What Is Digital Advertising & Paid Media: Does it Matter?

“What is Digital Advertising?” This is a common question from millions of business owners and is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be.

What if you only had to pay to advertise to the people most likely to buy your products? How much money would you save? That is what Facebook advertising offers you. 

With the right targeting and ad placement, your business can thrive with paid advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and other digital advertising networks. You will reach the audience that buys your products and be able to stretch your advertising budgets further. 

Primary Ways to Use Digital Advertising:

Step 1. Brand Awareness

If your business isn’t well known, these are the types of ads you need to run first. These ads have one purpose, let your target audience know who you are and how you can make their life better.

Step 2. Lead Generation

So your business now has a good level of awareness. Now you need to move into generating leads that you can continue to market through email marketing and retargeting campaigns. Lead generation ads will advertise your lead generator with the goal of getting sign-ups and increasing your email list.

Step 3. Retargeting

You can use digital advertising to link straight to your store and attempt to convert your ad into revenue. This is most effective when you already have a lot of data about your target audience. (Email List, Leads, etc)
However, if you jump straight to this step you risk losing a lot of cash for little results.

Digital Advertising Platforms Pros & Cons:


ProsFlexible Spending: On Facebook, you can spend as much or as little as you want according to your budget and goals, making it ideal for small and big businesses alike.Microtargeting: On Facebook, you can target users based on demographic information such as age, gender, location, and language, as well as detailed interests and behavioral targeting to reach the large Facebook audience in a highly segmented way.Wide Audience: Again, Facebook has 2 Billion active monthly users, and they span across ages and demographics. If you want the widest reach for social, Facebook is where to put your ad spend.Retargeting: The Facebook Pixel allows you to track user actions once they interact with your ad. This allows you to get valuable insights as well as retarget to consumers who have taken any number of valuable actions on your site.Lookalike Audiences: My favorite thing about Facebook Ads is the ability to target an audience that looks like users who were valuable to you in some way. Do you want to find brand new users who are most likely to download your whitepaper? Create a lookalike audience to find people similar to those who have already downloaded it.ConsTime-Intensive: To keep frequency and reach in check, and to avoid ad fatigue, Facebook advertising requires constant monitoring and ad refreshes to give your business the best shot at success on the platform. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to this, you may not see the best possible results.Creativity Required: Simple text ads like you can utilize with Google AdWords don’t cut it in Facebook; creative is visual with a focus on video and mobile optimization. Having good creative resources is essential for success with Facebook advertising.


ProsVisual Focus: Instagram ads are meant to be visually appealing to captivate your audience. High-quality photos and videos grab user attention and promote positive brand awareness.Detailed Targeting: Instagram has the same hyper-focused targeting capabilities as Facebook (and Instagram is owned by Facebook, in case you didn’t know). This means you can reach just the right user for your product, and tailor your messaging to their interests.Shopping/Collections: Especially important for retail and e-commerce, Instagram allows you to group a collection of products together, or to inform users of the products highlighted in a photo or video in your ad. You can give the user a Call-to-Action to encourage purchases launched from within the app.ConsLimited Audience: Instagram has a much younger user base, with 90% of users younger than 35 years old. This is great for certain brands like fashion lines, but not as good for anyone with a much older target audience.Minimal Text Copy: Because captivating photos and videos are the focus in Instagram, any text-heavy images or extra lengthy copy are not going to do well on this platform.Time-Intensive: Like Facebook, staying fresh and relevant, as well as engaging with users, requires a lot of time and effort compared to search platforms like AdWords. An in-house advertiser who is responsible for all channels will probably not be able to devote as much time as they’ll need in learning as well as production.


ProsValuable Audience & Detailed Targeting: B2B customers will find their perfect audience on LinkedIn. Its user base is largely business professionals, and the targeting options are specific and related to users’ professions. Target based on salary, job title, employer, company size, etc. An approach that mimics an ABM strategy works well for my clients on LinkedIn.Higher Lead Quality: It’s easy to reach top decision-makers on LinkedIn. You can even specifically target C-suite users. Member demos like income and job responsibility skew higher for LinkedIn than for the other platforms.Varied Ad Formats: You can utilize text ads similar to what you find in AdWords, or you can take a content marketing approach and sponsor content such as blog posts to share with the top-of-funnel audience you’re after. There are also display ads, lead generation forms, and video ads to choose from.ConsHigher CPCs/CPAs: getting quality clicks or leads is great, but it does come at a higher cost for LinkedIn compared to come other social platforms.Limited Learning Resources: Compared to Facebook, LinkedIn has nowhere near the level of educational resources available to new advertisers. There are FAQs and Help sections, but I find myself wanting coursework akin to the Facebook Blueprint syllabus.Not Ideal for E-commerce: Because there are no product ads, and because LinkedIn users are expecting a personal and professional experience when they use the site, LinkedIn is not the best platform for E-commerce businesses.


