The purpose of this article is to provide you with a better understanding of the merits and demerits of certain digital advertising tactics. The goal is to highlight very high-level features to help distinguish when one tactic may be preferred over another. In this article, the following digital marketing tactics will be reviewed:
On nearly a daily basis, the team at Corkboard Concepts is asked “Which digital marketing tactic is better?”, to which we have no easy answer! This article still does not answer which tactic is better but instead highlights, the situational strengths and weaknesses of these tactics. These cost and impact comparisons will look at more surface level metrics, rather than conversion based ones because that will depend on many factors, such as your industry, how well your campaigns are running and your brand.
And, at the end of the day, a well-rounded marketing strategy should employee many, if not all, of these tactics to drive success.
Paid Search Advertising, either utilizing Google Ads or Microsoft Ads (also known as Bing Ads), allows an advertising to place their business directly in front of users with relevant search queries. The goal of Paid Search Advertising is to get in front of users while either conducting Informational, Navigational or Transactional Search Queries. Google Ads are similar to that of Search Engine Optimization, both of which are core components of a company’s SEV.
Google search advertising is meant to reach consumers in the moment they go to search for something, whether that be you, your competitors, or something related to your industry. Search advertising traffic is often the most likely to convert when compared to other paid traffic sources.
Search advertising is a demand-based tactic, so frequency can be a problem. If your marketing strategy is reliant upon a high frequency of impressions in a short period of time, then search may not be right for you.
Likewise, due to the low availability of ad inventory, if you’re in a very competitive industry Paid Search Ads have a tendency to increase their average cost faster than other platforms may.
When considering Paid Search Ads, it’s important to take a look at the cost vs. impact tradeoff along with the scenarios to use them in.
On the Corkboard Concepts comparison scale, Google Ads sits on a 4 out of 5 on the cost spectrum and about a 4.5 out of 5 on the impact spectrum (when done right). A well conducted and optimized campaign can work to squeeze the cost number down the spectrum though.
Facebook and Instagram are two of the most widely adopted social media platforms and command a significant amount of the average American’s daily share of attention, making them not just viable for a social media approach but even a general media approach as well. That being said, there are good opportunities for social media, like Facebook and Instagram, and then there are poor situations as well.
Benefits of Facebook/Instagram Advertising:
Facebook advertising thrives when you know what your customers interests and goals are. If you can define specific psychographic attributes that are common among your target audience, chances are you can use those attributes to construct a Facebook campaign to reach that audience.
One of the drawbacks of relying solely on a Facebook campaign for your marketing strategy is that it can be difficult to reach customers when they are likely to convert. When users are on social media, it can be difficult to draw them away from it. This is where a compelling landing page and/or overall website is important for a positive user experience.
Facebook and Instagram have the benefit of being the most widely used social media channels. Facebook/Instagram advertising sits at roughly a 3 and a 3.5 out of 5 on the cost and impact spectrum, respectively. Similar to Search Ads with cost, social media optimization generally has the ability to push the impact of the campaign up the spectrum through better placements and targeting.
LinkedIn advertising is generally considered the professional network, and rightfully so. There are plenty of opportunities to target professionals on Facebook, but there are also plenty of opportunities to target social mavens on LinkedIn as well. That being said, the professional data stored on LinkedIn is substantial and definitely provides an edge up on other platforms.
LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities are best utilized when your campaign is designed to reach an audience of based on professional/educational attributes such as where they went to school, what industry they work in, or if they are looking for a job. LinkedIn advertising can be great for recruiting for such reasons.
LinkedIn strategies typically lack in their ability to target based on interest. While LinkedIn may have plenty of data on the professional status of many of its users, advertisers may be disappointed when it comes to its ability to reach users based on more nuanced attributes.
When looking at the pros and cons of LinkedIn advertising, targeting and reach/cost are generally two diverging concepts. Looking at the cost spectrum, LinkedIn advertising sets the bar for costly and it sits comfortably at a 5 out of 5. It’s not a surprising thing to see LinkedIn campaign CPMs in the $50-$100 range, a number that will make most programmatic specialists cringe. That being said, LinkedIn ads have a relatively high impact due to the high level of professional targeting and the general lack of “noise” on the platform compared to other social media outlets. Our scale is specifically looking at in-feed LinkedIn ads, as the impact and cost can change based on the placement types.
