Who’s Ad Is It Anyways?

by Mike Tyler | June 15, 2015

Think about digital advertising as you would your investment portfolio.

I mean, equities are great – but a wise man would never put his equities in one stock, especially in a bear market!

The same thing goes for digital advertising; it’s all about diversifying your bonds, and adapting to what works best in the market. Period.

Consider the different ad types:

    • Search
    • Display
    • Native
    • Social
    • Video

    Which one would you invest in to raise the profile of your portfolio? Which advertisement type would give you the best ROI? Which ad type is best for your company, and why?

    The truth is, it’s all about context. If you are targeting a younger demographic, then your ad types might be the ones targeted towards mobile platforms. If you’re making an ad for a financial service, then your demographic might be those from 25-40.

    Then again, think about the rebranding that ING Direct did to become Tangerine – a perfect example of the advertising for the same service made entirely different, to become more accessible to younger generations with mobile apps and a more youthful approach to their slogan, office design and aesthetic.

    Exact same service offered as before, but now offered as forward banking.

    And if you’re thinking forward fashion, take Sprezzabox – the new kid dapper man on the block armchair in men’s fashion. We’ve all seen the skinny ties, fashionable socks, wingtips and slim cut navy suits that most men from 20-35 are sporting, and Sprezzabox made sure that it offered it’s services with ads on multiple platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and postcard sized ads that come in the mail.

    With 240,000 followers and counting on their Instagram (where they run multiple contests, giveaways and fashion inspiration), you could say they’re doing things right by diversifying their advertisement types, but focusing on Instagram.

    Each ad type has their own distinct ad-vantages (zing) and dis-ad-vantages, which we will happily go through as soon as we’re done browsing through the entire Sprezzabox page. *drool*

    Search Advertisements

    Paid Search ads are known as SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. Being the most familiar to small businesses, search ads largely consist of PPC or “Pay-Per-Click” ad types that are bid on to get a higher Google Ranking and appear on the sides of pages you are scrolling in Google, or other platforms.

    The pros of search advertising is that it is easy to implement, structure, and reaches the highest number of people compared to direct mail and other ad types. It’s inexpensive, controllable and intersects with people who are interested in similar products or services that they are searching for.

    Take the example above on energy drinks; when the search term is entered, the right hand side offers a number of ads that the viewer would be interested in as well with different drink types.

    The tricky part about search advertising is that it’s 2015, and most consumers BS detectors are at an all-time high – plus the huge push in social, video and native advertising among millennials and Generation Z make it tougher for younger demographics to engage with PPC ads. However, PPC ads do achieve success with Generation X and the Baby Boomers as well (but you’d know this if you read our Generational Advertising article, of course).

    Display Advertisements

    Text! Images! Flash! Chunky Banner Displays!

    If you’ve used the Internet, ever, then you’ve definitely come across the large banner-style ads above many web pages, known as display ads.

    Display ads come in a variety of formats – from texts to images, 30-second video clips, and scrolling banners you saw in the ’90s (hopefully only then, and not now).

    Although you might be as likely to beat Stevie Wonder in a staring contest as you are to click a banner ad, let’s not scroll over the thought so quickly.

    Display ads are great in that they can be posted beside content you are already viewing without being too obtrusive, compared to pop-up ads or junk emails in your inbox.

    Plus, if you’re still D.R.E. then you can seriously optimize the power of your display ads, and use dynamic remarketing to retarget consumers with multiple ads even after they’ve left your page, based on their interests and previous search parameters.

    And by crunching the numbers on your display ads with Google Adwords/Analytics, you can allocate your advertising budget to the ads that performed well on their segmented days, hours, etc. for maximum outreach.

    Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

    Native Advertisements

    Ah yes, the new face of digital marketing – native advertising. Fun to read and unobtrusive, native ads are able to seamlessly integrate into your mobile, social and online feeds as sponsored posts.

    Native advertising has a bright future in the world of digital advertising, with an anticipated 21 billion dollars being spent on it come 2018. In the past year, you’ve likely been exposed to hundreds if not thousands of native ads without even being aware of it!

    As a form of paid media where the ad follows the natural form of pages, native ads are highly effective in terms of their outreach, click-through ratings, and likelihood to be shared among others.

    In terms of numbers, Marissa Mayer – CEO of Yahoo circa 2012 – used native advertising to completely turn around the success of Yahoo within 43 days for their “Project Moneyball.”

    On the other hand, native advertising normally follows the editorial style of the page it’s on, whether that’s Buzzfeed, Facebook, etc. As such, viewers may not have the time to read through an entire article and might be more inclined to choose display ads retargeted towards their natural interests and viewing history.

    Social Advertising
    Social advertising is, well, the future. With everyone and their grandmother having a cell phone, Snapchat and Instagram nowadays, you advertise where the viewership is.

    Plus, social ads have the magical ability to instantly react to and reflect trends in pop culture for maximum effectiveness. Take WaterIsLife’s #firstworldproblems campaign done in 2013, when the “first world problems” hashtag was (regrettably) a thing among social media users.

    Apart from connecting everyone worldwide, social media has become quite the platform for advertising that businesses of all sizes can use – local, worldwide or any individual can have their company advertise on social media, bid on ad placements, and have quite the control over which viewers are reached.

    A perfect example is Facebook, with display and native ads among the feed and sidebars. Additionally, Facebook Insights makes it easy for users to readjust their ad campaigns based on performance per day, hour, and people reached.

    Social advertising makes it easy to target a mass number of users – but the right ones, based on powerful metrics that segment by likes, shares, and more.

    Available across mobile platforms, desktops, and tablets, social ads effectively reach viewers anywhere – anytime.

    However, it’s the same issue with demographics – social advertising might not reach the baby boomers, or Generation X who are still responsive to print ads, television ads, and more traditional forms of advertising.

    Video Advertising

    When most people think of video advertising, they think of YouTube. Aside from Vimeo and other video platforms, YouTube is by far the front runner when it comes to successful video ad campaigns.

    Think about it – when was the last time you shared a YouTube video to a friend on any social platform that involved an intriguing video about photography, music, or cats?


    And with YouTube advertising, users can select their target by age, gender, location and even interests for maximum effectiveness.

    Available to anyone with Internet, YouTube and video advertising has become quite the phenomenon in the past decade; In March 2013, 85% of US internet users viewed online video, and video ads accounted for 25% of all videos viewed. Video ads are becoming increasingly more effective – from overtly advertorial pieces that were of low effectiveness, to Tai Lopez in his garage with a Lamborghini, video ads can definitely work to your advantage.

    And most importantly, video advertising appeals to human emotion with the one element many ads fail to deliver: Storytelling.

    Take the “First World Problems” campaign mentioned earlier; if that didn’t tug at your heart strings at all, you are:

    a. A robot.

    b. An alien.

    c. Kanye when his outfit ain’t right.

    With this element, video ads are able to effectively able to target mass consumers, and drastically increase engagement, shares, and spark conversation among social platforms that become trending, worldwide topics (aka an advertisers dream).

    What Have We Learned?

    As illustrated by the points above, all types of advertisments will have their ups and downs depending on the demographic, context and more. Choose wisely, and choose what works best for your purposes!

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