How to Choose the Best Online Advertising Platforms for Your Business
October 15, 2023
Clarify Your Core Marketing Objectives and KPIs
The first step is to outline the primary goals and metrics that will determine online advertising success for your business. Common objectives include:
- Lead generation – gaining more qualified leads and conversions.
- Brand awareness – increasing visibility and reach for your brand.
- Sales – directly driving more revenue and online purchases.
- Customer engagement – more interaction and time spent with your brand.
Having clear marketing objectives and identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) for each will inform your platform evaluation. These metrics could include sales, leads, traffic, engagement rate, click-through-rate, cost per conversion and more. Defined goals and KPIs give you criteria for comparing and selecting channels.
Analyze Your Target Audience in Depth
Gaining in-depth insights into your ideal target audience is vital for platform selection. Core aspects to research include:
- Demographics – age, gender, income, education level and other attributes of your audience.
- Geographic distribution – locations of your target customers.
- Behavioral patterns – online/offline habits, purchasing preferences and other behaviors.
- Needs and interests – motivations, problems they face, and topics that resonate.
- Media consumption habits – sites, social platforms, and apps they actively use.
- Active times – when they are most active online on weekdays/weekends.
Equipped with detailed audience insights, you can determine which platforms offer the right reach and engagement opportunities.
Evaluate Competitors’ Online Advertising Strategies
Researching where and how competitors advertise online can reveal proven platforms and approaches in your industry.
- Advertising channels competitors are leveraging – search, social media, display ads, etc.
- Their ad spending across platforms based on reported figures or estimates.
- The types of ad formats, offers and creatives used.
- Competitive strengths to counter and weaknesses to capitalize on.
Their strategy can guide your channel selection, especially for intensely competitive keywords and offerings.
Compare Pricing Models Across Platforms
The pricing model and minimum ad spend requirements vary widely across advertising platforms. Consider factors like:
- Auction-based pricing – Google charges per click based on bid price and ad rank.
- Impression-based pricing – Facebook charges per 1,000 ad impressions.
- Engagement-based pricing – YouTube bills per view for 6 seconds or more.
- Contract durations and minimums – Some platforms require monthly commitments.
Along with pricing, factor in results from any past campaigns and your current advertising budget allocation. Platform costs should align with potential ROI.
Audit Your Creative Assets and Bandwidth
The formats and creatives required vary for each platform. For example:
- Google Text Ads – Short text with headlines, description and display URL.
- Facebook/Instagram – Images, videos and carousel ads.
- YouTube – Video ads of up to 6 minutes.
Assess if you have the in-house skills and bandwidth to generate all required ad formats and assets. Producing effective creative is pivotal for campaign success.
Compare Targeting and Segmentation Capabilities
The audience targeting and segmentation options vary significantly across advertising platforms. Consider:
- User profiles – Targeting by interests, demographics, behaviors, etc.
- Contextual – Placing ads relevant to page content users are viewing.
- Geo-targeting – Targeting locations like countries, cities, radius from stores.
- Device targeting – Serving ads to specific devices like mobiles vs. desktops.
- Retargeting – Re-engaging users who previously visited you.
- Custom combinations – Grouping highly specific traits and signals.
More precise targeting translates to higher relevance for users and better conversions for you.
Review Attribution Models and Analytics
The options to track ROI and attribute conversions to campaigns differs by platform:
- Google Analytics integration – Understand user journeys across channels.
- Multi-touch attribution – Attribute impact across multiple interactions.
- Customizable dashboards – Tailor reporting to your business needs.
- Competitive insights – Review performance benchmarked to competition.
Robust analytics will be vital for continuously optimizing and improving performance of your campaigns.
Choosing the ideal mix of online advertising platforms is a multi-factor process based on your audience, budget, creatives and business goals. With strategic analysis of these key aspects, you can determine the channels offering the maximum ROI and visibility for your advertising budget. Continuous performance tracking and optimization is then crucial for long-term success.