Online Advertising Is Not A Mystic Art

Online advertising is not a mystic art. It is a reliable and effective method of attracting customers and promoting your brand. However, recent years have seen dramatic changes to nearly every aspect of online advertising. Whether your goal is to generate leads, attract sales or simply let people know you exist, what worked a few months or years ago may be much less successful today.

In the ‘old days’, if you posted on Facebook it was a given that nearly all of your followers would be aware of it. These days, if you manage to reach just 5% of your followers it is often considered a good result. You can’t just throw money at this one either. The idea of simply paying to get your post seen just doesn’t work the way it once did.

With social media sites implementing more and more restrictive algorithms, an increase in privacy awareness amongst users, and the rise of ad-blockers, the effectiveness and reach of online advertising has been heavily impacted, regardless of your budget.

Despite these challenges, online advertising can still be extremely successful. Here at Virtualis we are constantly evolving our strategies to remain effective. One of the biggest challenges to emerge recently is the level of tailoring required to be successful on each platform. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach any longer.

If you are thinking of spending money on online advertising, a budget of a few pounds per day can be very effective. But who should you spend that money with?

Google Ads

Google Ads is still the primary online advertising platform used by most organisations. It is also the first platform that we recommend almost every time. We are proud of our return on investment track record with Google Ads and our successful campaigns will help you realise your advertising goals.

But, for nearly every organisation there are other advertising platforms that can be just as effective as Google Ads, and in some cases much more so…

Bing Ads

Bing Ads will put you in front of searchers on Bing and Yahoo, the top two search engines after Google. While Bing attracts fewer visitors, your budget will reach much further as adverts are a lot cheaper than on Google.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is a viable online advertising platform for nearly every business. It can be so effective that many people rely solely on Facebook for all of their advertising. The targeting of ads on Facebook is possibly the most refined of all platforms. This can really help get your ad in front of the right people.

There are some great techniques for advertising on Facebook. For example replicating your best website landing page, tailoring it to your Facebook advert, then directing all Facebook traffic to it.

Another powerful feature of Facebook Ads is retargeting. Correctly used (which may require minor modifications to your website) this can generate a significant return on investment.

Instagram Ads

Instagram is useful for consumer marketing and by its nature tends to attract certain core demographics. With over one billion active users every month there’s plenty of potential to get you product in front of people.

We find that Instagram Ads are not that effective at raising brand awareness. But if you have a product or service to sell and can link directly to it from Instagram, then this platform can be highly lucrative.

The biggest secret of an effective Instagram Ad is a high-quality, eye-grabbing, and intuitive picture that reveals its purpose and intent immediately.

Twitter Ads

We find Twitter Ads work well for building an audience of interested followers, who hopefully retweet your content. A single interesting Twitter post, properly promoted, can reach a wide audience in a very short time. Like Instagram, clarity of message is important. Your promoted tweet must be concise with a link straight back to the relevant page on your site.

If your goal is to gain followers, then Twitter’s account promotion feature is a cost-effective way of increasing your audience. An effective strategy is to increase followers before spending money on tweet promotion.

LinkedIn Ads

Ads on LinkedIn can be targeted like those on Facebook. But you can also target people based on their professional status, experience or skill set. With this level of control, you can be confident that your ads are seen by those most likely to be interested in you.

Images work very well on LinkedIn, especially if you aim for quality over quantity with your budget.

LinkedIn is the most expensive of the social networks to advertise on. But being able to put your ad directly in front of the people that make decisions in an organisation is worth the extra.


If you have a good video that promotes your brand, product, or service then Youtube advertising can be highly rewarding.

To increase the effectiveness of your campaign, there are controls to help target your video. For example, restricting who sees your video based on multiple criteria. There is also a range of different video advertising options suitable for different markets and styles.

There is currently no better choice for getting your video seen, but correctly configuring your campaign is vital to YouTube success.


Reddit receives more visitors than LinkedIn (and even Netflix!), but many haven’t heard of it before. For those who haven’t, Reddit is essentially the internet’s message board and boasts 430 million active users per month.

Your ad targeting is restricted to appearing on specific subreddits (think topics). But this means that if your ad can be categorised into a niche (or several) it is possible to reach a very receptive audience.

The biggest consideration is that Reddit advertising is only effective if you are already an active user in the community. Having a high ‘karma’ (approval and credibility) on the platform is vital, and time needs to be spent gaining this. But if you do, a well-placed advert can reach a huge number of people very cost-effectively.

Yelp Ads

Yelp advertising can work for you if your business is local. But if you want to be successful you need to already be present on the platform. At the very least you will need to have a business page with as many positive reviews as possible. We rarely recommend Yelp for this reason, but if you think it will work for you, we’ll be happy to discuss it.

I hope this quick run-down of the current “big-players” in online advertising has been useful. If you are thinking of running a campaign then please do get in touch, we are happy to provide a free consultation tailored to your needs, with absolutely no obligations.

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