Running ads can be expensive, and there are so many factors to consider. Are you targeting the right audience? And running the ad effectively? And is this the right advertising campaign for your business?
It’s even harder for small businesses that have to compete against larger companies with bigger budgets.
Or insanely large budgets.
If you’re unsure which ads work best for you, you’re at the right place. With digital media, there’s a way to create effective ad campaigns on a shoestring budget. Here, we’re going to show you seven different cost-effective ad types for small businesses. For each of these ad types, we’ll let you know the function and the reasons it performs well for small business. And we’ll explore examples of companies that leveraged these ad types successfully.
But first, we need to look at why these ad types are digital and what the benefits of advertising online are.
Although traditional marketing is critical for many small businesses, the seven different ad types below will be in a digital format.
It costs less to reach the same number of people using digital than traditional channels.
Now, let’s get into those cost-effective ad types!
Actually, one more thing! Did you know you can view all your cost data (even from non-Google platforms) in Google Analytics? Learn how here.
Google has a lot of advertising streams, but the one we’re talking about here looks like this.
These are search ads, one of the most popular forms of PPC. You only pay when a viewer clicks on the ad.
These ads appear in Google search results and will help you buy your way to the top of the search for a keyword, without any SEO strategies needed.
Google Ads uses an auction-based model. The auction determines whether the ad will show and, if it does, which position it ranks on the search page.
How does it work?
Google Ads rewards businesses with high-quality ad campaigns with low click-through costs and stronger ad placements.
While the average cost per click (CPC) on Google Ads ranges from $1 to $2, it depends on your location, industry, and keywords.
The Berwick Shellfish company, a fresh seafood family business, was looking to drive direct sales through their website. Graham received over 250,000 page impressions in a year, a 12% increase in mailing list sign-ups, and 70-80% of his online sales, all from Google Ads.
Facebook is one of the best platforms to advertise on as a small business owner. It’s the world’s most popular social network, with over two billion monthly active users. Plus, each of those active users accesses the site eight times per day on average.
Best of all, you can target your Facebook ads to a specific audience of your choosing.
While there are many different types of Facebook Ads, the Mahabis example above, is a smart way to incorporate video.
We recommend exploring video on Facebook, especially since social video is shared 1200% more than images and text combined.
Like Google, Facebook Ads is an auction-based model. The average CPC on Facebook is $1.72. However, this varies depending on the industry.
The average cost per action rate is $18.68. Once again, this differs between different industries.
Broccoli Pizza & Pasta, a fast-growing Italian restaurant founded in 2011 in Dubai, with over 135 stores in six countries, created a high-energy Facebook three-day campaign for National Pizza Day in 2019.
They reached 9.26 million people in three countries, which resulted in a 31% boost to their sales. They also had a 2x higher return on ad spend compared to their previous campaigns by using video and immersive full-screen ads.
Like Google, Amazon has many advertising options. The one we’re going to focus on here is Sponsored products.
Sponsored product ads are driven by manual keywords (words users type in the search bar) and automatic keyword targeting (Amazon’s systems target keywords for your campaign).
Amazon is now the third largest seller of ads in the US, just behind Google and Facebook.
So if you are selling products, it would be a no-brainer to advertise on Amazon so that you can reach over 100 million Amazon Prime members.
But if you’re selling a local service, probably best to skip this option and move on to the next.
According to Rob Sieracki from Practical Commerce, the average CPC on Amazon rarely exceeds $0.35.
This makes running ads on their platform even more cost-effective than Google Ads and equals some of the lowest cost-per-clicks on Facebook Ads.
Just Paper Roses, a small but growing business that created paper flowers for all occasions doubled the units sold in 30 days after joining Amazon advertising. They also increased the visibility of products, which included high-margin orchids and had higher sales that offset the ad spend.
There are over 610 million business professionals on LinkedIn.
If you are a local business selling a service to busy professionals, other companies, or enterprises, then you need to leverage LinkedIn ads.
While there are many types of LinkedIn Ads, we’re talking about sending a Sponsored InMail.
