As small-town and private newspapers close their doors or merge with nationally syndicated corporations all around the country, marketing managers/directors and small business owners are beginning to ask – where do we advertise now?
Many organization and local governments have become dependent on their local news agencies both to spread important information and as an easy avenue to advertise services/products/events. Though print advertising has been overpriced in comparison to other digital options for years now, the complete loss of these print advertising options has dumped many organizations into the age of modern advertising quite abruptly.
Luckily, the team at EasySocial has put together this short advertising guide to make your advertising decisions easier and a bit more well informed!
Before we dive in, I should clarify two things;
- My team and I manage almost 70 companies’ advertising budgets, but I am never done learning. If you disagree with anything here, please reach out to me!
- While traditional newspapers are disappearing all across the US, we are still going to consider print advertising as an option, since there are other kinds of print (industry magazines, business journals, direct mail, etc.)
While I would have to know your specific situation to give you exact recommendations since there are so many advertising options, in this article I will break down:
- The five basic categories of advertising currently available to business owners and marketing directors.
- The three ways best ways to evaluate all of these options: 1) Goal of the campaign 2) Demographic makeup of each platform 3) Cost of each platform
The five categories of advertising we are going to look at:
- Print advertising – Newspapers, magazines, etc.
- Social media advertising – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Broadcast advertising – TV and Radio primarily
- Outdoor advertising – Billboards, bus stations, park benches, etc.
- Hyper-targeting – Delivering digital ads to specific individuals based on specific triggers
Evaluation Based on Your Goals
We are going to break all of this down based on the goal of your campaign so you can skip to the section that applies to your situation and see which type of advertising probably makes the most sense. Advertising campaigns generally have one or more of the following goals:
- Specific action – this type of advertising is focused on the total number of new customers/sales achieved or possibly the number of new applicants to a program/position within a certain time period. Most advertising campaigns that are trying to get you to download a specific app or buy a certain product fit into this campaign. This category takes up most of the market.
- Awareness building/maintaining – making sure people remember you. Not necessarily driving a specific sales goal or number of new customers.
- Reputation fixing – this is, unfortunately, a pretty popular campaign category and it generally goes something like “We messed up but trust us. We fixed it and we are better than ever now!” – though often the ad itself never talks about the particular mistake.
- Constituency appeasing/assuring – This is a category a lot of nonprofits and franchises find themselves in. This advertising is different than the rest in that it is not actually focused at the public but rather at some group inside or closely related to the organization. A good example of this is an educational institution that is advertising not to recruit students but to show donors that they are supporting a thriving institution.
#1 Specific Action Campaigns
In this type of campaign we are trying to get a group of individuals or organizations to take a specific action that either completes the sale/application or starts them down that path; for instance, if I sell a software to companies the specific action could be either them buying my product or signing up for my newsletter that will eventually convert them into a sale. Generally speaking, if the item is fairly cheap the goal should be to get the actual sale in a one-step process, whereas in cases of larger purchasing we are generally just trying to get the buying process started. In this type of campaign these are your options (ranked best to worst):
- Hyper-targeting advertising – Using this type of advertising can target only the ideal customers/applicants and allow them to complete the first stage in the buying process with a simple click to your lead page/sales page.
- Social media advertising – though this tends to work best for business-to-consumer businesses, it is valuable here because, similar to hyper-targeting ads, you can target only your ideal customer/applicant.
- Broadcast advertising – specifically TV. Many studies have shown that video advertising is one of the most effective mediums at motivating action.
- Print advertising – By being very strategic you could still use print to target only ideal customers. However, it takes more time and a fair amount of guess work to target.
- Outdoor advertising – conversion via outdoor advertising is very low and nearly impossible to track – this is true except for very specific types of businesses; like gas stations or restaurants located next to interstates, etc. In those cases, outdoor advertising can be very effective.
