It’s impossible to open your laptop or turn on your phone these days without seeing various forms of digital advertising, and if it’s a channel you haven’t yet worked into your marketing strategy, you could be missing out on reaching your key audiences.
Where to start
As with all of our marketing efforts, we like to start by setting goals. Identify a key audience segment you’d like to reach with your advertising, define a target number of new users to your website, or set a goal for number of impressions.
If you’re new to the world of digital advertising and are looking to get started in house, boosted Facebook posts can be a good jumping off point. Many organizations are already familiar with posting to social media, and boosting a post is taking that effort just one step further. This content will be seen by your existing fanbase, and you have the opportunity to customize the new target audience you’re hoping to reach as well. Once you get your footing, Smart Display campaigns on Google are a great way to branch out. Google makes it easy to adjust targeting based on your goals.
Best channels for building brand awareness
From a brand awareness standpoint, Display and YouTube video campaigns on Google can have a big impact. You might also be familiar with Search based campaigns (think about all those top results when you search for something on Google that are marked *Ad*). These are typically a better fit for when you have a larger budget to support your digital advertising efforts, since costs tend to be higher.
Beyond boosting, Facebook can also be a great medium for either a brand awareness campaign or a traffic based campaign aimed at driving visitors to your website. We often recommend leaning toward the latter since you have the added value of getting audiences to learn more about your brand via your website in addition to gaining brand visibility with the ads.
Develop a schedule
A consistent presence is ideal for building brand awareness, but if you don’t have the budget to support a continuous campaign, running your campaign for a few weeks each month enables you to maintain some presence and stay top-of-mind among your audience.
This might also be the time to consider a retargeting campaign to complement your initial digital campaigns. These are the campaigns you see after you visit a certain website or search for a product, and then you see their ads over the next several days. Retargeting allows you to run your initial campaigns for a shorter period of time and then rely on retargeting so that you can stay in front of previous site visitors longer. This is where we like to give a reminder that your ad campaigns are customizable – you can set retargeting ads to only appear if someone is searching on specific pages of your site, or limit the time frame for which ads continue to appear after the initial search.
You might see a lot of ads for products, but digital ads can be a valuable tool for promoting brand visibility as well. Look at ways your creative can stand out; utilize color or images to capture attention. If you have existing video content, or the ability to produce video that is decent quality, it might be a good option to incorporate into your campaign.
Keep in mind that your ad should have minimal text and a call to action. Sometimes it’s appropriate for this to be as simple as “Learn More.” Creative can also be a good opportunity to address concerns or questions that your potential audience might have. Since you’re keeping text to a minimum, you might try providing tips (like “5 Ways to Engage Your Audience and Meet Your Fundraising Goals”) or asking a question (“Is Hospice Right for You and Your Family?”) and directing viewers to a landing page that addresses those questions/concerns.
One of the best things about digital advertising is that you have more visibility into the data behind your campaigns. So while the placements or number of impressions you will receive is not guaranteed (like many negotiated direct buys), you can see how many impressions, visitors to the website and costs per click have been delivered by the campaigns. An added bonus – with pay-per-click media in particular you typically only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your site.
Digital advertising via Google Ads and Facebook Ads allows you to add additional layers of targeting to get really specific and more closely target your desired audience. This can narrow your targeting by selecting things like specific interests or by reducing geography to zip code levels or down to a 1-mile radius around a specific location.
You also can exclude placements (remove specific websites, channels and topic categories so that your ads don’t appear among that content) from Display and YouTube advertising to help improve your click through rates and lower costs if needed to drive more people to your site.
Fluent IMC is a Maine marketing agency specializing in integrated marketing communications. Our expertise ranges from brand strategy and marketing planning to digital marketing and online advertising to public relations and communications.