaign Planning Template by clicking the button below!