What is digital advertising? (1)

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising is a targeted, data-driven advertising strategy for reaching consumers in every stage of the buying funnel and moving them from one stage of the buying funnel to the next. From awareness to purchase, you can use digital media advertising (and online ad channels like Google) to drive revenue.

How is digital advertising different from traditional advertising?

If you’re familiar with traditional advertising, digital advertising shares a few similarities.

Like traditional advertising, it promotes your business, products, and services to generate brand awareness, sales, and more. It leverages digital, rather than traditional channels, however. Instead of billboards and magazines, your ads appear on Google, Facebook, YouTube, and more.

Online advertising also comes with a massive amount of data. You can track the performance of your campaigns in real-time, for example. In addition, you can learn about the demographics, interests, and habits of the people viewing and interacting with your ads.

In comparison, traditional advertising delivers the bare minimum when it comes to data. You don’t have immediate insight into your campaign’s performance. A billboard, for example, may provide your team with almost zero data.

That’s why digital advertising often seems like a smart alternative to traditional advertising.

4 types of digital advertising for your business

Advertise your business online, and your company can take advantage of four types of digital advertising:

  • Search
  • Display
  • Social
  • Influencer


Today, 80 percent of shoppers start their product research online. Many go to their favorite search engine, like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!, to get started. With search advertising, your company can promote your products and services on these platforms.

While your ads can appear in search results (like in the examples above), they can also display across affiliate websites. Google, for example, features a search partners network. This network consists of sites approved to display ads created for Google.

When you create ads for search, you target specific searches or keywords. For the best results, your business should target transactional keywords, which means the searcher wants to buy something, like landscaping services for their business or emergency heating and cooling services for their home.

If you’re looking to reach users in earlier stages of the buying funnel, it’s more cost-effective to use digital marketing. You can use content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), for example, to appear at the top of relevant, informational searches related to landscaping or HVAC upkeep.

You can even use digital or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to support your other online marketing strategies. PPC, for instance, is an excellent partner to SEO. While you’re working on increasing your organic rankings via SEO, PPC helps your business establish an immediate presence in search results.

As an example, look at the search results below.

Salesforce, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, appears as an organic and paid search result. The company’s coordinated PPC and SEO effort allows it to capitalize on searches related to its products and services.

If you start a PPC and SEO campaign, this example can serve as a long-term goal for your business. At the beginning of your strategy, you won’t appear at the top of organic search results, but PPC can help your company establish an instant presence in high-value search results.


A significant percentage of users (90 percent, in fact) credit video for helping them make a purchase decision. That’s why display is becoming a core part of digital advertising. When you advertise via display channels, you can incorporate compelling images and videos into your ads.

With display advertising, your ads appear across affiliate websites, which can include YouTube. You can launch a display advertising campaign with search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. For many businesses, Google is the preferred choice because its display ads appear on YouTube.

Google’s ownership of YouTube is significant, as 80 percent of people admit to switching between search and video channels when researching a product or service. That means your company could reach users on both pivotal channels.


Companies can also take advantage of digital advertising on social media networks, which include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

With social media, your business can create text, image, and video ads. If you decide to use social media for promoting your company, try to build video or image ads, as these tend to perform better than text ads.

As a digital media advertising channel, social media also offers your business access to additional bidding options. For example, on Twitter, you can use cost-per-follow (CPF) if you’re looking to earn more followers. Or, you can use cost-per-send (CPS) on LinkedIn if you want to reach passive candidates.


Businesses that invest in social media advertising also partner with influencers on various social media networks. Influencers carry immense value because they have the trust and respect of your target audience, which means they can recommend products or services with success.

Compared to other digital advertising channels, influencers adopt a different pricing model. For example, an influencer may have a flat-rate fee based on their number of followers or engagement rates on posts. Or, they may charge your business on the performance of your sponsored posts.

As an example, influencers on Instagram generally follow one of two pricing models.

  • $10 per post, per 1000 followers
  • $250 to $750 per 1000 post engagements

Many companies prefer influencers that charge based on post engagement. That’s because post engagement tends to provide a more accurate view of that influencer’s audience. Plus, you want users to interact with your sponsored post because that moves them down the funnel.

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