ProsLarge Audience: Twitter boasts of over 330 million active monthly users, meaning you can engage with a large (and varied) audience. Take a look at Twitter member stats to get an idea of the potential audience available to reach. Custom audiences built around your followers, competitors followers, or user interests are a key benefit of Twitter ads.Keyword Targeting: Unlike the other major social media advertising platforms discussed here, Twitter allows you to reach users who have recently tweeted or searched for terms you include in your campaign targeting.ConsFast-Paced: Users tweet by-the-minute updates, so the fleeting nature of messages in the feed means that brands are more likely to go unnoticed on Twitter compared to other platforms.Limited Messaging: Only 280 characters means that messages have to be brief. Shortened URLs do give you the ability to link to longer content hosted elsewhere, though.Time-Intensive: Because Twitter is fast-paced, success on the platform requires dedication of time and resources to stay relevant, fresh, and visible amidst the constant stream of new content into the feed.User Perception: Users are more likely to see sponsored/promoted tweets as spam. There have also been instances where brands fail at fitting in on the platform, which means you’re often better safe than sorry when it comes to hopping on hashtag bandwagons or finding your voice on a trending topic.

Google Ads (PPC)

ProsRelevance: Part of what makes Google Ads a great advertising option is that it provides you with not just a big audience, but a relevant one. Now, this doesn’t replace SEO. SEO is a slow and strategic process that generates traffic for your website for free, especially for competitive keywords. Google Ads can work as a shortcut to get your website to the top of SERPs more quickly and easily. You can rank number one for keywords you’ve only dreamt of ranking for in your deepest and wildest fantasies.Remarketing: Most businesses, especially those in the B2B space, need to interact with users multiple times before a deal closes or a purchase is made. So, getting a user to click your ad and visit your site is nice, but getting them to talk to your sales team rarely happens on the first go-around.ConsAd Trust: Again, Google Ads are a great way to boost your visibility and get your brand in front of people for keywords that you are struggling to rank for with SEO. BUT, at the end of the day, showing up on that search page as an ad is not as effective as showing up there organically. People inherently trust organic results more because they know that site didn’t have to pay to be there.Learning Curve: There is definitely a huge learning curve to Google Ads that might take a while to get the hang of. No other ad platform has as many bells and whistles as Google Ads, a lot of which go forever untouched by most advertisers. This is partially because not many people know how to use them. Also, some of them don’t really make sense or are only valuable to specific, very niche industries.


ProsBuyers Trust Yelp: Yelp started in 2004 as a scrappy business listing and has worked hard to establish a firm niche in that category. It’s not going away any time soon; and that longevity has created public trust. Much of the traffic that refers back to Yelp is from Google or Bing search engines. This is the most coveted traffic as it’s real, organic traffic.Yelp is Local: Those are excellent numbers, but what makes Yelp even better is that it’s local. And that’s baked into how they do business. From Yelp’s reviews to their business profiles, Yelp focuses on small business information and local search. It lives and breathes local advertising and thus does a wonderful job ranking high on Google for local companies.ConsExpensive: If you choose to advertise, Yelp charges on a cost-per-click model for ads, just like Google Ads. They also have similar click costs: from $.30 a click for low interest things like sushi in Texas to $40 a click for legal in Manhattan. That said, you can extra service from Yelp if you pay for an expanded Yelp business page which STARTS at $300 a month. Yes, $300 a month. For some small businesses, that’s their entire ad budget. And for some, yes, it’s worth it because Yelp is rather good for advertising food or restaurants. For others, it’s not because you’ll have a hard time spending $300 on a service that doesn’t return $300 in profit.Value is Vague: 39 Celsius had a blog that talks about this problem. For their sample account, Yelp reported that over 7,000 leads went back to the business. The target company didn’t receive 7,000 actual names and email addresses. And of the 3,622 clicks Yelp said they forwarded to the target site, Yelp won’t tell you who they are. So, unless these “leads” convert to a solid user list, we have to question the long-term value.

The Foundations of Social Media Marketing Series

Table Of Contents

  1. How To Choose The Best Platform For Your Business
  2. How To Set Make Social Media Marketing Goals Worth Investing In
  3. How To Create Scroll-Stopping Social Media Content in 3 Steps
  4. How The New Instagram Algorithm Works In 2021
  5. How To Beat The Facebook Algorithm In 2021
  6. What is Digital Advertising & Paid Media