Advertising Online

Want to get noticed online? Paying for online advertising can help you cut through all the information on the internet. The great thing about online advertising is that it can be a lot more targeted and specific, meaning you’ll be better reach the people you want. It could be a useful addition to any communication campaign that’s part of your communications plan.

Wait! Make sure you’re familiar with the Advertising guidelines

Before going any further, make sure you’re familiar with the guidelines for advertising for your organisation. These are specific to your industry and must be adhered to.

How is online advertising different to traditional media?

If you’ve taken out an advert in your local paper, you know that unless you ask your clients, it’s hard to know if people see it, who they are, or if they take any sort of action on it. This means you can’t be confident that the right people are seeing your ad. Another issue is that your local paper may only come out once a week and your ad is tucked away at the back amidst other ads.

Online advertising is a lot different, especially when connected to a larger service or website. This is because websites capture a lot of data about the types of people who use their services. This means they can offer targeted options to advertisers which are a lot more specific than traditional media.

For example, you can choose to only advertise to people who live in your local area, are aged between 18-25 and are interested in sport.

This means that you can be more confident the ads you’re paying for are reaching the right audience.

Where can you advertise online?

Most major websites and social networks have advertising options for businesses. Each one is set up differently so it’s best to get started with websites that you know your target audience uses. Generally, Google and Facebook will be the starting point for many.

How does online advertising work?

Online advertising works in two main ways.

  1. You can advertise on a specific website – For example, advertising on Google’s search results or on Facebook means you work specifically with that website. Large websites that have a lot of users’ data will let you target specific demographics of people.
  2. You can advertise on an advertising network for your ads to appear on other websites – Some websites (e.g. news sites, blogs etc) have ads on their website that are supplied by an advertising network. If you create an ad with the advertising network (e.g. Google Adsense), it may also appear on the websites that use the ad network’s services. You can choose the type of websites you would like your ads to appear on. For example, a website about healthy lifestyles may run ads from Google Adsense. If you have an ad on Google Adsense that targets people interested in fitness or health, it may appear on the health lifestyles website.
  3. You may also negotiate directly with websites to promote your website, but make sure you follow the advertising guidelines.

What should we consider when advertising online?

1) Is your audience online?

The reality is that not everyone is online. For example, if you want to communicate with people over 65, advertising on Facebook may not be very effective. However, if you want to target stay-at home parents, it could be a great place to start.

2) Planning is crucial

If you’re paying for advertising space, you want to make sure you get the best return on investment. Optimise your ads through good visuals and good copy, fit for the ad space you're given. You may even want to test different types of ads, images or text to see which performs the best.

3) Have a clear message and call-to-action

When advertising, it’s important that your viewers are compelled to take action. Simply putting your logo and phone number on an ad may not be enough. Make sure your ad has a compelling reason for people to click it.

4) Measuring outcomes takes effort

Measuring your ads' performance will help you improve and understand your return on investment. Make sure you have your measuring tools set up and that you have time to monitor how your ad performs. Google Analytics is a good starting point, along with any tools you're provided with. Setting up tracking codes, website goals and comparing click rates can all take time. But, done well, you will be able to see the benefits of your online activities.