advertising myths

When you are new to online advertising, or considering trying it for the first time, it’s easy for your efforts to be derailed by some persistent myths that get bandied about.

Improving your organic rankings is the ultimate goal

When brands are trying to boost their online visibility, getting a good ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) can become an obsession. Although rankings do matter, they are only one part of reaching your customers online.

If you are in a very competitive market, it is difficult and the cost is high to get to the very top of those SERPs and even if you do, you are still going to appear below several adverts.

In this example of the SERP for speakers, you’ll notice the two adverts are more prominent than the organic results and are barely distinguishable from them. Research from Ofcom found that 51% of search engine users were unable to correctly identify adverts or sponsored links in SERPs. This was particularly common among certain groups, like those aged over 65.

So, it is best not to obsess over your rankings and instead use a number of different tactics to boost your online visibility. Using Google Adwords can help maximise your chances of exposure by appearing above organic search results.

Getting lots of traffic to your site should be your main focus

Unfortunately, people are still often unduly impressed by generating lots of traffic to their website and don’t necessarily think about whether it is good quality or not.

Getting lots of traffic doesn’t matter if it’s not coming from the right sources. You need to focus on attracting highly targeted traffic from people who are likely to buy from your site.

Assess how people who visit your website behave, so you can work out if you are attracting the right kind of interest. How long do they stay on your site? Do you pique their interest enough for them to return to your site? Most importantly, do they convert into buyers?

If they are landing on your site but not converting, you may need to consider whether you are being targeted enough. One of the big advantages of using online advertising is that it gives you the ability to hone in on precisely the people who are likely to be interested in buying your product. So, try not to get too hung-up about the volume of traffic you get and instead focus on the quality.

People don’t respond to online advertising

Many people cite a growing scepticism towards online advertising as a reason not to spend money on it but in reality they are missing out on a prime opportunity to market their business.

There are numerous ways to advertise a business online that you can’t dismiss it without first experimenting with different tactics.

Although some online advertising can be viewed as a nuisance, people are not averse to advertising if it is done well. This means avoiding placing adverts that are irrelevant or intrusive.

Research by Hubspot found that 68% of people are fine seeing ads “but only if they are not annoying”. They didn’t respond well to adverts they viewed as disruptive, such as pop up ads, which 73% of people said they disliked.

To increase the chances of people responding to your ad, focus on creating highly targeted ads that are relevant to the people who see them. Consider the intent of the people you are advertising to. It doesn’t always have to be about selling a product. For example, if someone is in the research phase of the buying cycle, you may want to point them to a buyer’s guide instead.

You need to be on lots of social media sites

The buzz around social media can leave some businesses feeling like they are lagging behind if they don’t have a presence on every new site that comes along.

You may see your competitors on numerous sites and fear that if you’re not there too you are missing out but this may not be the case. It is only worth putting your efforts into advertising on a particular site if your target audience uses it.

The more metrics you measure the better

There are numerous metrics you can measure when you are advertising online, from cost per conversion and click through rate to impressions and reach.

But just because you can measure something it doesn’t mean you should. Yes, it may look great to gather lots of data on your advertising but it may also be a distraction from what really matters.

Identify the key metrics that will help you achieve your goals and focus on these.

When advertising online, your main focus should be on quality rather than quantity, or else you could spend lots of money on it without the results to show for it.