The Billboards of the Internet

Back when we went places other than our living room, we passed the time on long road trips playing the Alphabet Game. Eagle-eyed competitors elbowed for the best backseat vantage to spot the billboard with the next letter up in the race to the end of the alphabet.

With luck, a placement for Dr. Zacks’s Miracle Goat Gland Cure would come right after a billboard blaring the exit for Yabbering Yvonne’s Yard World. But more often than not, the game would end in frustration on Q or X, especially if house (car?) rules said license plates were off-limits.

The nice thing about billboards as advertising is that they have a built-in audience of eyes, and yes, they helped pass the time when screens in the car were just a Jetsons fantasy. But these days, we have a built-in audience watching screens of all shapes, making for a whole new highway for placing billboards with options in endless supply.

Placing marketing for your business on the internet is called digital marketing, and its return on investment for businesses is no Jetsons fantasy.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is any form of advertising that is placed online.

There are infinite means to do this, but we’re going to focus in on three:

Display Ads

Social Media Ads

Search Ads

Display Ads

Display ads use the same strategy as billboards. They are located off to the side of the main content on a website, taking advantage of the traffic on the page. Display ads are available in all shapes and dimensions, but the top-performing formats are rectangles that use short but compelling copy and interesting visuals to attract the eyes of the target audience.

A good display ad has a clear call to action that entices the web user to click to find out more about the content in the ad.

These examples show display ads in action:

Pine Landscape Center display ads on Better Homes and Gardens’ website 

Social Media Ads

Social media ads are ads placed on, well, social media. According to social media software platform Sprout Social,  social media ad spends amounted to $89 billion in 2019. That number is expected to climb to $102 billion this year, with growth every year thereafter.

Facebook is the behemoth in the social media room, but Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat, and explosive social entertainment platform TikTok also dominate the marketplace.

Maintaining an active social media presence is powerful because it builds brand loyalty. Organic posts help brands engage with their followers, forge relationships, and build goodwill. Putting dollars behind posts only makes that more powerful and grabs a wider audience to keep your company top of mind for consumers.

Last year, users spent an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media. It might as well be 1-70 through downtown Kansas City during pre-pandemic rush hour.

These examples show social media ads in action:

Networks Plus Social Media Ad as shown on LinkedIn

Search Ads

Search ads work by paying to be the answer to someone’s question. They are placed using identified keywords like “yarn world,” or “goat gland cure” and show up when an internet user enters queries on Google or another search engine with those or similar terms.

Search ads are a powerful investment because they are extremely customizable and locally focused. They are tailored to only reach the best customers, and you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. All that makes for a substantial conversion rate, which means more profit.

Like display, and social media ads, search ads are optimized for both desktop and mobile internet users.

These examples show search ads in action from Pine Landscape:

Digital Media Is Nimble

One convenient aspect of digital media as part of a marketing strategy is its flexibility. It is easily modified to adapt to world events and consumer sentiment. It doesn’t ever have to end up like a torn, out of date billboard by the highway.

Let’s say for example there’s a global pandemic. Businesses have to overhaul their service delivery in a matter of days. They have to tell customers they’re open or closed. They have to share what they’re doing to keep customers and employees safe. They even have to deliver a message of hope.

Digital media is the perfect medium for all of the above. That’s why when all of the above became a reality early this spring, we were able to help clients like Networks Plus and Pine Landscape Center shift their messaging.

These examples from Networks Plus and Pine Landscape Center show how quickly and conveniently the message can be adjusted to the circumstances.

Digital media is the modern frontier of advertising. If you’re ready to put it to work for you, hit us up!

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