Online advertising is a great way to grow your business and increase revenue. It’s important to understand the different types of online ads so you can make an informed decision about how best to use them. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of each type of ad and discuss which one might be better suited for a small business like yours.


What are the benefits of online advertising?


There are many benefits of online advertising. The first and most apparent benefit is the cost of ads compared to other ways of marketing your business, like print or radio advertisements. You can get started with a relatively small budget, depending on which type of ad you choose for your campaign – we’ll elaborate more below about how each type works!

Some of the main benefits are…

  • Reach a larger audience
  • Reach a targeted audience
  • Measure your success for optimisation
  • Control the content
  • Optimise for mobile devices and social media platforms
  • Create ads on the go with a smartphone or tablet.

What are the different types of online advertising?

pay per click icon

Pay Per Click (PPC): This is probably one of the most popular types of online advertising; it lets you pay for each click on your ad. Google is perhaps the king of PPC. This is because of the vast reach of their network. Results are measured in cost per thousand impressions (CPM). The better your content and site is at attracting clicks, the lower the CPM will be.

Search Engine Marketing SEM Icon

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM campaigns are usually CPC models. These are the ads you see on the search engine results page, such as Google or Bing. You can spot them as they are marked with the word ad.

Display Advertising: Display ads are usually banner type advertisements or other forms of display advertising. This can be seen on many sites that have a lot of page views, such as news websites and high traffic blogs.

Social media ads

Social Media Ads: Social media is becoming an increasingly popular form of advertisement. It has the ability to reach people who would not usually see your ad in their social media feed.

retargeting ads

Retargeting: Retargeting is a marketing tactic where you serve ads to people who have shown interest in your company before. With the use of cookies on your website, you can serve ads to people who have visited your site but not made a purchase. Ads can remind people they have left something in their basket or just remind them that they were on your website.

native ads

Native Advertising: Native advertising is unobtrusive ads that are placed between or among other content on the page. The idea behind Native Advertising is to allow readers an uninterrupted reading experience while still giving them access to a sponsored post if they choose to click through.

Which Type of Online Ads Are Best for My Business?


The first step is defining your goals. Then you can start to explore which type of online advertising best suits your needs.

  • What is the aim of the advert? (Awareness, sales, leads etc.)
  • What is your budget?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where is your audience online? (Facebook, TikTok, news websites etc.)
  • What content would appeal most to your target audience? (Images, video, blogs etc.)
  • Where are your customers in the buying cycle?

By defining your audience, desired outcome and media to use in the ads, you can select the best type of campaign for you.

In the early days, businesses may want to start with a smaller budget while testing their ads and tweaking them. A small budget can cause unpredictable results, though, so steer towards social media ads or PPC. Create ads that engage customers and drive traffic to your website.

Let’s look at some examples below.

Online ad case study 1

Case 1:

Jane owns a small shop selling handmade jewellery. This is a reasonably new business, started within the last six months. She has had some success promoting her products on social media, but her following is below 1000 at the moment. She wants to grow her audience and convert them into customers and advocates of her products.

Our suggestion

Begin with a Facebook page like campaign. Use a budget of £5 per day and create an eye-catching and engaging image of the products with a description of what she does. As a personal brand, we would suggest Jane keeps it casual, injects some of her personality, and asks people to follow her page. This ad should be targeted at Jane’s target audience, so she must understand who they are to get optimum results.

Jane could run tests and tweaks to optimise the performance of the ads, such as an A/B test with different images or changes in the copy.

The next step would be to nurture this growing audience with engaging content, offers, competitions etc. When the page has grown to Jane’s target, she can switch the ad objective.

We would then recommend Jane switched to a traffic campaign. Here she could still use social media ads on a CPC model to drive traffic. These ads can be placed on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Jane could use a video creative, a carousel of products, connect a catalogue or continue using a single image.

Once again, we would always advise running tests on the ads to improve the performance. If Jane is happy with her ads, she can increase the budget and may decide to incorporate some search engine marketing. For this, she would need to define her keywords.

Online ad case study 2

Case 2:

John is a personal trainer. He runs a 6-week weight-loss program that includes diet and nutrition. John wants to get more people signed up for his program. John has been in business for three years and has a website that has been receiving steady traffic over those years.

Our suggestion

John can advertise on Google Adwords, where he bids to get his advert in front of customers searching for the type of program that John offers. By bidding higher, John could show up right above competitor ads and have a better chance at getting conversions because people will click on him instead.

John could also use social media advertising with a video of him explaining the benefits of his program. He could target this geographically to his target audience to drive traffic to his landing page to direct people through his funnel.

As John has been receiving website traffic, he could also opt for a retargeting advert. This would mean that John’s website visitors and customers could be seeing his advert as they visit other websites.

Once again, John should monitor the performance of his ads, run tests and tweak where necessary.

Online ad case study 3

Case 3:

Rebecca is an affiliate marketer. She has a blog centred around cooking and recipes. She uses this blog to insert links to products so she can earn a commission. She would like to drive more traffic to her blog and create an engaged, regular audience.

Our suggestion

Native advertising would be ideal for Rebecca because she has an audience that is very receptive to this type of advertising. Native ads are advertorials on a site with editorial content, and they blend in seamlessly.

Rebecca could choose from various networks, such as Taboola or Outbrain. She would place her adverts within articles related to food which she knows will be read by the target audience. They would look natural and have a greater chance of being clicked.


What results are typical?


The cost of running a campaign depends on the type you decide to go with, but it is important to note that the higher your budget for online advertising, the more conversions you will receive in return. It may also take some time to set up the campaign, but it will be worth it in the end.

It’s essential to set realistic goals and expectations. You should know that it takes six months or more for a campaign to produce meaningful results in most cases. If you want your ads to be seen by people who’ve visited your site before, then online advertising like retargeting is the best option for you.


How do you start?


It’s important to understand your target audience first. What are their interests, where are they online, how old are they, is there a geographical limit on your services that needs to be considered?

Next, use the details at the beginning of this article to decide which online advertising option will work best for your goals. You can then do a little research. For example, if you’re a small business and need to reach people who live in the UK, then Google Adwords may be your best option because they have no geographical limits on where ads are shown.

Next up, create your ad campaign. This will differ depending on the type of campaign. SEM ads, for example, require keywords or phrases that will trigger the ad to be shown. They are text-based ads, so you will need to write a few variants of your advert.

Social media ads will ask you to define your audience such as age, location, interests etc. You will also need a creative such as graphics or video for the advert.

Once your ad is live, you need to monitor the performance, your bidding and make changes as necessary to improve the performance of your online advert.

If you have a small budget or don’t want the headache of managing multiple campaigns, then it’s worth considering social media ads such as Facebook Ads. Here you can target people in specific demographics who are interested in certain things by targeting their interests with keywords, for instance. This is much easier than managing multiple campaigns on different sites.

We hope this post has helped to explain the benefits of online advertising and how to get started. If you need some help, you can always employ us to take care of these ad campaigns for you – get started here.