Search Engine Advertising places online advertisements on the search results pages from search engines and their partner sites. Companies can further expand their reach beyond search engines to advertise to more niche audiences available on third-party websites, such as popular blogs and news channels that can help drive relevant traffic to the company’s website.
Advertising on search engines helps the company market to audiences that are explicitly searching for a specific term and also helps the business reach a wide audience range. However, advertising on third-party websites helps the business reach out to a target audience that may not be explicitly searching for the business or its products, but are likely to still be interested in purchasing its product. For example, a website selling fitness products can make use of third-party fitness blogs where it will be exposed to a relevant audience. In order to effectively utilize third-party websites, a company should ensure that the websites where they advertise are relevant to its business and that the audiences coming to these sites are decision makers. The practices used to improve the effectiveness of search engine ads discussed previously are also valid for advertising on third-party websites. Besides using the best practices for digital advertising, businesses should also select appropriate ad types and remarketing techniques when advertising on third-party websites.
In order to effectively utilize third-party website advertising, businesses must understand the various types of ads that can be created and their effectiveness in converting the target audience. The various types of ads used by businesses include the following:
These are simple ads that highlight the product features and/or offers using only words. The message length is generally restricted and the digital marketing team must ensure that the relevant call to action is present in the message to prompt viewers to inquire further about the product or service. Text ads are the most common style of ads used by businesses around the world. Businesses may also include a call-back number as part of their ads to enable customers to reach them via phone.
Examples of Text Ads:
- Text ads typically include one or two lines of text along with a clickable link to a web page. The hotel industry uses these text ads predominantly in third-party websites to promote offers. These text ads are displayed in different shapes and sizes, and most of them are paid ads. Listed below is an example of a text ad.
Image ads enable marketers to include relevant images, customized layouts, and background colors. For some companies, visually displaying their products may be more effective as an advertising technique than text ads. This is particularly relevant for websites selling consumer goods where the products are visually appealing enough to drive audiences to the website.
Example of Image Ads:
- Image ads, often in the form of banner ads, make an impression on customers by using a combination of graphics and text. For instance, fitness companies use images promising health, strength, and attractiveness in ads to capture the attention of consumers.
Video ads are an engaging way to create energy and excitement about a product. They can be used in individual display units but are commonly embedded at the beginning of other videos available on third-party websites. News agencies and video hosting sites enable advertisers to include video ads that play in the initial seconds before a user watches the video. This increases the reach of the video as the user has an interest in the content following the ad.
Ad overlays are another feature used by businesses on a video that the consumer views. An overlay is usually a clickable, one-line text ad displayed at the bottom of the video. This is an advertising technique commonly used on video-hosting sites.
Example of Video Ads:
- Video ads are growing in popularity as Internet speeds are increasing and most devices support video players. For instance, movie production companies use video ads with embedded trailers to promote their movies and showcase the ads on various video portals and websites for maximum views.
Rich media ads are image ads incorporating animations or other elements that provide users with ways to interact with the ad. Such elements are often customized to match user behavior. The targeted and personalized nature of the ads is intended to generate greater engagement, resulting in more views and clicks. Examples of rich media ads include ads with revolving pictures of products and ads with animated layers that capture the viewer’s attention with a variety of targeted messages and images.
Example of Rich Media Ads:
- Rich media ads may contain a combination of images, video, and text using Flash or HTML5 technology. They include multiple ways to involve an audience with the ad such as sharing in social media, calling, booking, and e-mailing. In the automobile industry, rich media ads are often enabled with video, call back, polling, and booking test drive capabilities—all in one ad. This increases user interaction and brand awareness.
- Remarketing Ads (or Retargeting Ads)
Sometimes an individual visiting a website may be interested in purchasing a product but may not be ready to purchase it. The user’s behavior depends on where he or she is in the purchase cycle or funnel. Remarketing enables businesses to reach consumers who have already visited their site. After the visitors leave the business’ site, the business follows up with related ads when the user visits other similar and relevant sites. Since the customer is already qualified as a strong lead, having spent time on the website, remarketing provides an effective way of reaching an already engaged target audience.
In order to effectively utilize search remarketing, the digital marketing team must enable remarketing in the search engines and build campaigns specific to each category or product in their portfolio. Companies can market the product to customers they know have expressed interest in the product through their search history. Remarketing ads are displayed to the consumer by the search engine on websites he or she visits later. These websites may not be as directly related to the initial searches. Since the advertising is displayed on a broader range of sites, the reach of the business is increased thus raising visibility within the target audience.
Examples of Remarketing Ads:
- Airline websites or online air ticketing websites use remarketing ads to increase conversions and also keep visitors informed even after they have left the company’s website. If a potential customer visits a website to look at flights or hotels in a certain city but does not make a purchase, banner ads then appear on other sites the person visits. In other words, the products and services individuals express interest in are marketed to them later to get them back to that initial site to purchase.
Native advertising is a form of online advertising that blends in with its surroundings. The objective is to promote a company’s product or service in a way that is ‘native’ to the platform in which the message appears. Native ads are promotional pieces that are attempting to look like the material to which they are adjacent. Advertorials, which are ads promoting product but made to look like editorials, are one of the most common forms of native advertising. Given that consumers are savvy to the various tactics that digital marketers use, it is important that native advertising provide value to potential customers. While native advertising can be perceived as annoying, it can also be an effective tool if properly used. Those who are successful in this approach offer new, useful, relevant content that consumers are willing to take the time to read and often share.
Example of Native Advertising:
- An online home goods retailer has heard a lot about native advertising and decides to add this form of advertising to their marketing mix. The company tests a few approaches, such as suggested posts on Facebook or promoted tweets on Twitter, to see what works best with its audience. The business decides to start with Facebook suggested posts and sponsored ads on Yahoo. These two approaches require a photo, headline and a line or two of content to blend into the rest of the content, while also having some targeting to better reach the intended audience. The retailer also tests sponsored content on a few home lifestyle websites. They write an informative article that is highly targeted to the site's audience, helping to promote their brand and a few key products, ultimately driving customers to their site.