Digital Advertising: How to Choose an Ad Platform
CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
No single ad platform appeals to all audiences. Different demographics are on different platforms. First, know your audience through research, looking at data, and by creating buyer personas – fictional representations of your ideal customers. Buyer Personas help you understand your audiences and their pain points so that you can connect with them on a human level with tailored content and messaging in your campaigns. Here are three examples of buyer personas to help you create your own. Take a look at your analytics data to see who is currently engaging with your social media and website. Then, do your research and figure out which platforms are best for your target audiences.
CONSIDER YOUR OBJECTIVE
Are you aiming to make online sales? Get people to come to your store? Get new email subscribers? Increase brand awareness? This is a very important first step because some platforms are better than others depending on what your objectives are and where your prospects are in the buyer journey. For example, advertising on Google Search is best for targeting intent, meaning someone has the intent to buy a product or service. Facebook and Instagram are great for spreading awareness of a product or service to someone who is more likely to be interested.
CONSIDER THE AD PLATFORM
When it comes to choosing an ad platform, make sure you know the focus of each platform. Knowing why people are on the platforms in the first place will help you inform the type of content to advertise. Twitter is great for sharing updates and being a part of the conversation; Instagram is best for visually engaging content that tells your story; Facebook is meant for connecting with people, and is convenient for targeting the people most likely to buy your product or service; Pinterest is a good option for products targeting women; LinkedIn is known for B2B marketing; and so on. Don’t forget to consider advertising platforms Bing, Reddit, and Snapchat, as well as the many alternative ad networks out there.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Let’s say you own a mattress company and your objective is to increase online sales. After evaluating your target audience, you create a buyer persona. Let’s say one of your personas is Jenny, a 33-year-old mother shopping for her and her husband. After a deep analysis of her pain points, needs, and how you can help them, you can start to develop hypotheses for where they might look for the perfect mattress for them, which you know you have.
Since people typically only shop for a mattress when they need one, it’s a safe bet that they aren’t going to go to Facebook or Instagram at first—they’re more likely to search on Google or Amazon. In this case, it is best to advertise on Google Search or Amazon by bidding for keywords.
However, upon searching they start to realize there are so many options available, and since they want the mattress to be the right fit for them in the long- term, they start to do some more research by comparing you to competitors in order to find the best mattress. For example, maybe they go to Pinterest for ideas of the style they want first or read a few review blogs on mattress types.
This is where cross-channel marketing is useful – placing your ad in front of a potential customer across various online touchpoints enough so they will remember your brand. You can remarket to your website visitors with Facebook Ads and the Google Display network to show videos or banner ads to in-market audiences and previous website visitors as they are searching around the internet. Getting your brand in from of customers more than once will increase the chances that they remember you. Research shows that more than two-thirds (70%) of consumers look for known brands when doing product searches online, followed closely only by free shipping and discounts. Ads will get your brand in front of consumers, then if they don’t convert right away you can retarget them with a discount offer ad.