3 Digital Advertising Channels to Focus On for Your Business
When you’re getting started with digital advertising, it can feel like you’re in a small skiff on a very large ocean. There’s a lot to navigate and if you go off course you might find yourself in treacherous waters, or worse, you might fall in. Raka: we like water metaphors.
Most marketers are familiar with search marketing, and most understand that Facebook advertising is a thing—whether or not they understand the breadth of capability there. But which digital advertising channels should your brand focus on to optimize performance now and in the future?
Search marketing: Google and beyond
Google has been selling text ads for nearly 20 years, although you’ll notice we didn’t label this section “text ads.” There’s a reason for that, and it’s because fewer searches are being done using a keyboard. It’s still worth your while to be a presence in text-based advertising, but your brand should also be looking at ways to get involved with voice search-based marketing, a medium that doesn’t even exist yet. For consistency’s sake, we’ll refer to this as voice-assisted search marketing moving forward. For brevity’s sake, we’ll abbreviate it with the acronym VASM.
We don’t yet know what the structure of VASM advertising will look like, but here’s what we do know: There’s an authority to current text ads that won’t exist initially with VASM ads. Which is to say, it’s important your brand gets used to marketing in search now, because if you can’t do well there, you’ll be very poorly positioned to perform in the brave new world of VASM. For more information about how to set up a search marketing account, reach out to us directly.
Video marketing: YouTube and Facebook
YouTube is renowned for being the world’s second-largest search engine, trailing only its parent, Google. The types of searches taking place on YouTube vary as widely as the ones on Google, but some of the most common queries are “how to” questions and DIY searchers looking for inspiration or guidance. If your brand has a product or service that solves a problem or provides instruction, you should be promoting it on YouTube. YouTube gives marketers a wide variety of ad units, ranging from standard display (banner) ads to the common pre-, post- and mid-roll videos to cards that are served as overlays on a playing video.
Based on its ranking as the second-most popular search engine, you’d think YouTube had the world’s largest video library. It doesn’t. That distinction belongs to Facebook. Sure, it’s a ton of puppy and baby videos, but the social network has more server space devoted to video than any other. The most popular videos on Facebook that aren’t memes are typically the same as those on YouTube: instructional or inspirational videos (on social media, the “inspirational” category can be expanded to include videos that reaffirm a user’s faith in humanity just as much as those that serve as inspiration for a project or achievement).
A third type of video that does well on Facebook is the animated explainer—a designed video that tackles explaining a difficult concept, whether existential or commercial in nature. This is a place where brands can make a significant impression on a wide audience without spending a lot on media (of course, if you’ve got a video with a bunch of puppies at a yoga class, you’ll probably make quite the impression that way as well).
As we’ll see in a second, Facebook’s targeting also makes it a worthwhile channel for any marketer looking to reach an interested audience.
Facebook, of course, hasn’t been without its detractors of late. But despite its issues, Facebook’s targeting remains the strongest of any display channel.
The platform is able to pull in almost limitless amounts of data about its users based on things they actively identify as being interested in (by including it in the “likes” section of their profiles), passively identify as liking (by liking/commenting on posts or liking pages), or show an active engagement with (by posting about themselves). Its third-party partnerships aren’t able to serve up as much audience data as they should be due to the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica situation, but Facebook still leverages a lot of third-party data, pairing it with their proprietary user data to create the most detailed targeting options available worldwide.
Facebook combined all of that with some of the most diverse advertising assets in the industry, and one that can drive truly qualified leads.
Their six main units include:
- Display ads (standard unit)
- Carousel ads (five ads in the same unit displayed using a horizontal scroll)
- Video ads
- Slideshow (up to 10 images in the same ad unit)
- Lead generation (standard display ad plus in-platform lead form)
- Canvas ads (full screen mobile-optimized ad used for brand engagement)
And they have four lesser ad units:
- Page promotion (likes)
- Post promotion (thought leadership)
- Offers (think of this as product sales)
- Event responses
- Collections (a feed-based approach to product marketing or remarketing)
Being a display network, Facebook’s major selling point is that it can generate hordes of impressions for brands without requiring a major financial commitment, but the types of ad units and audiences ensure brands are also able to control their message in unique ways and serve customized, full-funnel experiences to almost any user in their audience.
Bonus channel: Snapchat
We know Snapchat isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a consumer or media brand who has aspirations of growth, it’s a place you’ll want to be. It’s currently the most popular social network among 13-17 year olds, so if your brand has a strong presence on Snap, it means your audience will quite literally grow up with you.
Of course, Snap presents its own set of challenges, namely cost: ads are expensive to develop, its audience is expensive to reach, and the crowded marketplace can make it difficult to leave a lasting impression. But it’s not that dissimilar from Instagram—the place advertisers needed to be three to four years ago because of its appeal to a younger audience. The upside: to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, if you can make it on Snap, you can make it anywhere.
Have questions about how to get started advertising with Google, Facebook, Snap or any other channel? Contact Raka today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free digital advertising consultation, including recommendations for budget and next steps.