Despite the fact that the bulk of marketers worldwide have in recent months readily shunned internet advertising in favour of their current darling ‘content marketing’, we believe that there is still a very valid place in the marketing mix for internet advertising.

Depending on your objectives, your products and services and the habits of your target market, internet advertising may be the best way to grab the attention you need.

Content Marketing vs. Internet Advertising – what’s the difference?

Before we continue – lets first clarify the difference between Internet Advertising and Content Marketing.

Internet Advertising

Literally the digital counterpart to traditional print advertising in for example, newspapers and magazines – internet advertising promotes services and products through a range of online advertisements such as banner ads, rich media ads, social network ads (such as ads on LinkedIn and Facebook) and search engine paid ads (such as Google AdWords). Internet advertising aims to garner an immediate response whether you are promoting brand awareness or selling a specific product or service.

Content Marketing

Based on the sharing of valuable information, content marketing is the art of enriching your customers level of knowledge while communicating your goods and services to them without a direct sales approach. Using articles, white-papers, news items, ebooks, how-to guides, infographics, case studies, video material and so on, content marketing aims to entrench a relationship with the customer rather than garner an immediate response.

No decline in online advertising just yet

Online advertising is a very serious contender to traditional media. This shift is a result of the fact that people are spending more time online and less time reading printed newspapers, magazines and watching TV.

Consider for example the consumer shift to paid online magazine subscriptions which are rapidly replacing their traditional printed counterparts – here is just one example that bears testament to this.

Recent research conducted by Helsinki based shopping analytics firm RapidBlue, has identified a strong correlation in the number of shoppers and the amount of time (and money) they spent in a selection of stores when these stores ran Google AdWords campaigns, while other research has confirmed that online advertising continues to have a distinct influence on the brands we engage with and the services we buy.

So if in the past you have spent money on traditional media, then investigating your options to transfer at least some of that spend to online advertising may be a good option.

How internet advertising works

The same rules apply to online advertising as they do to any other form of marketing. You need to target the correct audience at the correct timeusing the correct message.

Take TV commercials for example. The ads featured between afternoon soapies differ significantly from those featured around nine in the evening. In print – you wouldn’t advertise your brand of nappies in the next edition of Bike SA.

The four most common ways in which online advertising is purchased includes cost per click (CPC), cost per impression (CPM), cost per action (CPA), and cost per lead (CPL).

You’ll boost your success rate if in addition to placing your ad in the right spot at the right time using the most affordable revenue model, you decide on which of these two key forms of online advertising will work for you:

A. Search Network Advertising – text based ads that appear when you are you are browsing the internet using a search engine (Google Ads on the right hand column for example). Here you are appealing to someone who is browsing the internet, using a search engine and looking for a solution to a specific need (I’m looking for nappies in my area).

B. Display Advertising – visually appealing ads using both text and imagery and which typically appear as banner ads, pop-up ads and floating ads on websites. Here you are trying to grab the attention of a fairly captive audience (I visit ‘Parent24’ as a mom who is always on the lookout for new and improved products for my baby).

So what ultimately makes online advertising successful is the same targeted approach you would take to any other tool in marketing. Engaging in targeted marketing remains best practice.

If you are shooting from the hip, it doesn’t matter whether you are advertising in print media, on radio, on TV or whether you are engaging in social media or producing reams of content to satisfy latest trends – you will not see real benefits without a solid strategy.

What do you want to achieve & what is your budget?

Consider first and foremost what you wish to achieve. Are you selling a product and want to increase sales? are you wanting to build brand awareness? or are you wanting to create more linkage to your website?. Your answer will determine whether in the online marketing sphere, content marketing will achieve your goals over internet advertising. Secondly, decide on a budget. What are you prepared to spend on your marketing?. Your budget will have a significant impact on your final decision.

In any marketing effort – consistency is key. Consistency and your ability to aim for, and hit your target every time. If by a process of elimination, your strategic efforts reveal internet advertising to be the most profitable route for you – don’t be put off by the content marketing hype that debunks the efficacy of internet advertising. Internet advertising does work and its is here to stay.

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