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Should you be running digital ad campaigns?

You can’t get away from online ads – they’re there every time you do a search or go onto your social media.  The fact that so many other businesses are using them to reach customers like you, shows that they could be a useful trick for you to engage your target clients.  But, with alot of channels to choose from, you need to evaluate which might be right for your brand.

An overview

Digital ad spending is fast becoming the most popular way of advertising your business; it’s estimated it will soon overtake TV ad spending. It isn’t hard to figure out why so many companies are turning to the internet to grab their target audience’s attention: it’s cheaper, it’s easy to manage, the results are easier to track and you can narrow down who sees your content. There are three main types of digital ads: social media ads, search ads and display ads, all of which have their pros and cons.

Social media ads

If you haven’t come across these yet, chances are you’re not on social media. You’ll find them all over the place on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Each platform has its own way of serving you ads, whether it’s on your feed, your side tabs or even, in some cases, your messaging platform. Here are the pros and cons of using social media ads:


  • Price: The great thing about social media ads is that they are affordable and you can cap your spend according to your marketing budget.
  • Accuracy: Compared to the more traditional channels of advertising, you can serve your ads to a very defined audience. This is because social media gathers all the information from its users and finds out their hobbies, demographics, location, income and which pages they follow, allowing you to get in front of your perfect potential customer.


  • ROI: Although you’ll raise brand awareness by putting out regular ads on social media, you may not find you don’t receive instant conversions.
  • Negative feedback: Let’s face it, having ads interspersing your newsfeed isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and sometimes people might leave negative comments on your ads.

Search ads 

Search engines have pretty much become a necessity to most people and businesses are using this to their advantage. These ads are featured at the top of the page when you search for something. For example, if you search for used cars, the top few results will be paid-for ads, usually from car dealers local to you. There are, of course, strengths and weaknesses: 


  • Precise: Unlike other channels, people are specifically searching for your product, therefore you’ll be hitting customers who have proactively expressed an interest in what you have to offer.
  • Undercover: When you upload your ad to a search engine, there will be a small icon telling people that it is and ad. However, compared to other channels like social media, it’s very inconspicuous and much less likely to get on the nerves of the searcher. 


  • Price: Many businesses are using search ads on a daily basis, which means if the terms for which you want to be found are popular searches, the ads can be expensive. This can make it financially less attractive than other social media ads, however you can usually bring the cost down by targeting narrow geographic search terms.  The cost for ads for ‘commercial photographer’ are much higher than the costs for ads for ‘commercial photographer Tunbridge Wells’.
  • Not very easy on the eye: Because it’s text based, you can’t provide colour and visual interest to your ad which makes it a bit less appealing. 

Display ads 

This is another one you’ll have come across time and time again.  It’s the colourful display next to your news article, email inbox or YouTube video. They are all over the internet and there’s a good reason for it. 


  • Flexibility: Display ads offer a lot of customisation. You could use an image of your product or a slideshow of the services you provide and why it is good for your viewers. The more creative you can be, grabbing your audience’s attention with compelling visual storytelling, the more successful your ads are likely to be.  Industry research suggests that in Europe, you can expect click through rates from 0.14% for a standard banner through to 0.35% for a rich media banner. 


  • Not always engaging: You could create the best ad ever, but it may be ignored. People can find them annoying and therefore as soon as they pop up just scroll past your content.
  • Volume: The click-through rates above show that you have to reach a lot of people to get engagement levels that deliver ROI. That’s because many people view them as…
  • Spam: Like many digital ads, people can find them overwhelming. 

There’s a lot you can do with digital ads and they can be a cost-effective marketing strategy. The customisation can be a great tool, plus the ability to track exactly who is viewing your ads makes them valuable to a lot of businesses. 

To find out more about how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing, email communications@sharpminds.agency

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