Online advertising is an essential tool in your marketing arsenal.
Not doing it yet? Then you must be thinking whether you should do it or not, because brands of all sizes, even places like KFC and McDonalds, are advertising online.
While online advertising is extremely beneficial for any business, there are some disadvantages that you should consider. To decide whether or not you will invest in this approach, you should look at the complete picture. Here are some pros and cons of online advertising.
What’s so great about online advertising?
To answer this question simply – many things.
Have you noticed that most people have migrated to the online world? They shop online, they watch movies and shows online, they learn online and they read online.
A smart business sees this as an instant opportunity, and this is evident in how brands bounce off each other in the online space: for example, Stephen Fry’s ‘Victorian Secrets’ advertising on Audible’s main webpage.
Sure, posting an ad in newspapers is great. But if no one is reading it, what’s the point? When you move to blogs and social media – the online version of newspapers – you can see the value of online advertising quite quickly.
Companies like Serenata Flowers have started advertising on Youtube videos to let customers know about their last-minute delivery service – a great example of a moment when you might get a real advantage from 24/7 advertising as people scramble to book for an occasion they’d forgotten about.
Here are some benefits of online advertising you should know about:
#1. It reaches a specific audience
When you put an ad in the newspaper, on TV or any other traditional media, you reach thousands. Tens of thousands. But how many people actually respond to these ads?
The fact is, they aren’t very specific. Yes, they often speak to a specific audience but everyone who watches the TV or reads that newspaper will be forced to see it. People have gone numb. These ads blow right past them.
But an online ad appears specifically in front of people that will be interested in it. For example, men’s shaving kit ads won’t appear in front of women. This is what makes a difference. That ad is relevant to men – and if written properly, they will pay attention.
Targeting possibilities on Twitter
Possibilities of targeting on Facebook
#2. It’s customer-centric
While ads in the traditional media are forced upon the audience, online ads are not. A person can see them and skip them without being forced to pay attention or watch them. They can also turn their ad blocker on and avoid all ads if they want to. Or, they can click and this would give them a ton of information that they could really find useful in their life.
Customers can click away from the ad if they want to
#3. It’s inexpensive
TV ads are really expensive. However, online ads are not – depending on where you place it, of course. This is especially important to remember in comparison to the value.
Online, you can track your ads, you can send them to a specific audience, you can test them and see which ones work best. On TV, what you make is what you get. When you compare the value of TV ads and online ads you’ll see that the former are outrageously more expensive. In fact, you can even do online advertising for free.
#4. It’s engaging and has many possibilities
Have you noticed how fun online ads can be? For instance, you see an ad that simply asks you to complete a personality quiz – who can resist those? And as you complete it you get a personalized offer of products based on your answers.
There are numerous similar examples. Different media come with different perks. All of these fun possibilities allow you to get creative with your advertising – which makes this job way more fun for you. Many online ads feature snappy, cute videos which help audiences engage with the products.
#5. You can make real-time changes
When you create a TV or a newspaper ad, that’s it – once it’s published, you can’t make any changes so easily. But with online ads, you get to change whatever you want. The prices, the images, the format – everything.
#6. Limitless amount of space for information
If your viewers want to see more, they can access a limitless amount of information on your company, your products and everything related to you easily.
Think about how the new Marvel movie was advertised; it came with the expectation that viewers would probably go and do research themselves.
When it comes to traditional media, this burden falls upon uncomfortable phone calls no one likes to make.
#7. Global coverage
A TV or newspaper ad could receive plenty of attention – but from one country only. If you want to expand, this can cost a lot more money. However, in the online world, there is no such thing. When you post an ad, you decide who sees it. This person could be on the opposite side of the globe, and your ad would still reach them.
Think about how charities like Doctors Without Borders use social media to appeal to people across the world when there is a crisis.
Why is online advertising not so great?
To be honest – there isn’t much in the cons list for online advertising. Online advertising is a whole new world, full of wonder and possibilities. The best part about it is that it isn’t going away anytime soon. But, if you really want to nitpick, here are some of the most noticeable disadvantages.
#1. Plenty of competition
Not every company can pay for traditional media advertising. So, you get to be the king (or queen) of that world. But, online, everyone can afford it. In fact, they can’t afford not too, so the competition runs high. Still, it’s a big place and everyone gets to shine in their own time and for their own audience.
Competition in Google paid ads
#2. Declining ad clicks
This can be a big issue. People click on ads less and less. It may be because of the huge amount of ads available. But, there are millions of alternatives when it comes to the online world, you just have to find something that works for you.
#3. It requires skills and knowledge
Online advertising requires a different set of experts than traditional advertising. While you can do it on your own, it’s best to get an expert if you want to achieve optimal results.
In essence, this is an easy decision. Online advertising is certainly not the only way of promoting your products or services but it’s one of the most effective ones. While being careful about your business and marketing moves is good, this is a step that should come naturally.
Building an online presence will allow you to have a bigger audience and better results. It’s different than traditional marketing but that’s what makes it so good – it follows trends and adapts quickly. The best thing about it – it really works.
Guest author: Katrina Hatchett works as a marketing specialist at Academic Brits. She has been involved in various business projects, where her main aim is to define project problems and propose solutions, as well as improving overall communication effectiveness. Also, she writes for PhD Kingdom and Origin Writings, academic service.