Advertising on the Web: What Is Google Not Telling You?

Published: Dec 04, 2017

There are many aspects of advertising on the web, ranging from various advertising platforms to tools that help target a specific audience. Marketers that include web advertising in their campaign should have an understanding of the five tips below to get the most out of their web advertising on Google and beyond.

Get Familiar With Web Advertising Terminology 

Advertisers may be well aware of jargon in traditional advertising. On the internet, traditional terms like inventory and target demographic are still relevant, though internet advertising has brought on a variety of new terms that anyone running an online campaign should be aware of.

One thing to get familiar with is the difference between fat-head and long-tail. The nature of the internet presents the choice between both regarding approach. Fat-head refers to making content broader in approach, likelier to reach more people but less likely to appeal on a per-person basis. Long-tail refers to fewer people reached, but they receive a personalized experience likelier to result in a conversion.

Advertising - buildings

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Fat-head may refer to a Facebook advertising campaign that reaches many thousands of people with a broad, nonpersonalized message, while long-tail may refer to a personalized email campaign where each message is tailored individually to the recipient.

It’s also important to recognize the difference between methods of paying for ads. There are three options: CPM (cost per thousand impressions), CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per action), which pays every time someone initiates a certain action on a website.

Having an understanding of ad delivery approach is vital to success.

Consider All Advertising Options 

The internet is a single platform in itself, though within it there are advertising options that include text, video banner and native ads. Several social media platforms and search engines also offer their advertising quirks to be aware of.

Text, video and banner ads are self-explanatory, providing textual, video and graphical advertising options, respectively. Native ads are embedded naturally within a site’s content, such as how networks like OutBrain are at the end of articles with recommended links to content based on the article above. Native ads that aren’t as obvious should always have some disclaimer regarding the business relationship between the website and advertiser.

Google is the world’s largest search network and the search engine Americans prefer, so it makes sense that it’s a massive influence in the world of online advertising. Google’s PPC ads in its search results are powerful and lucrative, especially when marketers target the correct keywords.

Advertising - whiteboard

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Google’s AdWords enable marketers to aim for placement on any website that uses AdWords, either by targeting specific keywords for search or basing display ads around specific interests or demographics. Whether an advertiser wants to target music lovers on news websites or outdoor enthusiasts on entertainment sites, AdWords provides flexibility and analytics that make navigating the waters of online advertising easier.

Social media platforms, like Twitter and Reddit, have their in-house advertising platforms, as does Facebook, which also provides very specific demographic targeting.

Use Analytics 

Even an advertising campaign that provides poor click-through rates can serve as a beneficial learning experience, as long as analytics are in use to figure out why the campaign faltered.

Analytics is a no-brainer, especially considering that it’s free. Google Analytics is free to use while providing extensive information regarding important website statistics, like bounce rate. This measures the percentage of visitors who leave a website after one page, showing a potential need for an effective landing page.

Advertising - analytics

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Google Analytics provides a comprehensive overview of your AdWords campaigns, including placements, keyword positions, keywords and destination URLs. Combine AdWords with other analytical data to determine how a campaign can improve.

Create Effective Landing Pages 

Even if there’s an incredible advertising campaign in place for reaching out to a high number of people in a target demographic, the campaign can go awry if visitors find themselves on a weak landing page. An effective landing page should persuade visitors to pursue further actions, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter, while utilizing what aspect of the ad drew them in.

Advertising - landing page

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For example, if a text link is advertising a cheap and effective new vacuum cleaner, then the landing page should bring them to more information about that vacuum, instead of the retailer site as a whole.

A clever text or graphical ad isn’t worth much if it leads to a landing page that isn’t accurate, relevant or convincing.

You should see this showcase of Beautiful Landing Pages.

Don’t Be Afraid of Trial and Error 

Regarding users, the internet is host to so many different niches and demographics that trying some various advertising methods can be useful for identifying what works best. Whether it’s deciding CPM or CPC or whether to promote predominantly on AdWords or a social media platform, there’s no telling how particular messaging will appeal until the ad is live.

An ad with support from analytics, from the ads’ location to the landing page it brings visitors to, makes trial and error a useful process that can inform advertisers on precisely what’s working and what isn’t.

These five tips will help advertisers successfully navigate online advertising, to the point where they take full advantage of various analytical tools and advertising options to get the most of their campaign.

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She constantly researches trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.