#2 Awareness Building/Maintaining
Which medium you pick for this category heavily depends upon the audience in which you are trying to maintain awareness. With that in mind, here are my recommendations:
- Broadcast advertising – make sure you use primarily non-skippable ads.
- Social media advertising – likely the least expensive way to get in front of individuals but can be less effective.
- Print advertising – you can have significant impressions per dollars spent here, so it makes good sense for awareness building/maintaining. Can be difficult to track.
- Hyper-targeting – less effective when there is not a specific action we are trying to motivate but can still be an effective way to only advertise to those ideal clients/customers.
- Outdoor advertising – difficult to track public’s response to messaging and hard to make a lasting impression with the limited read time of each ad.
#3 Reputation Fixing
- Print advertising – Utilized in a very specific situation. If you have messed up recently and it got into the news, chances are the best way to reach those who saw the bad news is to be in the news with your counter message.
- Broadcast advertising – same reason as print.
- Social media advertising – still probably the most cost-effective way to get in front people, and you can use targeting to reach readers of specific papers/networks if your story was only carried by specific outlets.
- Outdoor advertising – can be a useful tool when applied in conjunction with other platforms.
- Hyper-targeting – not very cost effective for this type of campaign.
#4 Constituency Appeasing/Assuring
As mentioned, this is different from other forms of advertising in its aim to reach only a specific group that isn’t comprised of customers/recruits but that need to have a favorable opinion of the organization. In this case, here are the best forms of advertising:
- Print advertising – full page and full color advertising is effective in this instance as it demonstrates by its placement and size that it was fairly costly, thereby showing without saying “we are strong, and you are right to support us.”
- Outdoor advertising – specifically large billboards in areas where your constituents live/work. Similar in effect to full page ads this shows by its size and placement that your organization has a significant budget.
- Hyper-targeted advertising – this can be powerful if you have a pre-set email list or mailing addresses, as you can set your ad to only deliver to people living at those specific houses and to deliver at high frequency, meaning they will see your advertising everywhere they go online or through connected radio or TV like Pandora or Hulu – this is a very effective way to appear everywhere but only spend a small amount of money satisfying your constituents.
- Social media advertising – specifically using high-quality video advertising in this arena can send a good message of strength and vibrancy.
- Broadcast TV – the same basic principle as social media in this case, just slightly more expensive.
Evaluation Based on Demographics
This is one of the easiest ways to evaluate some platforms but can be a little counter-intuitive for decision makers since many in your age group/income group have very different habits than you and it can be hard to stay completely un-biased when it comes to what you think your targets are paying attention to. The only graphic we are going to look at in this section is focused on age since that is one of the easiest and most universal way of evaluating the audience of different advertising options – especially since many traditional advertising options have less sophisticated demographic information available.
Two key points to keep in mind when looking at this graph:
- Columns #3 and #4 – for most businesses those are your future customers/clients. Where they spend their time is where you need to be.
- Columns #5 and #6 – those are likely some of your best customers. Those are probably the hardest to win to new products/services since those age demographics tend to have their “preferred services/products” already decided.
Evaluation Based on Price
This is actually an incredibly easy way to evaluate options since most will give you a CPM (cost per thousand impressions). However, remember that cost is not the only factor when evaluating advertising options.
Not all impressions are created equal; viewing the entirety of a video commercial about your product without distractions, like hyper-targeting offers through connected TV, is far more valuable than someone passing your billboard and potentially reading it.
Conclusion + Offer
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to advertising and that is why EasySocial exists. We take the confusing and complicated world of advertising and marketing and handle all of the work and research so our clients don’t have to. If you would like help evaluating your options, we offer a free hour of consultation to any new potential client.
If you would like to take advantage of this free hour, please get in contact with us here: www.easysocial.solutions/contact-us
Thank you for your time! Hopefully this guide made your life a little easier!
About Timothy: Timothy Zercher is the President and CEO of the 5-star rated EasySocial.
EasySocial manages online marketing and advertising efforts for over 68 companies all over the
U.S., and is based in Pueblo Colorado.