Where to Invest Your Paid Ad Budget

A lot has changed this year in terms of where you can, and often should, invest your paid marketing budget. And although Google is still where you should start your journey, some advertising platforms have made drastic changes over the last year in order to compete with the billion-dollar elephant in the room.

Google

Let’s get this one out of the way now. Google is king. It has been king for some time, and it is still where you should test your marketing budget before venturing down the rabbit hole of paid advertising options. With Google you have a massive audience to tap into, and you can tailor your targeting to niche down to the people who are likely to convert. Several tools are available to help deliver different ad formats, run A/B tests, research new keywords, and remarket ads.

Pros:

  • The largest network, Google captures traffic from Google.com, connected properties like Youtube, and third-party websites that make use of Google’s search technology or their Adsense program (the image ads that you see on other websites).
  • Provides remarketing options for past site visitors, letting you continue to show ads to anyone who visits your website.
  • Deep targeting settings, letting you finely target people within your audience.
  • Text, image, and video ads let you try different mediums to get your message across to viewers.
  • Google is the default search engine for Android phones, providing a nice boost to mobile traffic.

Cons:

  • For hyper-competitive markets, the cost per click (CPC) can be so high that your return on investment is even. We have seen personal injury stretch into several hundreds of dollars for CPC, even for more niched topic areas like workers’ compensation.
  • Remarketing can’t be done for individuals within certain topic areas, such as medical injuries.
  • Google heavily pushes its advertisers to use their automated bidding systems, which although improving over time, still lack the competitive edge needed for the legal industry.
  • Customer support leaves a lot to be desired. You are often sent to overseas call centers where the phone rep only provides boilerplate responses. Getting the right technical assistance can mean calling several times until you speak to someone willing to go above and beyond their duties, and often language barriers can make understanding account issues difficult.

Bing

Even though Bing only captures a small fraction of the total internet search traffic that exists, they are still the second largest search engine around. The majority of advertisers ignore Bing, and this allows for really low bids for a decent share of traffic.

Pros:

  • Bing is the second most used search engine in the United States.
  • Bing is the default search engine for most PC computers, so desktop ads tend to do well here.
  • Bing can see CPC prices that are 1/10th the cost of clicks on Google, so smaller firms or those with lesser funds to invest in paid advertising tend to do well on Bing.
  • Bing does not require a large investment to see solid traffic, making it an ideal place to spend your marketing budget if bids on Google stretch into the $100+ area.
  • Bing offers ad settings and targeting similar to Google.
  • You can import campaigns directly from Google Ads. This lets you create campaigns on Google first to leverage their larger share of user data, then import optimized targeting settings into Bing.

Cons:

  • It does not do well for some industries, and mobile traffic tends to be very weak on Bing’s network.
  • Limited conversion tracking for phone calls. It is recommended that you use a call tracking solution like CallRail or CallTrackingMetrics.

Facebook

And now we are tapping into social platform marketing. The success that you’ll see on Facebook is dependent on the kind of audience that you want to target. Facebook does well for the 25+ age demographic, but not as well for the younger audience. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, tends to have more success for the 18-25 group. Through Facebook’s advertising dashboard, you can create ads that target both groups.

Pros:

  • Highly detailed targeting, able to focus ads to a very niche subgroup of people.
  • Very high exposure to ad images and copy. Facebook will get you a massive amount of impressions and often a large volume of clicks as well.
  • Outside of the Facebook feed and the sidebar, the Facebook Network also stretches into Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook Stories.

Cons:

  • Facebook does not permit more than 20% of the surface areas of ad images to contain text.
  • Conversion rate tends to be very low depending on the kind of ads being run.
  • Conversion tracking can be tricky. Facebook offers numerous ways to track goals on the website, but it should be paired with a phone tracking system for the best results.

Reddit

Reddit is a nice secret weapon of 2019. In the past, Reddit worked on a cost per impression system where you would pay based on how often your ads were seen. Because most people are self-trained to ignore ads, this approach made it a weaker marketing avenue for law firms. However, Reddit updated its marketing platform to include a CPC model that is very effective in driving high volumes of traffic to your website. Instead of paying by impression, you only pay for users who actually interact with your ad.

