What is Digital Advertising? Your Quick and Easy Guide

Posted by Jazelle Handoush on 10/05/19

SEM, PPC, CPC, CPA…the list of advertising acronyms seems to go on and on. Though more companies are starting to use digital advertising, there’s still some confusion about what it all means.

Let’s set the acronyms aside for a second and talk about your business. You need to attract new customers to grow. With over 57.3% of the world’s population online, the internet is an excellent place to start. Digital ads target customers where they spend their time so your business can grow.

That’s only the start! Instead of leaving you asking “what is digital advertising,” this guide will help you gain a deeper understanding of how it all works. Keep reading to discover the essentials of digital advertising.

What Exactly is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising involves using text and visual ads to attract website visitors. The use of digital ads is a commonly used tactic found within a search engine marketing (SEM) strategy. These ads may also be called pay-per-click (PPC) ads, where PPC refers to the moment that someone clicks on an ad and your business receives a charge.

Now that we’ve cut your list of mystery acronyms in half, here is a list of some other digital ad types that you may encounter:

  • Display ads 
  • Social media ads (including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn)
  • Remarketing or retargeting ads
  • Video ads
  • Affiliate marketing ads
  • Mobile ads

We’ve all heard that you have to spend money to make money, and in the case of digital advertising, researchers agree. Data shows that site visitors who click on a digital ad are 50% more likely to purchase than those who visit your site organically.

Digital ads direct quality leads to your website using advanced targeting and messaging. When linked to a relevant page using a simple interface and a clear path to purchase, ads can take people from Google or Instagram right to checkout.

Continue through our digital advertising guide to learn how.

How Does Digital Advertising Benefit Your Business?

Digital advertising uses keywords and other targeting methods to decide when a person sees your ads on Google. These keywords are not to be confused with those found in search engine optimization (SEO). SEO uses specific keywords and tactics, like blog writing, to drive site visits organically. So why pay for ads when you could attract organic leads to your website instead?

Read these six ways digital ads can benefit your inbound marketing to find out!

1. Achieve Business Goals

Different digital advertising campaigns work to achieve specific goals. 

For example, a plumbing company might want to increase website form entries and phone calls. Meanwhile, a bakery might want to improve brand awareness and increase foot traffic to their shop.

By using digital ads with clear campaign goals, you’re spending your budget where it benefits your business most.

2. You’re in Control

Digital advertising allows you to determine where you spend your budget, how much you spend, who you target, when to show an ad, and a lot more.

If a campaign isn’t working out the way you hoped, making changes is easy. You can reallocate your budget to another campaign, tweak the targeting, or change the messaging. It’s up to you.

That amount of control means you can optimize your campaigns whenever you want, so your budget doesn’t go to waste.

3. Time it Right

Some people see a magazine ad and flip the page or drive by a billboard and forget it too soon. While both are effective ad placements, you can’t time when people see them.

Digital ads appear when people are actively searching for a product, service, or company. Searchers already in the buying mindset can click on an ad and travel right through your sales funnel—straight towards a shopping cart or form.

You can even use remarketing to advertise to someone after they leave your website. Precise ad language reminds past visitors about abandoned shopping carts, sales, and that your business is there to help. If the timing wasn’t right the first time, remarketing gives you a second chance. 

4. Build Brand Awareness

Brand awareness relies on repeat exposure. The more often people see your ads, the more likely they’ll remember your company name.

In competitive niches, SEO can take time before you appear on the first search page. Digital ads allow you to get in front of people the same day you create a campaign. SEO and SEM can even work together to improve your online rankings and expand your reach!

5. Stay on Target

You can target potential customers based on:

  • Demographics (age, gender, household income, marital status)
  • Buying habits
  • Search history
  • Interests
  • and more

Instead of waiting for the right customers to find you, you can find them. Precise targeting increases website traffic by attracting people most likely to buy. By staying on target, you limit where you spend, too!

6. Measure, Track, & Optimize

Almost 65% of people click on Google Ads when they’re ready to make an online purchase. Remember, most online searchers are already in the mood to buy.

As you gain conversions and increase sales, you can use data to track ad performance. These analytics can help you pinpoint which ad language, targeting, and bids are most successful. With this information, you can make changes to the remaining campaigns and optimize your ads for the best results.

Each campaign improvement helps to increase your return on investment!

Terms to Know

Those acronyms we listed earlier were only the start. Here are a few more digital advertising terms to know before your first campaign:

  • Impressions – how many times people viewed your ads
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – clicks divided by impressions; how many people saw and clicked on your ads
  • Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) – clicks divided by conversions; how much you spent to gain each conversion
  • Cost-per-Click (CPC) – how much you paid for each click on an ad
  • Cost-per-Mile (CPM) – how much you paid for one thousand ad impressions
  • Conversion Rate (CVR) – the percentage of people who became a lead or made a purchase on your website
  • Quality Score (QS) – determined by the click-through-rate, landing page quality, past ad performance, and keyword relevance
  • Ad Rank – your highest bid multiplied by your Quality Score; determines where your ads rank in a search
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – the revenue you received for every dollar spent on ads

What is Digital Advertising: Your Quick & Easy Guide

Now acronyms like SEM, PPC, CPC, and CPA can’t slow you down. Instead, you can speed up your company’s growth with digital advertising.

If you’re still asking yourself “what is digital advertising,” we’re here to help! Send us a note to get started with your first campaign!