Do you ever wonder what digital advertising is all about? What makes it such an essential component in today’s marketing world? And most importantly, how can you harness its power to connect with your target audience and accomplish your business objectives?
In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of digital advertising – exploring its nature, the reasons for its importance, and its difference from traditional advertising. Additionally, we’ll share some real-life examples of digital ads, providing you with a glimpse of their practical applications.
What is Digital Advertising?
Digital advertising employs digital technology to convey marketing messages. That’s how it’s different from traditional advertising.
This marketing approach aims to generate awareness for a business’s products or services and drive increased traffic. Unlike traditional marketing, digital advertising operates exclusively in the digital realm.
In simpler terms, digital advertising refers to promoting products or services online. To distinguish digital advertising from traditional marketing, it’s essential to recognize the digital advertising metrics that set it apart from its conventional counterpart.
Several factors differentiate digital advertising from traditional advertising. Firstly, digital advertising offers more measurability in an ad campaign than traditional advertising. Moreover, digital media enables interactivity, allowing users to engage with online ads in ways not possible with traditional media.
Lastly, the ever-changing nature of digital media makes it a more dynamic and adaptable advertising medium compared to traditional media.
Digital Advertising vs. Digital Marketing
Digital advertising and digital marketing, though related, are distinct concepts. Digital advertising entails the implementation of digital channels within a strategy to promote or market a product or service.
Conversely, digital marketing encompasses a wider scope. It involves comprehending the online market/target audience and utilizing online channels to promote brands, products, and services, ultimately fostering brand awareness.
Digital marketing strategies go beyond advertising, incorporating search engine optimization, email marketing, market research, and data processing—manually or with AI assistance—among other components.
Simply put, digital advertising is an activity that belongs under the umbrella of digital marketing. It’s only one part of many digital marketing strategies that fall under digital marketing.
The Benefits of Digital Advertising for Your Business
According to a recent study by eMarketer, Digital advertising spending is expected to grow 13.6% this year to $239 billion. This data only shows us the viability of investing in digital ads for businesses.
Digital advertising offers numerous advantages for businesses. First, it enables your business or brand to connect with a vast audience. Second, digital advertising facilitates targeting specific demographics.
Third, it is a remarkably cost-effective advertising method. Fourth, digital advertising supplies measurable results that allow you to assess the success of your campaigns.
Lastly, the versatility of digital advertising allows the promotion of a diverse range of products and services, making it suitable for any market.
- Can reach a big population
- Can target a specific type of audience
- An affordable way to advertise
- Offers measurability
The 6 Common Examples of Digital Advertising
There are several digital ad formats. But there are a few common types: social media, paid search, native, display, audio advertising, and retargeting. In some brands, a digital ad campaign can employ multiple types of digital ads for one product or service.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising (SMA) is the most prevalent type of digital or online advertising. It involves utilizing social platforms within a digital advertising strategy to deliver promotional messages via social media ads.
Various forms of SMA exist, such as sponsored posts, promoted tweets or hashtags, and ads displayed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest. These digital ads are often referred to as ‘paid ads.’
The image below might trigger memories of numerous instances where you’ve encountered social media ads while browsing your preferred social platform.
As you scroll through your timeline—whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other platforms—you may come across a post from a business or public figure account that you don’t follow. This, right here, exemplifies a social media ad.
The primary benefit of SMA lies in its ability to enable businesses to pinpoint their target audience with remarkable precision, leading to highly profitable ad campaigns. Advertisers can focus on users according to their interests, demographics, and online behavior.
This characteristic makes social media advertising an exceptionally efficient method for connecting with prospective customers without substantial investment in ad spend.
Paid Search Advertising
Paid search advertising is a type of search engine marketing that employs paid search engine results to advertise a business. Many marketers prioritize this form of a digital ad in campaigns targeting search engines.
For instance, when someone conducts a search on platforms like Google or Bing, they receive a list of results ranked by relevance.
At the top of these search results are the paid search results, which advertisers fund and promote through various techniques, including keyword bidding and enhanced listings.
However, these are not to be confused with the search results below the paid results. These results ranked high because of search engine optimization and not paid advertising.
Have you ever searched for something on Google and noticed a series of search results with a small ‘Ad‘ icon next to the site’s link? These kinds of search results are an example of paid search advertising.
This approach to search engine marketing is highly effective in reaching potential customers already intrigued by your offerings. Moreover, advertisers can tailor their ads to users based on location, age, gender, and interests.
Native advertising is an online advertising strategy that looks like an editorial or an article.
Native ads are designed to match the look and feel of the website or app they appear on. This makes them less intrusive and more likely to be clicked on by users.
Native ads can be deemed subtle and clever, as they seamlessly integrate with a site’s content presentation. These ads are frequently found on blogs and news sites, which typically experience substantial site traffic.
As you peruse various articles on a blog site, the likelihood of encountering a native ad is quite high.
In recent years, native advertising has gained popularity due to its efficacy in promoting brands or products. Native ads yield higher click-through rates compared to conventional display ads and are more prone to being shared on social media.
This makes native advertising an excellent method for connecting with potential customers who might not have encountered your brand previously.
Display or online graphic advertising is a common form of digital advertising used across popular digital marketing channels. Digital marketers utilize digital banners and other visual elements to promote a business or product.