Pros:

  • Massive exposure for a very low cost.
  • Less competition from other advertisers, as Reddit only recently switched its ad network to using a Pay-Per-Click model.

Cons:

  • Highly dependent upon targeting popular subreddits (groups).
  • Ads are limited in screen size and perform better if they are presented in a more casual way, very direct to a niche audience.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the Facebook for professionals and it excels at targeting ads to people based on education, experience, and employment. It has very detailed targeting for these areas, letting you really niche out your ads to a similar level of detail as Facebook. You will see much lower traffic than Facebook but depending on the kind of ads that you are running, you may find more success here.

Pros:

  • Excellent for targeting people based on their professional lives. Often considered to be the Facebook for business professionals.
  • Highly detailed targeting methods, similar to Facebook.

Cons:

  • Most of the detailed targeting is focused on business/employment details. If you are trying to target an audience outside of this, you are better off running ads through Facebook.

Twitter

People often forget Twitter as a marketing platform, but it has a solid audience, highly detailed targeting, and its own targeting options that other marketing platforms simply don’t offer. The downside is that it’s still a very small player when it comes to ad traffic, and the data behind its platform puts it behind Facebook and Google in terms of results. Still, depending on your campaign needs, it could be worth investing some budget into their network.

Pros:

  • Campaigns that focus on social outreach do fairly well here. If there is a new class-action suit, for example, you can use Twitter to get the word out and help spread the news.
  • Since Twitter only works well in specific situations, the CPC is very low.
  • Ads that tell a story tend to perform well on Twitter. It may be worth boosting blog content on Twitter to build an audience.

Cons:

  • Twitter performs well below Facebook and Google, making it only worth using as an addition to existing campaigns on those networks.
  • If your ads do not spark a conversation, or you do not have time to assist in promoting these conversations, the effectiveness of these campaigns can stall.

Geofencing

Geofencing isn’t a new marketing tactic, but it is still unknown to most advertisers. With Google and Bing, you are relying on people using those search engines to see your ads. With Facebook, Reddit, and Linkedin, people need to be using those social networks to see your ads. With Geofencing, a person needs only to enter within a physical area in order to begin seeing ads on different websites around the internet.

Pros:

  • Able to target people who enter within physical coordinates, making it one of the few digital marketing avenues that isn’t dependent upon a person’s search interests but instead physical location (almost like a billboard ad, but with an online presence).
  • Fairly lost cost, and some companies can attain high click-through rates depending on the websites and applications that they display ads on.

Cons:

  • Geofencing can drive a lot of low quality, ineffective traffic. Since it’s targeting people based on entry into physical zones within the real world, you will be showing ads to a lot of people who may not be part of your desired audience.
  • Once people are added to the remarketing list, it can be difficult to remove them or filter your list down.

Direct Website Ads

Some websites run their own ad network on their website, rather than using third party networks like Google Adsense. They can provide you with the details on their traffic, click-through rates, and sometimes on the results that advertisers can expect on their website. If you have a site that your audience frequents, it may be worth contacting them directly in order to run ads on their website.

Pros:

  • Usually, you have direct control of how and where your ads appear.
  • Sometimes the cost per click can be lower, as there isn’t a third party taking a cut of the revenue from the ads.
  • These sites have their own analytics data to show how people interact with the ads.

Cons:

  • It takes time to work with an individual website to set up these kinds of ad programs.
  • You are often only advertising on that single website, so there isn’t a way to increase your traffic from the ads by featuring it on multiple other sites within a network.

Other Ad Networks

There are dozens of other marketing platforms out there for everything under the sun. If a website becomes popular, it will often try to find ways to monetize that traffic. Over the last two decades, a multitude of ad networks have popped up, each offering its own pros and cons. We recommend sticking to the ones above, but if there is a particular website that your audience frequents, and it is part of a network not mentioned here, it may be worth pursuing.

 


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