• Online Advertising Basics


Regardless of industry, products, or services, just about every business can benefit from online advertising. With people spending larger portions of their day lost in smartphones or on the computer, there’s never been a better time to grab your share of online real estate. This post outlines basic terms and tips for those looking to get their feet wet with online advertising.

Online Advertising Basics

Important Online Marketing Terminology

Before we get started, it’s important that you first understand all of the terminology we’re going to be using and how it applies to online advertising. Below, you’ll find most of the essential terms that are commonly thrown around in online advertising so you can begin familiarizing yourself with them.

1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

This is one of the most popular forms of online advertising. With a PPC platform (such as Google Ads or Bing Ads), you’re only charged when a user clicks on your campaign. This way, you can limit your spending and ensure you’re (hopefully) attracting highly qualified leads.

2. Impressions

Impressions are simply the number of people that have seen your online ad, regardless of whether or not they click on it. This is an important figure when calculating the effectiveness of an ad campaign.

3. Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR goes hand in hand with impressions by expressing the number of people that have clicked on your ad as a percentage. To get CTR, you simply divide clicks by the number of impressions. The higher the percentage, the better your ad is doing.

4. Conversion

Conversions happen when the people that click your ad land on your website and perform the desired action of the campaign. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with the ad, this could be collecting emails, selling a product, or having a free eBook downloaded.

5. Call To Action (CTA)

CTAs are ultimately that which gets users to turn into conversions. This can be the wording of the ad itself or even a button that influences a user to perform the desired action. These are some of the most important pieces of the puzzle when putting an ad together.

6. Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI refers to the amount of profit you make from an ad campaign in comparison to the cost. For example, if your average customer makes you a $100 profit and it costs $70 dollars in advertising to convert them, your net profit would be a positive ROI of $30.

7. Keyword

Keywords are the words or phrases that internet users type into a search engine. By targeting specific keywords with an ad campaign, you can ensure that your ad will only be shown to users with high search relevance.

Where You Can Advertise Online

In the world of online advertising, there are numerous channels and platforms by which you can reach your target audience. There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to marketing, so we’ve covered the most popular online advertising channels below.

1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engines like Google are some of the powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal as a business. As such, PPC is a popular form of marketing that allows you to gain instant exposure for your brand. This is different from search engine optimization (SEO), which strives for the same result—getting ont he first page of search engine results—but through .

2. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

With billions of people around the world using social media on a daily basis, these platforms present a prime opportunity to advertise your brand. Much like SEM, you can use Facebook and Instagram to create different types of social ad campaigns.

Outside of attracting new visitors to your website and landing pages, social media is also great for growing brand awareness by keeping your followers engaged. No matter what your brand goals are, social media can help you get there in more ways than one.

3. Email Marketing

There’s a good chance that not everyone who lands on your website is ready to become a customer right away. Email marketing has been around for decades and still serves as a powerful way to stay in touch with your subscribers. This is the perfect platform for building relationships and slowly turning potentials into actual paying customers. You can also use email marketing to advertise new products and services, blog entries, or pretty much anything else that’s relevant to your brand.

Basic Online Advertising Tips

1. Learn About Your Audience

Online advertising is only as effective as your understanding of target customers. In addition to information like demographics and location, you also want to know about their interests, the problems they’re facing, and what they find most important when shopping for a solution. The more you learn about your audience, the better your ads will perform and the better your conversions will get.

2. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Just because we covered the most popular online advertising channels doesn’t mean you need to, or even should, use them all. Ideally, you want to focus on the channels your target audience uses the most, thus increasing the likelihood of better ad performance. When you try to do too many things at once, you’ll be greatly limiting your budget while also negatively affecting your ROI.

3. Always Be Tracking

When it comes to online advertising, the brands that like to “set and forget” are the ones that end up blowing through their marketing budget the fastest. To ensure the best performance and results, you need to stay on top of your campaigns by tracking important metrics on a regular basis. By doing this, it’ll become much easier to determine what’s working and what’s not so you can make the most of your marketing dollars.


If online advertising still feels complicated, try our free eBook below where we simplify it for the bigger picture:
Kristen McCormick
Kristen McCormick
Kristen is the Content Marketing Manager for ThriveHive, where she geeks out daily over SEO, organic traffic, and A/B testing. When she's not equipping business owners and marketers to get their name out there through effective content, she's out pedaling the streets of Boston on her beloved bike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *