When bloggers think of online advertising, they usually think first of selling it, rather than buying it.
But buying ad space can be a great traffic-generation technique if you’re careful in terms of how you go about it.
There are really two types of advertising—brand advertising, and tactical or action-oriented advertising—and for traffic generation purposes, you’ll probably want to focus on the second type.
Making a traffic-focused ad campaign work depends on a few elements:
- the audience
- the ad space
- the ad
- what you do with the traffic the ad generates.
Your target audience
Last time, when we looked at content marketing, we saw how important it is to work out who you’re targeting with any traffic-generation strategy since, of course, not all traffic is the right kind of traffic.
So your first step is really to think about who you want to target with your advertising. If your answer is, “well, more of the same people who are visiting my site now,” that’s fine. If you want to target a specific sub-segment of that audience, that’s great too.
The important thing once you’ve identified those people is to work out a key need related to your topic that all of them share—and that your blog solves.
Buying ad space
Now you know who you’re targeting, you need to work out where they gather online. Broadly speaking, we can break down the options into three categories:
- search engines
- social media
- informational websites.
Buying advertising space on search engines can be a great way to ensure that the people seeing your ads have expressed a need in your offer. Your ads will appear alongside search results for the keywords you target (there’s a range of other filters you can select too, like geographic targeting), so the users have already expressed an interest in the need your blog meets.
Buying ad space on social media also targets your ad to the right users—but depending on how closely you select your ad filters, this targeting can be less stringent, which means you could wind up paying for more “wastage” (the amount of ad impressions that are seen by people who aren’t in your target audience).
Also, social media advertising can automatically restrict your ad’s reach, since it only gets seen by users who are subscribed to a particular social media network. Pretty much everyone online uses search engines, but does your target audience use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter … or not?
By buying ad space on an information