Every marketer and business owner has one key expense under scrutiny all the time: the marketing budget. This is money spent to acquire new customers. Whether they reach a full return on investment or not depends on several factors: how many prospects they manage to attract, what type of trade offs (discounts, special offers) they need to make in order to convince them to buy, and how much money these customers spend.
And there is yet one more factor, a critical one, which determines the success or failure of a marketing campaign: the medium selected for launching the campaign. In digital marketing, there are various such mediums: email, banner ads, Google search ads, and social media platforms. Email is known as an affordable marketing medium, with good ROI.
This leaves us with the other three key mediums: social media, Google, and banner ads. Let us see how efficient and cost effective they are, one by one.
- Banner Ads
Banner ads are the oldest form of digital marketing. They are displayed on various websites in specific placements: at the top of the page, on both sides, or as an insert in the content.
Historically speaking, banner ads have a less-than-rosy reputation, because many people (wrongly) associate them with the hateful pop-up ads which used to ruin the browsing experience for all of us – so much so that the man who invented the script for pop-up windows apologised for it.
So, Do Banner Ads Still Work?
Banner ads can be effective, however, with the key condition of being displayed in the right place, and at the right moment. Context is everything; therefore, affiliate marketing banner ads tend to be effective because website owners choose to promote products related to their niche.
Also, if you choose to run banner ads through a specialized syndicated content service, your ads will be displayed on reputable and high-traffic websites which your potential customers are most likely to browse.
Banner ads have a wide reach. They appear on forums and news websites, free hosted websites and blogs. The reach potential, in terms of internet users exposed to banner ads, exceeds the other two mediums.
The Big Con
At the present, many internet users choose to install ad blocking software on their computer and mobile internet browsers. These ad blockers remove almost all types of banner ads from websites. Depending on your niche and the profile of your typical customers, they may be among the people who choose to browse the internet with the ad blocker turned on, thus, they will not see your ads.
- Google Search Ads
You may have noticed that when you search for something on Google, the first results are paid results – search ads. These ads are also known as pay per click (PPC) ads and they are among the best known digital ads to all users, even those who use an ad blocker. The good news is that ad blocking software is still not capable of removing these types of suggested search results. One reason may be that they are not intrusive – people are actually searching for products and services related to those ads.
The number one strong point in favour of Google search ads is that they are extremely well targeted. The ads are displayed in direct response to the keyword used by people in the text bar of the search engine. Therefore, they have a high conversion rate.
Also, Google search ads are easy to create – they consist of text and a link. You do not have to spend time creating graphics or videos, or pay a designer to create them for you.
The Big Con
Google search ads can be expensive. A large number of companies compete for the same keywords, and for that privileged position atop all the other Google search results. The most popular keywords can cost around $50-$60 per click – that is a huge amount of money for, let’s say, 100 clicks, out of which you may only three or four sales.
- Social Media Ads
The most recent form of online advertising, social media ads appeared as a response from social media platform owners to the invasion of businesses which started joining them with the purpose of turning followers into customers.
Social media ads are effective because people are always more likely to choose products and services endorsed by their friends – and this is the particular characteristic of these ads: you can show them to prospects in relation to their friends who are your followers or customers.
Social media ads budgets can be flexibly planned – even during an ongoing campaign, by changing various parameters. Ads can be targeted to very specific audiences, and shown to them at specific days and hours, when they are most likely to be online.
Recently, social media ads have the tendency to become indistinguishable from other kinds of content: they are engaging, interactive, with lavish graphics and catchy videos, and people are very responsive to this type of ad.
The Big Con
If you do not know your audience very well, you could spend a lot of money on social media ads without getting a single sale, because they will be shown to people who are never likely to need or want your products.
The conclusion is that the effectiveness of any such marketing medium depends greatly on how well you know your customers and their internet browsing habits. However, in terms of expenses, social media ads are more cost efficient because you can stop campaigns or modify their budgets if you notice that they are not performing as well as you expected.