Programmatic display advertising is one of the most commonly used digital advertising outlets that business owners’ don’t identify with the name! Programmatic display advertising is a marketers way of trying to dress up “banner ads”. It’s programmatic because it automatically targets behaviors and display or banner advertising is the median.
Programmatic display is a great way to efficiently reach an audience at scale. Easily one of the most affordable types of digital impressions, display offers advertisers the ability to reach consumers based on a variety of different parameters. Targeting options and ad sizes are both extremely versatile, offering advertisers the ability to easily create a comprehensive campaign with multiple tactics and creative elements.
While display offers a great branding capability to advertisers, such campaigns do not often yield many last-click conversions. Typically, users visiting a website from clicking a display ad are interacting with the brand for the first time and are unlikely to convert at that time.
One of the biggest things with display advertising is the general reach of display platforms and their cost. It is likely one of the cheapest platforms in a digital marketer’s repertoire. That being said, the cost is certainly a trade off with impact which is also likely one of the lowest. Display advertising is essentially a 1 out of 5 on both cost and impact scales.
Programmatic video advertising has most of the targeting opportunities as programmatic display. This includes remarketing, behavioral targeting, contextual targeting and more. The benefit is then in the delivery – the message that the ad gets to carry and where it is placed.
Programmatic video brings with it all of the great targeting capabilities that we see with display, but with the added benefits of sight, sound, motion, and emotion. Marketers can create campaigns that reach an audience with multiple tactics, and serve that audience compelling video creative within an online environment.
While video ads are great for building a brand among a targeted audience, relying on a video campaign as a direct source of paid traffic is not recommended. Users are not likely to click through on a video ad. Instead, they typically will do an independent search after seeing relevant video creative multiple times.
Looking at programmatic video advertising, it’s essentially a wash when compared to display advertising with a cost in about the 3 out of 5 and the impact a 3 out of 5. If your “impact” is connected to click and direct conversion metrics, then a video tactic may seem low but if you consider the value of the view and the branding impression it makes – the impact is quite high for Video advertising.
Similar to other programmatic offerings and very closely related to Programmatic Video (you could even look at it as a subset of video advertising that hits “large screens”), OTT is a programmatic tactic that pushes on traditional TV advertising. Gone are the limitations that come from Linear TV advertising, Programmatic OTT can target down to zip codes,
OTT, or over-the-top, offers advertisers a brand new way to reach consumers with high-impact video creative. Much of that impact comes from the fact that many OTT placements occur on the big screen in homes, a destination formerly only reachable with traditional media. Secondarily, many OTT ads are non-skippable and in order to exit the ad, the viewer must leave whatever content that they are watching. this is especially attractive when you consider that most OTT content is long form (20+min).
While OTT platforms provide a great way to deliver high quality video impressions, you don’t always have the same targeting tactics available to you as with other types of programmatic media. This can differ from platform to platform. Additionally, the costs associated with OTT can be a barrier to entry, not only are the impressions sold at a premium, OTT typically calls for creative elements with higher production values.
Considering the targeting and placement of OTT advertising, it is relatively high impact. We place it on a 4 out of a 5 point scale for viewing impact – similar to that of standard programmatic video but a step ahead due to the nature of a large screen, long format ad. Likewise, due to the cost of targeting and limited inventory, programmatic OTT ranges on the higher end of the cost spectrum as well, roughly a 5 out of 5 as well.
Despite the favoritism that some may place towards specific advertising tactics or platforms, all advertising tactics not equal. The favoritism that some show towards tactics are based on past successes, but those are generally situation, industry relevant or just personal preference – it does not mean it will work for everyone, in every industry, at all times.
Consider the goals of your advertising campaigns to select the tactics to be used. Some will support branding better, where others will drive direct-response. Some messages work better with social, where others need to be in video or display. Sometimes one supports the other.
What most companies need is a “marketing chef” to mix the ingredients right! Use the image below for your next recipe: