Should You Buy Advertising Online? 

 September 29, 2017

By  Jim Daniels

Everyone would love an endless supply of free, high-quality website traffic.

That’s why “traffic” products and services sell so well with every new launch. Unfortunately, most of them make promises of lots of traffic, but few actually deliver.

That’s not to say you can’t get a lot of traffic without spending any money. You can. It just takes more time and effort building a traffic foundation.

That’s why many website owners decide to spend some money on advertising – also called media buying.

Media buying can help you get started making money while you slowly building your free methods like SEO, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Media buying can be very costly if you aren’t careful, but with some wise choices, you can pull in a significant amount of traffic with very little effort at all.

In this post, you’re going to learn the basics of media buying, as well as some tips you can use to lower your costs and get more quality traffic.

Do This Before You Buy Advertising Online

The very first thing you need to do before you buy is make sure your offer is the best it can be. This may sound silly, but too many people jump right into buying a ton of ads without running the first test to see how well their page converts!

Additionally, you need to be sure you know your demographic inside out. You need to know as much as possible about your target market in order to target your ads properly and save money.

These days, most places that sell ads on a CPC (cost per click) basis, give the buyer a lower CPC if their ad has a higher CTR (click through rate). Thus, the better your ad performs, the less it costs.

Sounds great, huh?

The best way to get low cost clicks therefore, is to make sure as many people as possible click your ads. I know, it sounds crazy to even mention this, because everyone obviously wants to get the most clicks possible, right? But it isn’t just about creating a great offer and writing good ad copy.

To get the best possible CTR, you need to make sure you’re not only targeting the right keywords, but also the right demographics.

Demographics include factors like:
• Gender
• Age range
• Geo location (where they live)
• Income level
• Education level
• Family status (children, or no children)
• Marital status (single, married, etc.)
• Ethnicity

You may not need to know every single one of these things about your target market. For example, ethnicity is really only important if you’re specifically targeting a market that targets one particular ethnicity.

But the more you can learn about your target market, the more effective your ads will be. Knowing your target market can mean the difference between paying a nickel a click on Facebook and paying a dollar a click!
(Yes, it can make that much difference!)

If you don’t know your target demographic, you can either guess (not really a great idea), you can check your site’s Google Analytics (only useful if you have it installed and have a decent amount of data to use), or by using a service.

Some places you can use for demographic research include:

http://www.alexa.com – Search for a website tightly related to your market and you’ll be able to see its demographic information

http://www.quantcast.com – Quantcast provides similar information to Alexa. Just search for the same type of website.

Direct Buy vs. Agency

You may be wondering whether you should use an agency to place your ads or just buy directly. An agency can definitely make your ad buys easier, and they might even be able to save you money in the long run, but they’re likely to be more expensive upfront.

With agencies or ad networks, you’ll be able to get set up quickly, and you’ll have someone who will work with you to get you the best deals and best spots that will convert well for you. However, it comes at a price. You’ll have higher minimums to get started, and if your rep doesn’t do his or her job well, you could lose a lot of money.

You won’t have the same connections to get better prices per click if you buy direct, but you won’t have such high minimums to get started, and you can directly monitor your own campaigns to keep a tighter control on your CTR and your CPC (cost per click).

So which should YOU do?

If you have lots of money and don’t mind leaving everything in someone else’s hands, using an agency might be a good idea. Otherwise, buying direct is definitely the way to go. You’ll have more control and you can get started without a bunch of money upfront.

Social Media Ads

Social ads are one of the most effective types of ads these days, because social users are often extremely active, and they can be targeted very well in most cases. You can often target not only by demographic, but by specific interests, too.

Let’s take a look at some of the different social networks that offer advertising, and the basics of how they function.

Facebook currently has three ad placements. By default, any ad you purchase is shown in all three, but you can choose specific placements if you prefer.

• News Feed – Ads show up in the desktop news feed on computers. Ads appear very similar to standard posts, so
• Right Hand Column (RHC) – Ads show up on the right side of a user’s News Feed in a column that contains ads and other features.
• Mobile News Feed – Ads show up in the News Feed for mobile users, such as those using phones and tablets.
There are many different ad types to choose from. You can promote your website, get people to like, comment and share a post, build up your fan page with more likes, promote a mobile app, and other types.

You can find out more information about the specific ad types on Facebook here:

One of the best things about the Facebook ad system is their wide variety of targeting options. You can target by geo location, demographics (age, gender, education, and others), interests (hobbies, interests, pages liked, etc.), behaviors (using certain operating systems, for example), connections (reach friends of your fans, for example), and even custom audiences to retarget your own customers.

The secret to getting a good price for Facebook ads is to get the best possible CTR. The higher your click through rate, the lower your CPC.

LinkedIn ads are primarily good for advertising in the business and marketing arenas, but you could, if you got creative, tie other types of markets into the system profitably.

You can target by a wide variety of demographics. You can target based on education, job function, industry, job title, and more.

They offer a variety of different ad types, including display media of various types:

• 300×250
• 260×600
• Text ads

They also offer LinkedIn Native Ads:
• Spotlight Ads – Show the member profile image and allow you to link to a landing page.
• Follow Company Ads – Lets you build your followers to your company page. People can follow your company from your ad with a single click. When they like your page, it’s also shown to their network, giving you even more potential for additional followers.

Native Ads are available on two sizes (400×350 and 260×600) and are sold as CPM (cost per mille, or thousand), meaning you pay for the people who view your ad, NOT for clicks or results.

You can buy Sponsored InMail, so you can send emails directly to LinkedIn members.

You’ll supply them with a subject header, text for the email, a call-to-action button, your choice of a 300×250 or 300×600 ad, and additional widgets, as desired.

This type of ad is available on its own, or you can buy it as part of a larger marketing purchase. You pay per recipient.
Sponsored Updates will let you reach people with links, images, videos, presentations and other types of media.
You can buy these ads on a fully managed basis, or you can sponsor your own updates through the ad system. You can bid on a CPC or CPM basis.

Standard ads are available on a CPC basis. You can buy them straight through your LinkedIn account, and you can run multiple accounts.

Learn more about LinkedIn Ads here:

Pinterest ads are called Promoted Pins. That’s exactly what they are. They’re just like standard pins, only they’re shown to a large audience on a CPC basis. Other people can pin these ads and like these ads, thus increasing your reach without additional cost.

Promoted Pins are in their infancy at the moment, so there aren’t a lot of metrics available to judge the effectiveness, but they’re definitely promising. Pinterest is widely known for having an audience of buyers.

Learn more about Promoted Pins here:

Other Social Networks
There are other social networks that have different types of ads available, as well. Tumblr, for example, has several ad formats to choose from. Twitters currently has five standard types of ads, and you can also create your own custom campaign.

You might even search for social networks that are within your market. For example, there are social networks devoted to weight loss and fitness, relationships, and many more. Ads there would generally have less competition and thus cost less, and would also be more targeted to your market.

CPC ad networks such as Google AdWords make is easy to advertise, but costs can quickly spiral out of control if you aren’t careful. Many advertisers have seen the CPC of AdWords ads at $5 per click and higher in some markets, making it completely unaffordable for the average business owner.

That’s not to say they don’t have their purpose. CPC ads can definitely work in some cases, especially if you know how to keep costs down.

For example, Google AdWords will give you a lower CPC and show your ad more often if you have a high Quality Score, which is a measure of how relevant your landing page and ad are to your chosen keywords. This makes it especially important to carefully lump keywords into various campaigns, and perhaps even use specific landing pages for each one.

You can learn more about Quality Score here:
And here:

AdWords isn’t the only game in town for CPC ads. There’s also Bing and others.

Here are some other CPC networks to try:


Direct Ads
You can also buy ads directly on websites. Many websites offer advertising and a contact form on their website to inquire about advertising rates.

The biggest benefit of buying ads directly on websites is the ability to be certain you’re reaching your target market. You can advertise on sites that perfectly match your demographic and are perhaps even your direct competitors, thus ensuring you get the type of traffic you need.

When you find a site that works for you, there’s a good chance you can negotiate a lower monthly fee for your ad by purchasing multiple months in advance. This will help keep costs down and you’ll continue to get the traffic you’ve already seen converts well for you.

There are also ad networks you can use such as  https://buysellads.com/ to reach various websites.

Many publishers prefer to run their ad space through networks so they don’t have to manage everything themselves. Sometimes using a network is the only way to get your ads on a certain site.

The biggest benefit to buying ad space through a network instead of directly is that they usually have statistics, so you can make changes to your ads on the fly to increase CTR.

With direct placement, you usually won’t know how many impressions your ad receives until much later, and you have to contact the site owner to ask them to manually change your ad if it isn’t performing well.

In closing…

Free traffic is awesome, but takes time to build. Buying advertising can speed the results you get with any website. Social ads are the biggest trend in media buying these days. It’s something anyone can do with very little upfront investment, and you can see your results immediately in most cases.

Direct media buying can be profitable, and you can buy directly at many websites in your niche, or buy through an ad network.

Any type of media buy can work for you if you’re willing to put in the time and money to really fine-tune your ads, but if you’re looking for quick results with less money upfront, social ads are probably a safer bet.

I wish you the best of luck with your media buying, and I hope your campaigns are very profitable!

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About Jim

I gave up a life of jobs in 1996. Since then I've been earning a living online.

I write books, create software, license info-products, affiliate marketing, build membership sites, design websites and more.

I prefer this over my old lifestyle of getting up early, commuting to work, coming home to have a few hours for my family and living for the weekends. Now every day is a weekend. I work when I want and answer to no boss.

  • A lot of helpful and useful information and instructions as usual, Jim! Thank you for describing the pros and cons of buying advertising.

    Yes, free advertising is workable, but sometimes only paid promotions will get you in front of your target audience in time to capitalize on your offer before your competition beats you to it.
    Thanks Jim!

    • Thanks Yvonne, I appreciate the feedback. Glad you enjoyed the post. Email me for that free gift! (I know you have my email address.)

  • Hi Jim I never get tired of reading the information you always freely share. Thanks a million. I have had some good results from Facebook. The last time however I was coasting right along-getting ;leads. But then the leads abruptly did not continue. I changed my ad and increased my ad spend. No results. I am sure I had the best targeted audience I could get. I must have done something wrong or made Facebook mad or something???

  • Michael Jon says:

    Thank you for the great information on digital marketing. It was very helpful, as that is my next step in growing my business. Thanks to you, I’ll get started by picking one of the options to begin with, either with direct ads or LinkedIn.

  • Thanks Jim 🙂 so far I am familiar with google adwords and facebook ads, but did not know other options available 🙂

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