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Online Advertising Guide To Get Back 10 Times Your Advertising Cost

By allysa on August 11, 2016

online advertising guide

Online ads are what help some of the biggest businesses in the world make their money online, but they come at a cost.

Unlike organic promotional tools like Search Engine Optimization, or direct promotional tools like inbound marketing, paid advertisement helps you get an instant boost in traffic to your site.

Also unlike SEO and inbound marketing, however, that effect disappears the moment you stop investing.

As such, paid advertising is a sprint technique – they’ll boost your anaerobic advertising performance, but have little effect on your aerobic performance.

Paid ads yields instant traffic spike when you are run it. SEO on the other hand takes a while to kick in but once it does, it's staying.

Paid ads yields instant traffic spike when you run it. SEO on the other hand takes a while to kick in but once it does, it’s staying.

Running a successful business is running a marathon, but you still need to be able to sprint ahead of the competition when you need to: at the very start, or when you’re near the finish line.

But that’s enough of the exercise metaphors, I’m sweating already.

If your paid ads are going to be effective, you need to maximize the ROI on every click you get. This means becoming a master of the art form.

In this online advertisement guide, I’m going to take you through the fundamentals so that you can hone your approach, and see better results than ever.

The first thing you’ll need to master online ads is understand what they’re good for, and what they’re not so good for.

The Pros and Cons Of Online Ads


    Online ads are much like 'roids. Abs not included.

    Online ads are much like ‘roids. Abs not included.

  • Quick Results – Online ads get to work right away, making immediate impressions and instantly drawing traffic to your site
  • Widespread Exposure – Paid ads can get you everywhere you want to be, straight away. Working on SEO to get this kind of coverage could take months or even years.
  • Low Effort – Because you pay for them, they’re made as easy as possible for you by every market that offers them. If you have more money than time, they’re a great way to get your product out there.
  • Non-Technical – With SEO there’s a certain amount of knowledge and expertise, together with a considerable number of programs and tools you have to use to help you understand what’s happening and what to do about it. Paid ads require none of this knowledge- it’s all done for you.


    Spending on ads is totally cool as long as you get multiples of what you spend back. And if you have a lot of them to spend in the first place.

    Spending on ads is totally cool as long as you get multiples of what you spend back. And if you have a lot of them to spend in the first place.

  • They Burn Money – Online ads can cost from a few cents per click to many dollars per click depending on how competitive the keywords are you’re targeting. So if you want the big results, you have to pay big money, which defeats the object.

    Maximizing ROI is all about finding keywords that are on the up, offering disproportionate clicks to their price.

  • Ad Blindness – People just plain ignore online ads. Whether it’s with an ad blocker, or simply looking more at organic results, there’s a perception that banner ads are intrusive, that promoted posts are ‘cheating’, and it’s rare to find anyone who says, ‘I love online advertisements!’
  • Third Party – PPC in particular is often so fluid that to get the maximum benefit, people end up outsourcing to a manager or even an agency to deal with it. This comes with a host of problems with oversight, communication, and cost.

As you can see, there is lots of potential in paid advertising, but lots of risks too. The biggest of these is the online advertisement cost.

When Should I Use Paid Advertising?

As I pointed out – this is a sprint technique for short term gain, but the timing of those sprints has to be right. These are the best times when investing in paid advertising can show you serious return on investment.

A short boost in a critical moment can make all the difference in your marketing result.

A short boost in a critical moment can make all the difference in your marketing result.

  • As A Launchpad – When you’re just starting out and you need to make a splash, there’s no better way to announce your entry into the market with emphasis than with a paid advertising campaign.

    This can help you poach regular customers from competitors, but you have to be ready to deliver better service and value from the start if you want to keep them.

  • To Gain An Initial Audience – If you’ve created a new fanpage on Facebook or a new Twitter account, social ads are a great way to get your first fans and followers and directly appeal to people who are already into the stuff you’re posting about.

    The same goes for a blog or other content based website.

  • Fill Gaps While Doing SEO – If you’re committed to doing Search Engine Optimization, you’ll know it takes time.

