Decades ago, the Internet was a Wild West for marketers–a new frontier, just waiting to be conquered. In this landscape, intrepid brands could make a name for themselves simply by being willing to set up an online outpost or upload an ad and waiting patiently for potential customers to happen by.
Nowadays, there are few businesses that aren't marketing online. Yet this increased traffic has become both a benefit and a burden. The audience is definitely there, and is more than willing to connect, engage with, and even purchase from brands as part of their regular online experiences. But all this activity has led to an increasingly noisy landscape, making it more difficult than ever to draw the right consumers in, let alone sustain their interest long enough to drive a sale.
Fortunately, no matter where your customers choose to spend their online time today, publishers, social networks, and other media-friendly businesses are providing viable alternatives to the banners and button ads that 54% of consumersdon't trust enough to click on. Even better, these newer paid opportunities offer plenty of ways to maximize your impact while minimizing your costs. But in order for marketers to take advantage, you need to know where the best opportunities lie. Here are just a few of the top ways you can put some paid promotional support behind your business online.
- Native Advertising: native advertising is where brands pay to place their content in a relevant context on a publisher's website. Unlike standard ads, native content is designed to provide the same level of quality and informational value as the editorial content that the publisher itself produces, making it a more organic and less disruptive part of the user's experience on that site.
- Influencer Marketing: influencer marketing programs rely on various types of personal endorsements from leading voices in your industry. Influencers' level of participation can range from something simple–like regularly reposting your social content to their communities–to more complex arrangements, like co-creating large-scale content projects as part of a blogger outreach program. By partnering with those who already have cultivated a trusted following of engaged consumers, you increase the visibility of your messages among those who are pre-disposed to finding it relevant and credible.
- Paid Search: one of the most common paid search opportunities involves creating a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign on a search engine like Google or Bing. Sophisticated campaign management tools enable you to self-select your target keywords and conditions and set your budget limits; the search engine will then display your message to those who are conducting relevant searches on those terms. Because you are only charged when a consumer clicks through your ad to explore your offer in more detail, PPC is considerably more cost-effective than impression-based ad units.
- Social Media Promotions: social sites are increasingly expecting marketers to pay for the reach they once enjoyed free-of-charge. The most popular networks all offer their own portfolios of promotion products, so marketers should explore all the available options carefully to make sure the increased impact each solution promises will be worth the added expense.
Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest each have their own form of promoted posts, where marketers purchase the ability to get a particular post in front of a wider group of users or to draw greater attention to it among their existing follower base.
Another option on some sites (including Twitter) is to purchase a promoted account, which gets preferential treatment when users are searching for relevant content on that network. This technique is particularly useful for less established businesses that want to build their social audiences more quickly.
Some social networks also offer enhanced content features to help marketers' posts stand out, for a price. For example, Twitter's website cards use rich media to give tweets more prominent headlines, larger, more eye-catching images, and clickable call-to-action buttons.
- Sponsored Social Content: another class of social media promotions, sponsored content opportunities involve paying to place your content in certain desirable contexts, or to give users access to unique branded features.
Through third-party services, marketers can find and hire celebrities and other influential "power-users" to distribute social posts to their networks of followers on the brand's behalf.
Snapchat offers Sponsored Lenses, which lets users have a little fun with branded filters and other imaging assets that they can manipulate and incorporate into the photos and videos they share with friends.
LinkedIn provides several sponsorship options, including the native ad-like experience of Sponsored Updates, and Sponsored InMail, which lets marketers direct-message targeted audience segments – even if they aren't connected to those users.
It’s important to remember that not every media channel can or should be the most effective way to reach your audience, and that not all efforts will yield the same outcomes. Tailor your message and goals to make these paid promotional opportunities work best for your brand or company.
That’s Prove’s specialty: we work with teams to determine which messaging and media channels will offer the best returns with the lowest risk. If you’re interested in exploring opportunities for business growth or increasing sales with paid media, let’s talk!