Navigating the complexities of online advertising

Once upon a time, advertising was a simple affair between the brand, the publisher, and the customer. The brand paid the publisher to get its message across to the audience. The audience, impressed by the message, purchased the product, thereby generating revenue for the brand. It was a fairly uncomplicated and straightforward cycle. Cut to the twenty-first century, it’s not the case anymore — in no small part thanks to the rise of the internet. Believe it or not, while it may seem simple, online advertising is complex, layered, and when done right, has the potential to take your brand to the next level.

While cracking online advertising may be complex, it need not be daunting. I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to help you navigate the process better.

  • Set the objectives and audience

Online advertising is no different from any normal marketing campaign. Define what you want to achieve and who you want to reach. This will set the course for the rest of your efforts. I’d say be specific with your audience. Segment them well. Start with geographical locations, age, gender, occupations, interests, and other socio-cultural factors. The narrower your audience, the better will be the results. If time permits, create buyer personas to understand their behavioral patterns. This will give an in-depth insight into your customer’s needs and wants, helping you create effective ad campaigns. 

  • Decide marketing channels and budget

Using the research done in step one, determine how and where you’ll find your audience. Find out which channel/platforms will grab more attention or gain more conversions. For example, Instagram has more of a millennial and GenZ audience, while Facebook caters to an older generation. Weigh in all these factors before making a decision, as this will help you optimise your ads in a powerful way. I suggest the usage of platforms such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, and more to gather important information for landing on these decisions. Bonus tip: Don’t hesitate to explore affiliate and email marketing opportunities. 

  • Leverage SEO and SEM 

Let me put it bluntly — if you’re putting out content online, you need SEM (paid) and SEO (organic). Combine on page, technical, and off-page SEO to ensure optimised web pages, backend, and brand reputation. And when it comes to SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, conduct a thorough keyword search and craft campaigns that target the best keywords for your industry or product — yes, it might be pricey, but the long-term results are worth it! Leverage both strategies for your online marketing campaigns, and you’re bound to see results that exceed expectations.

Track and monitor the performance
There are a number of metrics you can track to check the progress of your campaign. For social media, track the rate of engagement for each platform, such as number of shares and retweets. Similarly, track the number of comments and get involved in the conversation — social listening tools are a great way to do this, helping you track brand mentions and gauge the pulse of online chatter. For emails, make sure to note your open rates, and if they’re low, take it as a sign that you need more engaging subject lines. Also remember that while there will always be people who unsubscribe to your emails, track the numbers carefully to ensure they remain below 1%.

Now you know what you need to do — all that’s left is for you to go out and do it! Put your brand on the (online) map, and watch as the leads flow in!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Tina Garg
Founder and CEO at Pink Lemonade, an Integrated Marketing & Communications agency in Bangalore.
Tina launched the company in 2011, and today, it is known for its award-winning work in creative & business communications, and digital services. She comes with extensive experience in the creative industry, and is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs.

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