    If you don’t have enough content yet to get in the same arena as the heavyweights in your niche, paid advertising can bridge the gap between the creation of your content and when its SEO benefits begin to take effect.

  • To Support Critical Events – If you have a limited-time promotion or offer, or another major announcement like an expansion in products or services, then paid adverts are a great way to ensure you maximize the exposure of the things that are far more likely to yield increased sales.
  • Speculate To Accumulate – You spend money to make money, so if you find yourself with a good month an some surplus in your advertising budget, this can be a good way to keep that ball rolling.

Which Paid Advertising Model Should I Use?

Online advertising comes in many flavors for you to choose from according to what you need.

Online advertising comes in many flavors for you to choose from according to what you need.

You’ve probably heard a few different words flying around, leaving you wondering, what is pay-per-click anyway? What’s a CPA? Never fear, your jargon-busting guide is here.

  • PPC – Cost-Per-Click or Pay-Per-Click – Cost per click is the most popular form of advertising online. It enables individuals to pay only for the individuals who click the ad, as opposed to the number of impressions (more on that in a second).

    It means you only pay for tangible results.

    Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and more use this format, so it’s the one you’re most likely to encounter. This splits the risk between you and the advertiser.

  • CPM – Cost Per Mile or Cost Per Impression – Unlike above, this is where individuals take on all the risk placing an ad. The most common way to get CPM coverage is to pay a cost per thousand impressions.

    Because you take all of the risk for the ad’s success, you get a better rate. If you’re confident in being able to optimize clicks on your ads, this is the way to get maximum exposure.

    This can be especially worthwhile to get exposure on (and therefore association and implied endorsement from) prestige sites in your niche.

  • CPL or CPA – Cost Per Lead or Cost Per Acquisition – This is where you don’t pay unless the customer actually buys something.

    This offers the least risk to you, which means it’s also the most expensive form of online advertising.

    This is mainly achieved through affiliate marketing, but it only really works on highly targeted markets, in very specific niches.

With these three main forms of online advertisement available, CPC is always the one we would recommend for beginners.

CPM means you risk spending money on nothing, or even actively damaging your brand if you get it wrong.

CPA is rarely going to be worth your time, and if it is, could cost you too much. Only CPC offers the right balance.

So, What Are The Best Ad Platforms Online?

There are individual ad platforms on every major site and social media presence, all of which target different markets and allow you to customize your approach in different ways. Here, I’ll give you a summary of each so you can decide which is the best for your product or service.


  • Google Adwords – Google owns the vast majority of the search engine market. They boast the ability to market to 90% of all global online users – and 94% of the US market. This makes them the first port of call for millions of advertisers. Even better, they offer three distinct angles of attack.
    • Search Ads enables you to advertise to people while they are searching for things on Google. This will put you in the top two or three promoted links, before people even reach the organic results.
    • Display Network enables you to get adverts placed in things like Gmail, as well as thousands of third party sites who support AdWords.
    • Retargeting enables you to target specifically people who have just visited your website, to effectively remind them of your products and services, several times after they have left the site, to keep the lead alive.
  • bing-ads

  • Bing Ads – this is Microsoft’s answer to AdWords, and it’s getting better. Even better still, if you register your website to try it out, you get free credits, meaning this is a painless way to get started and learn the ropes.
  • facebook-ads

  • Facebook Ads – Facebook ads leads the way in terms of audience targeting, and strikes a great balance between PPC and CPM. It allows you narrow down your audience to specific demographics, and even users with specific interests.

    You can select your competitors pages and market directly to those who have Liked them. Where Bing and Google are behavior based marketing tools, Facebook is a taste-based marketing tool.

  • twitter ads

  • Twitter Ads – This is great for audience building, as promoted tweets and preferential placements in trends, but it’s use for small businesses is still evolving and they haven’t quite nailed it yet.

    You’ll have to go deep into the bowels of Twitter’s back-end developer platform to find much hope. Not recommended.

