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How to use digital advertising to give you an edge

Google ads vs Facebook ads vs Linkedin ads vs Youtube ads vs Instagram ads

In this article, we hope to get you started on increasing your brand’s value to your customers through digital means. In a simple, yet thorough analysis, we hope you find this article helpful in getting started online.

This year has seen businesses of all sizes around the world losing billions of their valuations. The crisis has come as a rude awakening to those who believed the bull market conditions would continue. From the small business owner to large businesses and multinationals, the market and also their stakeholders has seen a large shift in every aspect of their relationships.

For a lot of businesses that have closed, although there may be nothing they can do in the present moment to prevent the current economic collapse. Although doors may be closed for most businesses, there is no better time to connect with your customers than right now. Most people are at home in this period, glued to their phones and tv screens. The big brands already made their move earlier in the crisis, a sort of damage control both externally and internally. On average this was in the form of allowing staff members to work at home. On the other hand, for those businesses that had or saw their opportunities they swiftly changed their services accordingly to match their customers' changed behaviours, allowing them to thrive.

What does this mean for your business? Whatever size it may be, it’s in yours and your brand’s interest to work to stay in your audience's mind from time to time. It’s simple in theory, find a way to provide value to your current and potential customers (relevant to the fact they will be spending a lot of time at home), present it to your audience (relevancy is key, choose the right platform), and lastly, wait patiently for the results. Whilst waiting, you can research your audience and how your business can better serve them in the future because for the most part their behaviours have started to change even more towards going further digitalised.

As an example, if you imagine a hardware shop that has had to close during the crisis, they may not be able to sell their products but they can still connect with their audience through their website or social media pages and provide value by giving hints, advice and even ideas on do it yourself (DIY) projects for home and garden improvement FOR FREE. Their audience will appreciate this, whether they decide to do the projects or not, and the brand’s awareness has increased as well as staying in their customers mind. This will put your brand and business in a stronger position compared to not doing anything and waiting it out. For businesses that did not have a digital strategy in the past, however valid your reasons where, only those businesses that are willing to humble themselves in the market and advance with changing technology and behaviours will survive and thrive.

What is targeted advertising?

You may be asking yourself exactly what targeted advertising and how it works. It’s advertising based on certain behaviour traits of your target audience. For example, You can target based on area, type of job, interest and age amongst other things. It allows you to target only those that you deem to be your specific audience. This is a really underestimated form of advertising as it is a lot more direct and can provide you with valuable information about your audience. It can save you money as you will only get charged per click, which is when someone clicks on your advert; in short it guarantees that people will go to your landing page, and you will only pay when they do.

What platforms are there for targeted advertising?

The platform you choose for targeted advertising is important, as it will make or break your campaign. Luckily you have many choices, and considering you have done your research and you know where your audience is. Choosing the right platform should be an easy choice. If you dont know it’s not the end of the world, simply keep reading and we’ll go through each platform to make sure you make as much of an informed decision as possible.

Youtube - This is the biggest platform for videos, almost all industries can gain immensely from publishing videos on youtube. As a result when it comes to targeted advertising you are able to target customers based on previous videos watched and based on the type of videos they’re watching and much more.

LinkedIn - This is a platform that works really well for B2B, as it’s mainly a social platform for professionals. You can target professionals in key decision making roles, or entrepreneurs, and everything in between. Whether you're looking to increase awareness, sales or simply network, Linkedin is something you should consider if you are a B2B company.

Facebook - This is the biggest social platform in the world, every business can benefit from having a facebook page at the very minimum, so as to have a place where your customers can find you. When it comes to targeted advertising you are able to target potential customers almost in every way you can think of, from employment, area, interests and much much more.

Instagram - This has quickly become one of the biggest platforms in the world especially amongst younger audiences. If you’re targeting younger audiences, this one should definitely be up for your consideration. You can target your audience based on their interests, pages they follow and the content they’re most likely interested in, etc.

Google - This is the biggest search engine in the world. With millions of searches everyday from around the world. You can be sure that every potential customer can be targeted. You can target based on site visits, current searches, history searches and much much more.

Whether you’re looking to increase awareness, leads or sales, all these big platforms can help a lot in your endeavours. They all have their advantages and disadvantages which depends on your business, the industry you’re in, the customers you're reaching out to, and the level of competition you're facing.

Should you choose the right platform, you can target the right audience, at the right time. Not only saving you budget costs, but Increasing your ROI. You will be able to meet your campaign targets. On the other hand, should you choose the wrong platform you can be sure your money will burn fast, as your ROI sees a minimum return. You will most likely find it hard to reach your campaign targets. In short, take the time to understand your past and current customers, so that you can know where to start looking for your future customers.

In the past i’ve spoken to clients who threw money at “advertising” campaigns, without understanding a single thing about who they were actually targeting. When i asked them what was their end goal for their campaign they were mainly 3 general answers they would give. 1, they would not know their end goal and expect that because they are advertising they should get a return on their investment. 2, as long as people are seeing it, their customers will increase in time. Lastly No 3, I have always done this and it has always worked so there's no need to fix something that’s not broken. If you get the general idea of what's wrong with this mindset, you are well on your way to becoming a successful businessman/woman. You must never think you have learned enough, or assume what happened in the past will happen in the future, it is a sure way to fail.

Finding your target audience?

So if you made it this far and are now wondering how exactly you find your target audience, continue reading. You now know a little bit more about targeted advertising. Now you need to know who your audience is and where to find them

These 3 easy steps below should help you find you audience

Step 1. Find out what your past customers liked about your business, then do the same about your current customers. The information you're looking for is their interests, the age range, the areas which produced more customers and why, and vice versa, their reason for choosing you specifically out of your competitors. In short, find as much data as you can about your customers, it will always be useful in the future.

Step 2. Now that you have the data, choose which platform they are most likely to be active on. It could be where they spend a lot of their time, where they are most likely to be receptive to your adverts etc.

Step 3. Look at your chosen platform to see what your direct and indirect competitors are doing for their campaigns, and look at their advantages and disadvantages.

As long as you know who your audience and potential customers are, it should be straightforward to create campaigns to target them efficiently. The more direct and specific your targeting is, the more your advertising will appeal to your audience and reduce your costs.

Now for a very important factor in marketing that you should never forget. ETHICS. Your customers should be RESPECTED, not EXPLOITED. You should only ever find and use data about your customers that is public or that is general, never use personal customer information for your campaigns. You should aim for your campaigns to make your audience's life better, You should only aim to advertise relevant products/services. In short, respect your audience and customers, do not exploit them or their information.

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