Display ads are typically situated on high-traffic websites, such as news websites and popular blogs, as well as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
This type of advertising is often what comes to mind when people think of online advertising. Examples include websites and applications featuring banner ads, pop-ups, and promotional image tiles throughout the web.
Consider visiting Photopea’s website – you’ll easily identify display ads by observing the online advertisements positioned on the sides of the page.
The primary benefit of display advertising is its capacity to rapidly and effortlessly reach a vast audience. Display ads also enable businesses to target their audience based on demographic details such as age, gender, and interests.
Nonetheless, this form of digital advertisement can be costly and may not always yield sales effectively.
Audio advertising is a type of digital advertising that employs digital audio files to advertise a business or product. Audio ads can be featured on websites, within apps, and across social media channels, ranging from as brief as 10 seconds to as lengthy as 30 minutes.
For non-premium users of music streaming platforms such as Spotify and similar services, interruptions between listening to favorite albums and playlists for ad playback are quite common.
Occasionally, these audio digital ads originate from the streaming platform itself, while other times, the hosts of your favorite podcasts may narrate the advertisement.
Audio ads provide an excellent opportunity to connect with potential customers who might not encounter your brand or product through other advertising channels. They’re also effective in building brand awareness and fostering relationships with prospective customers.
Audio ads can promote a diverse range of products and services, encompassing digital products, physical items, and various services.
If your brand operates its own online show or podcast, incorporating audio advertising into your ad campaign is essential. It requires no ad spend and is incredibly simple to implement.
Retargeting is a digital advertising strategy that employs cookies to monitor the actions of website visitors. When an individual visits a website, a cookie is placed on their computer, containing information about their activity on the site.
Given its definition, it’s safe to say that we’ve all encountered or observed this form of advertisement more than once. These types of digital ads are responsible for millions of people feeling as though their computers are keeping tabs on them.
As amusing and peculiar as it may seem, this is a clear illustration of retargeting’s effectiveness.
Have you ever logged onto Facebook and seen a digital ad related to something you just searched for on Google moments earlier? That’s a prime example of retargeting in action.
When a visitor leaves the site, the cookie targets them with digital ads on other websites by matching the cookies of those websites to the ones placed on the visitor’s computer.
Retargeting serves as a highly effective method for reaching potential customers who may have previously encountered your brand or product but didn’t make a purchase.
- Social Media Advertising
- Paid Search Advertising
- Native Advertising
- Display Advertising
- Audio Advertising
The 3 Fundamental Pillars of Digital Advertising
For a successful digital advertising campaign, any ad manager must recognize the three pillars of paid ads: the offer, the audience, and the creative.
To better illustrate how paid ads can be employed in your business, let’s break down the three pillars with a sample scenario. Imagine you are starting a meal-planning business.
Here’s how you would utilize paid ads in a meal-planning enterprise.
Before you create a paid ad for your meal planning business, first, ask these questions:
- What is the core offer of my meal-planning business?
- What will be my entry point offer?
- How will I upsell from the entry point offer to the core offer?
By asking these basic questions, you can form a concrete picture of what it is that you want to sell to your customers and, at the same time, what it is that you want to highlight in your ad.
After you identify your meal planning business’s entry point offers and core offers, next, determine who your audience is really. To help with that, work around the following questions:
- What does my ideal customer look like? (age, job, salary, location)
- What are my customers interested in? (favorite food, reality shows, brands)
- What pain points will my offer solve for them?
- What does my customer want to achieve with my type of business?
Using a customer avatar is an organized way of answering all of these questions. A customer avatar can help you detail the type of customer your offer targets.
With a customer avatar, you know who you’re selling to and not selling to.
When you’ve already identified your offer and your audience, it is now time to design your creative. The term ‘creative’ refers to the images, visuals, and messaging of the ad you’ll make for your meal planning business.
The creative is the ad itself.
Before you design your creative, ponder on these:
- How can my ad evoke a reaction or connection with my customer?
- How can I present my product/service in a captivating manner?
- What critical information should I include in the ad to create a solid first impression?
- How can my audience create a meaningful connection with my brand?
Like the name, you have to get creative in this stage. You have to think outside of the box about how you can capture the interests of those who stumble upon your ad.
It’s important to remember that people don’t spend hours looking at an ad. This is why it’s important for your ad to, at the very least, be able to answer the questions above.
The fourth and final step is to measure your results. How many people saw your ad? How many people clicked on your ad? How many people bought your product or service? These are all important metrics to track when measuring your online advertising performance.
Now that you know the basics of digital advertising, it’s time to put it into action in your business!
Digital advertising is a vast and constantly evolving field. Nevertheless, some fundamental aspects remain consistent. In this article, we have presented an easy-to-understand overview of digital advertising for beginners.
We addressed questions such as: What are some examples of digital advertising? What are the four types of digital advertising? What is the purpose of digital advertising? And what are the primary advertising mediums?
Lastly, we examined the three pillars of paid advertising that contribute to a competitive digital advertising strategy.
If you’re interested in venturing into digital marketing or wish to gain more knowledge about digital advertising, this article serves as an excellent start.
Brian Shelton is an entrepreneur, marketer, and life-long learner committed to helping businesses achieve impactful results. He founded Grow Predictably to provide tailored marketing strategies to generate predictable, profitable growth. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Brian has helped businesses, large and small. reach their goals and drive positive change in the world.