  • linkedin ads

  • LinkedIn Ads – LinkedIn ads are your best bet if you’re doing business to business marketing, because it’s a professional network geared toward finding business solutions – ordinarily recruitment.

    LinkedIn Ads help you market directly to the gatekeepers within a business. This means the cost is expensive – the most expensive I’ve seen – but it gives you direct access to high value leads.

    One advert here could lead to a global business adopting your product across their whole infrastructure, so the rewards justify the price.

  • StumbleUpon Ads – StumbleUpon can help those who want to find content on a certain topic area find blogs that write about that topic area. Their paid advertising allows you to make sure that content provider is you.

    If you are a content marketer or blogger, you could do a lot worse than using StumbleUpon to generate new semi-organic traffic.

    This means your web page or blog post IS your ad, and that saves you time and energy.

    While still pretty niche, StumbleUpon is working on a second wave of relevancy. Best for use on products with broad appeal.

  • YouTube Ads – YouTube ads are for those with creative flair and money to spare when it comes to investing in video. You can get typical banner ads through Google’s display network, but video ads that play before videos, and sometimes even during longer format videos, have huge potential.

    YouTube is the biggest site online, and the most popular with young people – even moreso than Facebook.

    With longer form skippable ads and shorter non-skippable ads, you can chance engagement in a longer pitch if you’re confident it’ll grab attention, or simply make people watch a short, snappy pitch.

    Video is delivering some pretty high return on investment, and better conversion rates, than any other platform. That’s likely because it’s rarer and more similar to TV advertising, which makes people see brands as heavyweights.

Alternative Paid Online Promotion

These are the key methods of paid online advertisement, but there are other less conventional avenues that can lead to surprising ROI. If you want to think outside the box, these can be really rewarding.

  • Press Releases – Press releases are the method used by high profile businesses to alert the press about their exciting new developments, announcements and product launches they have on the horizon.

    Press release can dramatically increase exposure.

    Press releases about your brand will instantly appear in the news section of search engines.

    The only difference between those who get that coverage and those who don’t is that they send the press releases in the first place. Companies like MarketersMEDIA and PRWhirlWind can help you compose a legitimate press release that can attract local and even national media attention.

    What’s more, you can use Press Releases for backlinks to your website associated with targeted keywords, giving them SEO benefits. These companies can syndicate the press release to hundreds of news sites in dedicated networks, so there’s a guaranteed minimum exposure.

  • Blog Advertising – Influential blogs that attract high volumes of traffic can often be cajoled into publishing sponsored posts or even paid positive reviews of your products and services.

    Or you can simply target influential blogs to advertise on. Often the best way to do this is to establish a relationship and seed a guest post on this blog to establish yourself as an authority in the field.

  • Ads On E-Commerce Sites – Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba and more all offer advertising platforms, which means you can get your product recommended to customers who are already shopping for products like yours.

    For those who list their products on those sites, this can be a superb way of redirecting people away from competitors and toward your own material.

  • Display Banner On Particular Sites – Targeting your banner ads by contacting specific sites to advertise on is a great way of making sure you narrow your audience to only those who might be interested.

    It’s also a way to legitimize your brand by putting yourself alongside the most important players in your niche.

So, now you know just about all the possible ways you can advertise online. What’s more, you know which methods appeal to what audiences, which offer the best return on investment, and what will work best for your products and services.

You should also have a better idea of when you can best employ these methods to get results. Not bad so far.

But this is only the beginning. There’s much to learn about the granular details of these approaches, and I’m going to do whatever I can to help. For starters, I plan to write a series on ways to best advertise on each major platforms.

Let me know in the comment if you’d like to read such series or if you have any other curiosities need answering!

Pull A Wave Of Hungry Readers To Your Blog And Gain Profit

  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Affiliate Marketing
  • Practical Approach, No BS
  • Beginner Friendly

Updated: 19 July 2024


About Allysa

Allysa is always eager to learn something new whenever she got some free time and that includes SEO and inbound marketing. She also has a passion for traveling and discovering the unknowns.

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