How to effectively advertise online (a step-by-step guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In the current climate, it's important to understand how to effectively advertise online. Effective advertising is important not only to attract new clients but to engage and retain existing clients. A business can advertise online in several ways, depending on the unique goals and requirements of a business. If you wish to work in a marketing role, you could benefit from learning about effective online advertising methods. In this article, we explore how to effectively advertise online and discuss the value of online advertising.

How to effectively advertise online

Knowing how to effectively advertise online is a key attribute for marketing teams and businesses to have. Some businesses may not be sure how to start an online advertising campaign or could be looking for ways to make their existing online advertising efforts more effective. Below are steps to consider, which can help make your online advertising efforts more successful:

1. Search engine optimisation

Effective online advertising is typically search engine optimised and follows a specific keyword plan. All digital content produced by a company for advertising purposes, including blog posts, benefit from search engine optimisation. This ensures the content is as visible as possible, so the desired target audience can find the content. Optimising your online advertising is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • helps drive traffic to your advertising efforts or website

  • builds authority in a specific industry that garners the attention of consumers

  • cheaper alternative to pay-per-click advertisements

Related: How to get into digital marketing (with steps and FAQs)

2. Mobile optimisation

While it may have once been adequate for businesses to produce mobile-friendly content, it's now essential for online advertising content to be mobile optimised. Mobile devices and tablets are fast becoming the most popular device used to browse the Internet and shop online. Businesses that aren't optimising their online advertising to mobile devices may be missing out on a significant rate of engagement due to their online advertisements not being compatible or optimised for mobile screen sizes. Businesses can avoid this by ensuring all their online advertising efforts are compatible and optimised for desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

3. Social media

Social media advertisements are one of the most effective online paid advertising platforms. Facebook ads, for example, are useful for online advertising as businesses can choose specific demographics they wish their ad to target. A business can select the age, location, marital status and geographical location of their ad's audience, helping them to target specific customers more accurately. Things to consider when creating an advertisement for social media platforms include:

  • Image quality: If a business shares an image in a social media ad, it's essential the image is of high quality and accurately represents the brand.

  • Call to action: To avoid confusion, the ad may benefit from having one clear call to action, such as 'browse our sale' or 'call us today'.

  • Goal: A social media ad requires a clear purpose or goal. For example, the goal of an online advert may be to inform new customers about a seasonal sale.

  • Clarity: In social media ads, long-form content can be overwhelming and easily ignored if the content is too difficult to read. Keep content clear, concise and to the point.

Related: What is email marketing? (Tips of how to launch a campaign)

4. Diversification

Businesses are usually familiar with the main social media platforms. Businesses that wish to effectively advertise online may benefit from diversifying their online presence by joining other platforms, such as Tripadvisor or Trustpilot. Businesses can pay for advertising space on these pages or encourage customers to leave reviews for them on these online platforms to increase the profile of their company.

Some consumers are reluctant to post reviews without an incentive so a business may wish to offer a deal, such as 10% off, for customers who post a positive online review. To build the validity and profile of a company, a business can aim to be active on review sites and reply to customers frequently. This is usually free so is an effective way to advertise a business without negatively impacting an advertising budget.

5. Google Ads

Google Ads are an advertising tool that allows businesses to select relevant keywords and appear at the top of the search engine for these keywords. This is an effective way for businesses to advertise online as it doesn't require graphics or a significant amount of engaging copy, as a keyword-optimised blog post may require.

Businesses can utilise analytics software to analyse the performance of their ad and amend it if it's not receiving the level of attention desired. While Google Ads may not need as much effort as other forms of online advertising, it can be expensive as different businesses bid for the same keywords. Tips for creating Google Ads include:

  • Focus on customers: When creating Google Ads content, ensure you consider the customer's needs and that the ad directly addresses the customer.

  • Negative keywords: Using negative keywords in an ad ensures only the intended audience see the ad and avoids showing ads to individuals who won't find the ad relevant.

  • Research: Before creating a Google Ad, researching which keywords are most relevant is beneficial to a business to ensure they don't centre an ad around the wrong keywords.

6. Customer journey

If a business has a physical presence, such as a store, a brand can effectively use online advertising to extend the journey of its customers. For example, an online ad could target existing customers by asking them to join a loyalty program. Businesses could also offer leaflets with promotional codes that require the customer to engage with the brand's online advertising, such as a social media post.

Related: How to define your target market: examples and types

What is the difference between online search and display advertising?

Search ads are a form of 'pull' online advertising whereas display ads are a type of 'push advertising'. Search ads only appear to customers who are actively looking for a product or service. But, display ads target and engage a specific audience. It's important to understand the difference between the two when creating online advertisements to ensure your ads are effective.

How to determine if an online advertisement is effective

In addition to knowing about effective online advertising, it's important businesses are also aware of how to measure the effectiveness of their online advertising efforts. This is to ensure the adverts they're releasing are of value. If an ad isn't performing well, a business can tailor it until it produces its required results. The key metrics for analysing the effectiveness of online advertisements include:

1. Monitor web traffic

The simplest way a business can monitor the effectiveness of their online advertisements is to see if traffic to their website has increased since posting the ads. If spikes of website traffic occur after an online advert goes live, such as a sponsored social media post, it's a good indication that the ads are effective. If traffic hasn't increased, a business may wish to reconsider its online advertisement strategy.

2. Analyse sales figures

While generating more website traffic is beneficial for a business, it may have little impact on the business if the traffic doesn't convert into sales. Comparing sales figures before and after online advertising campaigns launch is an effective way to monitor their success. If a brand chooses to showcase a specific product or service in an online advert, the marketing team may wish to analyse the sales of this item or service independently.

3. Use voucher codes

If a business wishes to advertise a deal, such as a discount, in their online content, they can utilise voucher codes. For example, the ad copy may read 'Use code XXX at the checkout for 10% off now'. This allows businesses to monitor how many customers redeem the code and determine the success of the campaign.

Related: Marketing graduate schemes: how to get one and jobs to consider

4. Calculate ROAS

Online advertisements are only effective if they have a positive ROAS (return on ad spend). If the increased traffic or sales of an ad campaign don't outweigh the cost of producing and posting the online content, then the advertisement isn't effective. A business that's experiencing a negative ROAS may wish to upscale its low-cost online adverts, such as increasing its SEO-optimised blog posting schedule.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles