Ways to Get Free Online Advertising: Advice For Small Businesses
Working with a limited marketing budget can be tough. Many SMB marketers become disheartened when their budget isn’t enough to “fill the seats”, so to speak. If your small business needs more website traffic, the importance of using the best online advertising channels becomes critical. We’re here to help!
No one answer is available for which channel will offer every brand or business the best advertising opportunities. Several variables come into play when creating your marketing strategies, such as target audience, products, or services offered.
For most small businesses, employing a combination of online marketing networks is crucial to success. As a business owner, you should test many online advertising platforms. Do this to find the ones that are the most beneficial (or profitable) for your small business.
You might still be having trouble deciding the best online advertising platform for you. Consider the many options we’ve outlined in our article below:
What you will learn:
- What are the best online advertising channels for small business?
- How can you start advertising on each of the best advertising channels?
- What are the benefits of online advertising?
- How much does it cost for online advertising?
- Why do businesses advertise online?
When you optimize your strategy, based on the results of your ad campaigns, you can make calculated adjustments instead of guesses. Along with increased profits, you’ll also be able to reach more customers while highlighting the benefits of your brand.
Google Search Ads
Google Search processes over 40,000 search query each second on average. This comes out to over 3.5 billion per day and 1.2 trillion per year, globally.
If you want to achieve the best online advertising results using Google Search Ads, you’ll need to gain some technical expertise. Most new advertisers find themselves stumped when using this platform. However, once you understand the features offered by Google Ads, it could be the best online advertising option for your business.
Google Ads gives your pages visibility by serving ads in search engine results pages (SERPs).
One of the primary advantages of using Google Ads involves serving targeted ads to searchers. This can change based on their location, demographics, or any other criteria. Honing in on your relevant demographics will help to minimize cost.
One of the biggest problems advertisers face when using Google Ads is that it often gets overwhelming having to micromanage so many features. It takes time to determine what all the choices may mean for new online advertising opportunities.
Google combats this by offering courses on how to use their products. Certifications are even readily available for newbies!
The other major downside to using Google Ads campaigns is that they often get to be very expensive. If you’re not careful with what you choose or set a reasonable budget.
Without incorporating the right features, it’s possible to run up a bill by paying for too many useless clicks in a matter of hours!
Control Your Cost
To keep control of costs, set up your daily budgets and apply selective targeting. That way, you’re only paying for the most relevant clicks which are likely to result in leads or sales.
Review your Google Ads campaigns often to make sure you’re getting the best online advertising experience. Then, make proper adjustments according to new information.
Don’t forget to include the free Google Search ad and Callout extensions available to you. They can improve user engagement and make your text ads stand out in the search results!
Google Display Ads
Most business owners immediately think “Google Search Ads”, when they envision online advertising. But Google also offers a powerful array of Display Network tools to reach customers through visual means. Most people who have used the internet have viewed Google Display Ads, whether they realize it or not.
Display ads don’t show up in search results. Instead, they’re injected onto websites across the internet.
Think of the banner ads you may be used to seeing on various websites you visit. These ads relate to items you have searched or shopped for online based on the content of the website you’re currently viewing.
Claiming that their ad network has the ability to reach 90% of all internet users, Google displays ads across two million websites online!
Google Display Network includes major platforms such as: YouTube, Google Shopping, and Mobile App Targeting.
Between these heavy hitters, display ads are a fantastic way to drive traffic.
Some digital marketing experts argue that Google Display Ads won’t put your product in front of users at the best times. This means that whoever does see your ads may not currently be ready to buy.
They might be reading news articles, viewing a video on YouTube, or engaging in some other activity that the time your ad displays. But it could also be that the exposure during these times is still helpful for creating a relationship later down the road.
Digital marketers agree that having many “touch points” is necessary. Customers need to feel familiar enough with a brand to consider purchasing their products or services.
One of the main advantages of using Google Display Ads is that you might even get your ad in front of people without having to pay for it.
Similar to Google Search Ads, Display operates on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model. A viewer might see your ad but search for you later, even though they didn’t click your initial ad to view more.
The Display Network is one of the best tools used for retargeting. By incorporating all the targeting tools available, you can place your ads in front of people who’ve already expressed an interest in products like yours.
They can then be tracked online using your website’s cookies and Google account history.
Targeting past viewers of your brand’s website is sure to increase the chances of getting a sale on a second, third, or later viewing. They will then become more comfortable with your brand and its offerings.
Bing Search Ads
Whenever people think of search engine marketing, they usually only think of Google Ads, but this is not the end of your best online advertising options!
Don’t Count Bing Out
Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, has a ton of offerings when it comes to targeted traffic. This allows you to do most of the same things you can do using Google Ads.
According to Microsoft, Bing accounts for about 33% of the searches performed in the United States, and around 25% of global searches.
Each month, over five billion searches were performed on the Bing search engine. This includes 68 million people who are not reached by advertisers using only Google Ads.
Bing wants to make your experience the best in online advertising, as well. They make it as easy as possible for their clients to use.
The import tool will actually allow you to bring your campaigns in from Google Ads, settings and all! This is definitely a big time saver if you’ve already dedicated much time to researching the perfect targeting options on Google Ads.
The platform also offers a wide array of learning tools to help users get more familiar with the ad network.
Bing-Ads Accredited Professional Certification Program helps you gain an in-depth understanding of the advertising platform. It offers webcasts from the Microsoft educational library on the topics you’ll want to cover when diving deep into online advertising.
Since Bing is underused in terms of marketing, it gives access to new customers that most of your competitors forget about.
You may be advertising on a website that your audience views through Bing, where your competition does not. This, of course, gives you a competitive advantage and a chance to capture their attention.
Bing advertisers like the transparency and control that’s offered when dealing with the many search partner platforms, like MSN.com or Xbox Live. You can review what each click will cost on each website. This allows you to easily cut out the partners you deem too expensive for your company.
Each online advertising campaign is different. But evidence shows that advertising on the Bing network is actually much cheaper for the same campaigns you’re running on Google Ads.
This offers an advantage to many brands with smaller budgets. Because of its cost efficiency, Bing is also the place to test out new ideas. This lets you keep the expenses low, but gather some data about the results.
The social media network, Facebook, is so ubiquitous today. The company claims one out of every five minutes spent on a mobile device today, is either on Facebook or Instagram. Around two billion people across the world logging into Facebook each month.
They promote the network as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. A significant percentage of Facebook users also follow and interact with brands across the platform.
Social media marketing is one of the best free ways to take advantage of online shopping. It is free to set up a Facebook page for your business and free to engage with customers, share content, etc.
By engaging with leads and customers via Facebook, your business is able to gain goodwill while building relationships with your fans!
Since Facebook always updates their algorithms, brands often find that gaining organic traffic can be difficult. This is where Paid Ads comes into play.
Paying for targeted placement, on the social media platform, can allow your brand to get in front of more people. The targeting options for Facebook are stammering.
Paid advertising on Facebook offers a variety of formats. For example, promoted posts appear as regular posts from your Facebook page on a targeted user’s News Feed. The difference is, they are much more likely to show up when paid for.
Facebook also offers display advertising which inserts into the user’s feed as videos, slideshows, or photo posts. Nowadays, you can even pay to advertise in the Facebook Messenger app itself!
Facebook advertising provides a high degree of market segmentation and targeting options. Users of this platform spend a reasonable amount of time here and are willing to provide so much personal information.
The more technical experience you have, the more you will be able to benefit from advanced targeting options of Facebook.
Although many advantages obviously exist, one of the disadvantages is that Facebook regularly changes the algorithm for organic visibility. This leaves many businesses competing for the same paid ad space.
This growing trend will increase advertising costs, and make it harder for your ads to show up. After some experimentation and analyzing, you’ll be able to use your own data to see if Facebook is the right fit for your business.
Instagram, currently owned by Facebook, offers access to their massive audience, of over 500 million users, who view The IG each day.
Although this is a smaller audience than Facebook, it consists of a high concentration of users from a desirable demographic: that of the highly impressionable Millennial and Gen Z generations.
Known for being one of the most visually appealing social media platforms, it houses millions of product photos. So, if your business is one that translates well in pictures, Insta may be the spot for you to gain some interaction.
Instagram allows you to add your business details, like location and phone number, to all of your posts. This makes it easier for your prospects to reach out if they’re interested in your ads.
Some critics state that the user information they receive from Instagram, like who’s clicking their ads and how customers interact, is not very deep or useful. If you’re looking for more detailed reporting, Instagram may leave you wanting more.
Also, you’re only able to access Instagram’s full features by using the mobile app. This might be a disadvantage if you want to manage your business by using a desktop approach.
Snapchat has been growing rapidly since social media platform first emerged in 2011. After they started offering paid advertising options in 2014, many brands decided to take advantage of the new opportunities this presented.
Snapchat offers three main methods of advertising:
- Geofilters. which place a transparent filter over the user’s snap, can be a great tool for brand recognition.
- Sponsored Lenses. which add interactive filters Snapchat users can include in their video or photo. Lenses activate by a user’s gestures like raising eyebrows or tapping on the screen.
- Snap Ad Videos. the first video ads released in a vertical format, help to capitalize on the app’s mobile native platform.
Some of the Snapchat advertising options are self-serve. But other methods may need the involvement of a Snapchat representative to set up.
Many advertisers come to learn that the reach they desire is too expensive for their budgets. Large corporate entities seem to have the best chances when using this network’s advanced features.
For smaller advertisers, you should apply as much filtering as you can to drop any users who aren’t likely to buy. This allows you to focus on targeting people who are most likely to engage.
If the Millennial and Gen Z age group seems like the right audience for you, then this may be one of the best online advertising platforms for your brand today.
LinkedIn enjoys a user base of over 500 million professionals. Most are already seeking to network and find new career opportunities. The B2B social network is also a center of activity for digital marketers who want to showcase talent, build authority, and establish themselves as the go-to within their field.
For advertisers who want to take full advantage the LinkedIn platform, they should jump in now. Capture your target audience’s attention before it becomes too crowded, like many of the other B2C social media networks have become.
LinkedIn highlights the cost-effectiveness of its self-service advertising platform. You can target your desired audience for as low as $10 per day.
LinkedIn’s self-service ad platform includes the ability to target their ads according to an audience’s company, job title, seniority, school, skills, age, gender, along with other criteria.
Like Facebook Ads, LinkedIn allows marketers to drill down and reach only specific users instead of promoting to everyone.
Twitter has been around since 2006, and it’s still a key platform for individuals, influencers, and brands to explore.
At least 500 million Tweets are posted daily. Although this proves it’s a very active platform, it’s also difficult for an individual’s Tweets to show up if the audience is not within your immediate network.
Advertising on Twitter puts a message in front of many prospects you may not reach elsewhere.
A majority of Twitter’s users say they have discovered a small or medium business they like on the platform. Moreover, almost all these admitted they do plan on purchasing items from brands that they follow.
Promoted Tweets is the most popular form of Twitter advertising. These tweets are identical to regular tweets, only promoted tweets display to people who aren’t yet within your network.
Like normal tweets, they’re able to be retweeted, liked, and replied to. They will reach much further if they’re worth something to your targeted audience.
Promoted tweets are a great way to start a conversation with potential buyers and receive important feedback.
If brand awareness if what you’re searching for, then promoting your account may be the way to go. It gets your name in front of users, in order to gain new followers and increase engagement.
Twitter users are very open to this sort of advertising. Most users report that the Promoted Accounts feature helps them find new relevant products and services.
Promoted Trends are able to place the topics you want in your target audience’s trending feed, on the left side of the home screen.
This helps increase engagement if you’re running a larger awareness campaign, and it also works very well for event marketing and similar advertising campaigns.
Some brands have discovered that the conversations started using Promoted Tweets or Trends didn’t go the way they had planned.
When starting a promotion on Twitter, make sure that you have somebody ready to put out any fires if the situation gets out of hand.
Limit your messages to non-controversial and agreeable topics, if you want to create a positive buzz. It’s important not to make too many negative trends.