By Bob Hutchins, Published October 23, 2014
Most of the purchasing decisions we make are fairly straightforward – grocery shopping, for example. Then, there are other purchases that require a more in-depth level of research: Your next car or a vacation rental.
Beyond these purchasing decisions… there’s ad buying. You could mess up your car research, and buy the wrong kind of vehicle. But ultimately it’s going to get you from point A to point B. Mess up the ad buying process, however, and you may have just flushed a few hundred dollars away.
In Ad Buying, The Stakes Are High
Because the stakes are high, many would-be advertisers turn to a professional media buyer. While the choice of using a media buyer is entirely yours, you should at least familiarize yourself with some of the ad buying opportunities out there…
Digital Spaces: Where You Can Buy Online Advertising
“Native” content is paid or sponsored content that looks like “natural,” organic content. Rebecca Lieb’s definition of the term is one I’ve referenced before. I recommend reading her post if you want to learn more.
For an example of native advertising, go to a site like BuzzFeed and you’ll see in the top right (or some other strategically placed location) a story with an image and headline just like any other BuzzFeed post. The catch: an additional “Promoted By [BRAND]” attribution will appear just beneath the story. Native content, when done well, can be extremely engaging and effective. Purchase this ad space:
Display advertising is probably what comes to mind, whether you know it or not, when you think of online advertising. This type of ad, largely powered by Google Ads’ Display Network, is what causes pictures of the boots you’ve been eyeing on Zappo’s to pop up while reading an unrelated article on CNN’s website. Criteo is one service that connects publishers and advertisers for PPC display advertising.
Search engine ads – also referred to as search engine marketing (SEM) – is more straightforward. Visit Google AdWords to see how searching, “coffee shop in new york,” will pull up ads for – you guessed it – your coffee shop in New York, and so on and so forth.
While AdWords may be more beginner-friendly than other digital spaces and native opportunities, a media buyer can still be immensely helpful in directing your dollars for max efficiency. (We can talk AdWords strategy for hours if you get us started!)
Social Network Advertising
And, last but not least, there’s social network advertising. A small sampling of this category includes Facebook banner ads, promoted posts, promoted Tweets, Twitter cards, and (soon, perhaps) sponsored Instagram posts on a larger scale.
Where Do You Advertise?
This list is in no way comprehensive. There are hundreds of other digital spaces for buying advertising. For help or guidance, contact us. What’s your favorite advertising platform?