Sponsored InMail ads are different from the Google, Facebook, and Amazon ads we explored earlier. The Sponsored InMail ads allow you to enter conversations and promote content like webinars, ebooks, and other assets with key decision-makers, which are a great way to nurture a relationship, especially if it involves an expensive or ongoing purchase.
Sponsored InMail campaigns also work as a bidding auction to reach a target audience.
You can buy LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail messages on a cost-per-send basis (you will be paying per unit for the delivery of each Sponsored InMail.) There is a minimum total campaign budget of $25.00.
Using the example above, it will cost you from $780 to $900 to send 3,900 to 18,600 messages to a specific target audience in 30 days.
According to AltaVista’s current Sponsored InMail campaign, their:
VistaVu Solutions is a business management software company that targets oilfield services. Within one week, the InMail campaign had a conversion rate of 23.8%.
The Display Ad and InMail campaign together generated compelling results. 19 out of the 20 leads captured just in the first week, moved in the sales funnel as qualified leads. The company’s cost-per-lead was also one-fifth the price of the company’s standard benchmark.
Not only did VistaVu receive more leads, but the lead quality was unmatched.
If you have a location-centric local business, Google Maps marketing may be perfect for you.
Google Maps marketing is the process of using Google Maps to bring in more customers to your door.
With over one billion people using Google Maps, there’s a good chance that your customers are using it, too.
But that’s not all.
84% of consumers conduct local searches.
75% of users who search up for a product, service, or location nearby are likely to visit a store within the next 24 hours.
And 28% of these searches end up as an actual purchase.
Google charges advertisers on a pay-per-click basis.
While it depends on your industry, it can cost from $25 to $150 to rank at the top of the Google Maps search listing.
When searching for hotels in Seattle, Four Points by Sheraton, a hotel chain’s Google Map Ad appears at the top with a purple ad pin. As you can see, the hotel’s price deal, rating, description, and Wi-Fi status appear at the top of the Google Map search listing.
Google display ads are the visual banner ads you see on advertising-supported websites. You can find them almost everywhere.
Display ads function a lot like paid search ads. They have a headline, text, and URL. But they also contain ad design—like graphics, video, or audio—that helps them jump out on the page.
Instead of appearing on search engine results, display ads appear on websites relevant to your service or product.
With Google Display Ads, you can choose to set the price you want to pay. Like Google search and Facebook Ads, Google Display Ads works via an auction approach.
You can choose to pay via:
Ads on the Google Display network generally have lower clickthrough rates.
The average cost per click of an advertisement on the Google Display Network is under $0.58.
Julian Bakery, a family business that produces specialty bread in La Jolla CA, used the Google Display Network. It increased their conversions by 35% and impressions by 330%. In three years that the company has advertised with Google, they have grown from 10 to 35 employees. Their revenue also doubled from last year.
A Google Shopping ad is a product listing that has your brand, product’s image, name, and price.
At times, they can also include reviews or other exclusive perks, like a discount or free shipping.
As you can see in the example, Google shopping ads appear before paid and organic search listings.
The price of Google Shopping Ads will depend on the amount of visibility you’d like for your products. You can dictate your daily budget and your PPC bids.
But if you’re looking to set your bids competitively, take a look at WordStream’s shopping ads benchmarks.
Paper Culture, a small stationery company that sells 100% post-consumer recycled products turned to Google Shopping Ads to complement their Google Ad campaign.
As the fifth item on the right in the example above, Paper Culture used the image-centric approach of Google Shopping Ads. They managed to increase their ROI 3x compared to other channels and saw a decrease in their cost-per-lead by up to 50%.
Online advertising can be extremely affordable for small businesses, especially since you can set daily budgets for your campaigns. You can leverage Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Amazon’s network to advertise your products and services, and get in front of the masses.
Better yet, these platforms allow you to target your specific niche and audience.
So if you’re a small business keen to increase sales, make sure you take advantage of one, two, or more of these seven cost-effective ad types to find out what works for you.
Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, long-form content creators for SaaS companies. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, TheNextWeb, Shopify, Moz, Unbounce, HubSpot, Search Engine Journal, and more.
See other posts by Brad Smith
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