In digital marketing, there are a lot of moving parts. From SEO, to email marketing, it can be easy to lose track of what role these tactics play in your overall strategy (and whether they’re actually working for your business).
To understand why you should be investing in paid advertising, you should first consider the role it plays in the larger media landscape.
What Role Does Paid Advertising Play in Overall Strategy?
Broadly speaking, the role of different marketing strategies can be broken down into 3 forms of media: earned media, owned media, and paid media.
Earned media refers to any exposure or attention that a brand or business isn’t paying for. Examples of earned media include positive word-of-mouth, news coverage, social media shares, online reviews, and other organic mentions.
Owned media refers to content that your brand puts out on its own properties. Examples of owned media include your own website, blog, social media pages, email newsletters, and other digital properties that are owned and operated by your brand.
Paid media refers to any exposure or attention that a brand or business is paying for to reach a desired target audience. Examples of paid media include traditional advertising channels such as television, radio, print media, and digital channels like paid advertising.
Overview: What is Paid Advertising?
Paid advertising specifically refers to any form of online advertising that a company pays for. There are many different types of paid advertising, primarily: search ads, display ads, video ads, CCTV ads, and native ads.
Similarly, there are many different advertising platforms to choose from. There are roughly 2 categories of advertising platforms: “walled gardens” and “the open internet”.
A “walled garden” is a term used to describe an advertising platform where a single company controls and operates both the content and the advertising space within the platform. Some of the most common walled garden platforms are Google Ads, Amazon ads, and Facebook ads (as well as other social media advertising platforms).
The Open Internet
“The open internet” is a term used to describe advertising platforms that operate outside of closed environments (walled gardens). These platforms facilitate the distribution of ads across a wide range of websites, apps, and other digital properties that are not controlled by a single company or platform.
It’s impossible to list all of the websites, apps, etc. that participate in open internet advertising. The open internet accounts for 66% of the time spent online, compared to walled gardens, which only account for 34%. Let’s just say, for example, that you’re reading an online news article from CNN, Fox News, or Buzzfeed, and you see an ad – normally, that’s considered open-internet advertising.
Why You Should Invest in Paid Advertising
Ultimately, you as a marketing director need to weigh your earned, owned, and paid media against each other to figure out what gaps you have in your marketing strategies. Here are 4 main reasons why you should be investing in paid media alongside earned and owned:
1. Granular Targeting
Paid advertising allows businesses to choose who they target with their ads. Businesses can target customers based on factors like demographics, interests, and location. For example, when a business creates an ad for a product or service, it can set the parameters of who sees the ad – male or female, age range, etc.
By carefully crafting ads that are tailored to their desired demographic – such as gender, age range, job titles, and geographic locations – businesses can ensure that their message reaches the right people.
For instance, a business selling men’s shaving products will likely want to focus their ad campaigns on men. Paid advertising can be used to target a specific demographic to maximize the return on investment from their ad campaigns. This could include targeting men of a certain age, those with certain hobbies or interests, or even those who live in a particular geographic area.
2. Fits Anywhere in the Marketing Funnel
Paid advertising is a powerful tool for any business that wants to reach out to customers at any stage of the marketing funnel. Whether you want to target potential customers who are just getting to know your product or those who have already made a purchase, paid ads can be used to hit business goals at any point in the funnel.
Here is a funnel-by-funnel breakdown of what paid advertising can accomplish for your business:
At the Top of the Funnel:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase brand recall
- Increase brand affinity
At the Middle of the Funnel:
- Influence consideration
- Increase purchase intent
At the Bottom of the Funnel:
- Increase conversions
- Influence future purchases through retargeting
3. Use to Collect Market Insights
Paid advertising can be a valuable tool for collecting market insights in several ways:
- Ad performance tracking. By targeting a specific audience, you can gauge their response to your ads and gather insights about their preferences, needs, and behaviors through ad performance tracking. Use metrics and analytics provided by advertising platforms to monitor the performance of your ads. Analyze metrics like click-through rates, conversions, cost per acquisition, quality score, and other relevant data points. This data can provide insights into which ads resonate with your target audience, helping you optimize your messaging and creative elements.
- A/B testing. Implement A/B testing with your paid ads to experiment with different variations. Test different ad copies, visuals, call-to-actions, landing pages, or targeting options to gauge which elements perform better. These insights can inform your overall marketing strategy and help optimize future campaigns.
- Ad feedback and comments. Monitor comments, feedback, and responses from users who engage with your paid ads. This can provide valuable qualitative insights into how your target audience perceives your brand, products, or services. Pay attention to sentiments expressed in comments, questions asked, or concerns raised to identify areas for improvement or potential opportunities.
- Landing page data capture. Combine paid advertising with a landing page that captures data from users. For instance, you can heatmap your landing page to see which elements visitors interact with the most. This allows you to collect specific data points about which parts of your service or company visitors from the ad were most interested in.
4. Instant Results
Organic efforts, such as SEO and content marketing, require lots of time and effort before you can see any real results. With paid advertising, you can start seeing a return on your investment almost immediately. This makes it much easier to track the effectiveness of your campaign and adjust it accordingly. Additionally, with paid advertising, you have more control over the timing and delivery of the message. Ad campaigns can be quickly set up and launched, enabling businesses to see immediate results regarding ad impressions, clicks, and conversions.
Are Paid Ads Worth It?
While earned media and owned media channels have their benefits, paid advertising allows marketers to have more control over their marketing efforts, target specific audiences, and achieve specific objectives more efficiently. Paid ads are absolutely worth the investment as they complement other marketing strategies and are an effective tool for driving business growth.
However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness and speed of results may vary depending on factors such as the competitiveness of the market, the ad quality score, and whether the chosen advertising platform is the ideal platform for your target audience. Advertisers need to continually optimize their campaigns to maximize their ROI and drive long-term success.
Want to increase ROI with paid ads? Download our free eBook, What Is a PPC Campaign? 6 Simple Steps to Success, to gain access to our implementation plan for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.