Topic overview

Online and PPC advertising

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Advertising online - through pay-per-click (PPC) adverts, banners and other messages - can be an excellent way to promote your brand, boost traffic to your website and generate sales. It should be an important part of your internet marketing strategy.

Unlike traditional methods, advertising on the internet can deliver visitors immediately - through a simple click on your ad with easily measurable results.

Where to advertise online

You want to advertise where your target market will see your ads. Your advertising options include advertising on search engines like Google and Bing, on social media, and on any of the millions of websites that display ads.

Search engines offer the unique advantage that they deliver your ad to people who are actively looking for what you offer. You choose the keywords and phrases that your customers are likely to use. Your ad is displayed when someone searches using those keywords, giving potential customers a direct link to your website.

Running your own searches using those keywords lets you see what advertising your competitors are doing. It also helps you see which other websites your customers might be visiting. Provided they aren’t competitors, they may well be good places to advertise.

PPC advertising and other online advertising options

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is ideal for putting your product in front of people who are ready to buy. You only pay for people who actually click on your ad to come to your site. This enables you to track visitor journeys while monitoring the effectiveness of your search engine keywords.

You can also pay for website advertising according to the number of times the ad is displayed. So the more people who visit the web page on which your advert is featured, the more you pay. Often referred to as CPM ('cost per mille' or 'cost per thousand displays'), this is good for brand exposure.

You can even pay for your online advertising on a cost per action (CPA) basis, where you only pay for the number of viewers who actually buy your product as the result of an ad. This kind of payment scheme requires a close relationship with the website where your ad is published, and is typically part of an affiliate marketing relationship.

Cost-effective online advertising

Your choice of where to advertise, what ad format to use and which keywords to focus on will all affect your advertising costs. At the same time, a well-written ad can be a critical part of encouraging people to act, clicking on the link that takes them to your website.

Online advertising is ideally suited to trialling different ideas and seeing how well they perform. Focus on what you are trying to achieve – whether that’s immediate sales or longer-term brand-building – and measuring the results you get.

Advertising platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising put you in control of managing how much you spend. They also offer free tools to help you plan your advertising, test different approaches and continually improve performance.

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