Paying for advertising

It can take some time for your website to be indexed by the leading search engines, so what can you do in the short term to get a boost to the traffic finding your site? Aside from using techniques such as manual social media promotion and posting about your site in community notice boards and on forums, the answer is simple – used a paid advertising platform.

Not all platforms are equal

There are many, many, many, platforms to advertise on. All are willing to take your money, different ones are willing to show different kinds of adverts, and none of them are able to guarantee you’ll see any benefit to advertising on their platform.
However, by using an appropriate strategy as detailed below, you can do everything you can to maximize your chances of achieving success.

Text Based

Text based advertising is available on a multitude of websites. The largest are no doubt Google and Bing, but there are smaller sites who often specialize in particular categories, for example vehicle sales, books, food supplies, even adult-rated products. The list is quite extensive.
The benefits of text adverts include the ability to be shown on any device, and the chance to use your sales skills to write compelling copy. Because they are low-bandwidth, you will often be able to get a good deal when using them.
Social media sites offer text-only advertising in addition to other forms, but more on those later.

Image Based

You may be familiar with banner ads and the like, which in former days were often animated and could be quite intrusive. Thankfully, this practice is not as widespread any more, and image based advertising is much easier to get along with. The cost of this type of advertising can be higher than text-only advertising, as with an image you tend to generate more of an impact, plus there is additional bandwidth use to send the picture to the browser. Images work well for some products and industries, and not so well for others. Weight loss photos of before and after results may work well, whereas insurance for accidents might not be such a great use!

Social

Social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have native advertising built-in. This takes the form of text, image, and sponsored posts. Sponsored posts appear in your timeline like any other post, but with a little caption to indicate it is a sponsored advert. With luck, a potential customer will like or follow your post or page based on this.
The cost can be quite reasonable, and the targeting features can be quite specific – on Facebook, for example, you can target your advertising to females between 21 and 30, living in a particular town, who like watching TV and doing yoga. If you’ve got a product for those people, you’ve got an advertising platform to use!
Other social platforms include sites like Reddit, where adverts appear in their app and in the sidebar of the website. While not directly comparable to Facebook, certain demographics tend to use Reddit in preference to Facebook, and so choosing your platform wisely is vital.

Video

Video platforms, for example YouTube, allow various kinds of advertising. Pre-roll videos, similar to commercials you might see on TV, play before the video you want to watch starts, and potentially in the middle too. Image or text based adverts are displayed beside the playing video, and text adverts cover the lower third of the video at certain points. The options for advertising on YouTube are quite extensive!
If you get the right tone, you can do well with these kind of adverts. However, overuse and poorly thought out video adverts can provoke a negative reaction and even parodies. See how many parodies you can find that begin with, “Here in my garage…”, for while the message got out there, it didn’t necessarily have a positive effect.

Research

The key to a successful advertising campaign relies on several factors. First and foremost, conduct your research well. Not only do you need to know what keywords and phrases people might be looking for, you will also need an understanding of your market. How old are they? Where do they live? Are they male or female, or is that not important? Do they drive? Are they young and understand social media, or are they older and struggling to make Facebook do what they want it to?
Do they visit particular websites? If you have something that might be of interest to people who use Reddit, then advertise directly on Reddit itself – don’t worry about Google adverts!
Next, you need to determine what kind of advert will work for that demographic – text, image, video, or a combination?
If it’s text, you’ll need to write the words. If it’s an image or video, you’ll need to design and put together the media. This might be something you can do on your own, or you might need to involve a designer.
At this stage, you’ll also need to consider your budget. If you need third-party help, factor in that cost, and then work out how much you are willing to spend on the actual advertising.
A larger budget will help you to reach more people in a shorter time period, but spreading it out over a number of days, weeks, or even months might be more beneficial to your business. Only you know what you are trying to achieve, so the decision is entirely yours.

The Net Result

In the end, your results will be determined by the amount of research you put in, the demographic you target, but most of all, the amount of money you are willing to spend.

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