TMCnet Feature
February 10, 2020

Overcoming the challenges of online advertising: 4 ways to make your business stand out

Whether you own a small coffee shop, an online store, or a web design agency, online ads are one of the best ways to gain more visibility and capture the attention of target customers. Online advertising is considerably more affordable compared to traditional marketing and can give small businesses a competitive edge over their established competitors.

However, simply launching an online ad campaign isn’t always a guaranteed recipe for success because this field has its challenges. In the first half of 2019, U.S. online ad spending reached $57.9 billion, a 16.9% increase from 2018. And while this growth is perfectly representative of the power of the online advertising market, it does point to one of its biggest potential difficulties: it’s an increasingly crowded field, where thousands of brands compete for the customer’s attention, making it harder to stand out.

Apart from that, the online ad industry is heavily influenced by digital market trends and user preferences, which change year after year. This requires marketers to constantly adapt and reinvent their strategies, otherwise, they risk lagging behind.

Online advertising has come a long way from the rudimentary banner ads in the early 2000s and is now a mature industry where you need to have an innovative mindset to succeed. Here are the main challenges of the current online advertising landscape and how you can address them:

1.Segmentation of the online audience

In the old days of advertising, ads were displayed in the same way to everyone, so marketers had to create a message that could  appeal to a general audience. Now, things are different. Statistics show that 63% of online users feel annoyed when brands send generic ad messages and 51% of them expect brands to anticipate their needs and deliver personalized ads.

For a small business that has a limited advertising budget, this focus on personalized content can look like a serious challenge. Naturally, it’s easier to create one ad, push it across all channels, and call it a day, but this can cost you. Now more than ever, users are looking for highly relevant ads. They don’t just want to see an ad that screams “look how awesome this product is!”. They want to see an ad that shows how awesome that product is for them, how it helps them solve their problems.

This requires extensive research and you might have to work with a business intelligence expert to segregate customer personas and craft personalized ads. However, the effort is worth it: 88% of U.S. marketers said that they noticed measurable improvements after personalizing their ads.

2.Online users want ads to be as unobtrusive as possible

Remember when you couldn’t open a web page without getting dozens of annoying blinking ads? We may have settled for that in the past but today, getting stuck in the old ways is simply unacceptable.

People don’t want brands to force ads on them and they dismiss ads quickly if they’re too intrusive and get in the way of their browsing experience. According to a 2019 study, the ads that annoy users the most are video ads that autoplay with sound, video ads that autoplay without sound, and audio ads. In the best case, these ads are ignored. In the worst case, they make the user leave the website and associate that brand with a negative feeling.

Intrusive ads are not only frustrating, but they can also harm your reputation and affect your bottom line because they come across as spammy and unreliable. The experts at AdMaven digital display advertising network explain that the best way for brands to address this challenge is to create ads that fully integrate into the user experience. For example, native floater ads and popunder ads don’t interfere with browsing and, shown at the right time, at the right place, they can drive clicks and generate engagement.

3.Multi-device requirements

The Internet has changed a lot in the past ten years, leading to a dramatic shift in the way people look up information and interact with brands. In 2014, the number of mobile web users surpassed that of desktop users for the first time, which meant that marketers had to focus their attention on two fronts.

By the latest count, there are 6.95 billion mobile users worldwide and the number is expected to exceed 7.3 billion by 2023. As a marketer, you cannot afford to ignore this mobile revolution, but at the same time, you mustn’t forget about desktop users either. Global consumers access content from multiple devices and each device is associated with a different intent. People who browse the Web from a desktop are more likely at home, in their leisure time, shopping or planning for a major purchase. People who browse from mobile are on the go, waiting, looking for recommendations or passing the time. Your ads should cater to all devices and intents. 

Ads perform differently depending on the platform. For example, video and banner ads have a bigger breakthrough when viewed on mobile, and mobile also beats desktop in native advertising. Facebook (News - Alert) ads, however, can sometimes work better on desktop because they can be placed both in the newsfeed and on the sidebar. To make sure you get the most out of your ads, first you have to do some research and find out where most of your traffic comes from, and then create an ad structure that targets all user intents.

4.The digital marketing landscape is increasingly competitive

The average person is exposed to anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day, but most of these ads get lost in the noise. Of all the brand messages that users see, they only interact with a few and remember even fewer.

To compete and rise above the noise, businesses have to think outside the box and deliver brilliant online ads that focus on quality and user experience. The perfect ad should not only be nonintrusive and relevant but also unique and memorable to drive engagement. It has to be bold and have character, whether through the value it offers or through the emotional response it elicits.

There are a lot of items on this checklist and many of them are hard to tick. However, if you put in the effort and create ads that make a difference, it won’t be long until you see an improvement in sales, engagement, and traffic quality.  

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