Navigating the world of digital advertising with lean marketing budget is a daunting task. Perhaps you’ve heard of programmatic advertising but got confused by the technicalities or turned off by the minimum budget requirement from media agencies.
The good news is that there are highly effective digital ad platforms that are small business-friendly too! In fact, you can start your ad campaign with as little as $10/day charged to your credit card.
1) Google Ads
Internet usage is largely driven by search. It practically defines how we look for information online or mobile. For this reason, search is one of the best channels to deliver that cost-effective conversions (a sale or a email sign up or a lead generated), which is something most small businesses prioritise conversion in their advertising campaigns.
Under the Google umbrella also sits Youtube, which is an excellent way of increasing awareness and engagement of your business or product. But bear in mind that success is contingent on the quality of your video ad content. Your video ad needs to convince your audience NOT to click on “skip ad” within 5 seconds, otherwise you’ll end up with a costly ad campaign with loads of views but nothing much else to show for it.
2) Facebook Ads
Everyone is on social media today and Facebook dominates this space with Instagram under its wing. Facebook Ads are an excellent platform in helping small businesses grow, simply because of how accurately you are able to narrow down your target audience and also the fact that you have absolute control over your campaign budget.
Part of the reason why targeting on Facebook works so well is because of the amount of data, we as users feed the algorithm through our likes, shares and time spent specific pieces of content. While this gives rise to privacy concerns, it also makes for powerful ad targeting.
If you are clear on your audience persona, you can target users down to a very granular level by using multiple layering to narrow down your audience. The main reason why some businesses complain that they’ve tried Facebook ads but didn’t get results out of it is usually due to poor targeting.
Even if you don’t have a clearly defined audience persona yet, with the control you have over your budget, you can easily test out different types of content and target audiences to find out which works best for your business before scaling. This means you can be way more cost-efficient with your digital advertising.
3) Native Advertising (e.g. Outbrain)
You may have encountered this at the end of news stories or articles as recommended content that you may also like. While search is led by user intention, the opposite is true of content discovery as the prospect encounters branded content while browsing online. That means the prospect may not be aware of the need for your product or service, so why is this important?
That’s where content marketing comes in. It’s imperative that your content is informative, inspiring or entertaining to the reader. Say you are a travel operator, then an example of informative and inspirational content would be “5 Undiscovered beaches in South East Asia”.
In my opinion, content discovery is useful for products and services that require a longer runway for user education e.g. financial services or health products. It is also useful for everyday products, i.e. FMCGs, which have a low volume of online searches, because people usually don’t think twice about buying it off the shelf. Think about it, when was the last time you typed in “laundry detergent” in the search bar? But people would be more likely to click on article about “Tried and tested ways to removing coffee stains”.
In summary, all these digital ad platforms allow end users to easily set up an advertising account with a credit card. They are huge on self-help, so you’ll find a lots of literature in their help pages to guide you step-by-step.
While it sounds simple, be warned that it can be daunting for novices, so it may be worthwhile to get someone with experience to set up the necessary tags for you to get the full benefit of these platforms, especially the remarketing function which allows you to retarget users who have visited your website or viewed your previous content.