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Published September 13th 2013

A Guide to Online Advertising for Your Brand

What are the online advertising options for your brand? Read our guide to discover more.

You can’t surf the web without coming across tons of advertisements used by businesses trying to promote, sell or create awareness for their brand.

There are a many types of online advertisements, and for a good reason. Much of the web relies on the revenue gained from online ads.

So, what are the different types of online advertising options? Let’s dive in.

Social Advertising


Many businesses now advertise on social platforms. This type of advertising comes in numerous forms and channels.

Three social media websites that are frequently used for their online advertising options are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

LinkedIn, a networking site for professionals, has a variety of advertising options for brands.

Self-service advertising, the most common option, allows you to create your own advertisements, and accepts up to 15 variations for the ad. Once you create your ad, you can target the types of professionals that will see and have the option to click on it.

Some of the ways that you can target your ad is by job title, industry, job function, location, and LinkedIn group.

You can also set your own budget for each campaign, and stop showing the ads at any time.

LinkedIn also has premium advertising options: Sponsored InMail, which allows companies to send specific, targeted messages to professionals that matter to their business, and Premium Display Advertising, where companies can create display ads that will reach their target audience and create more brand awareness.

Another social platform for online advertising is Twitter. Twitter gives you two ways to advertise: Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.

  • Promoted Accounts: Twitter allows the brand to target and attract new followers based on the followers that they already have. The brand’s account shows up in the “Who To Follow” category. Promoting the Twitter account creates more brand awareness, and focuses on users that are likely interested in your business based off of your followers (top image)
  • Promoted Tweets: the tweets show up right in the timeline, and allow the company to get important tweets out in front of the right people. Companies can promote a product, event or service to their followers or potential followers, and they can target users by keywords, interests, location, and the type of device they are using.

The third of the most popular three (not in order!) networks for advertising is Facebook.

Facebook is similar to LinkedIn, in that you can run multiple versions of an ad, and target them to a specific audience.

By running multiple ads, you can see what audiences respond to, and what versions yield the greatest results.

Search Engine Marketing


Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is a popular online advertising solution. Brands promote their businesses on the search engine results pages.

The results on the search page are either paid for by companies or organic. The results that are paid come from platforms that have users pay to be included on their website. Ads show up on the platform based off of keywords, topics, and certain demographic information.

Online Advertising Options

The paid or sponsored advertisements are the ones that you see both above and along the right hand side of the search results (highlighted in red). These ads are shown based off of keywords, and like most online advertising options, they can be targeted towards a specific audience, including location, device, and interests.

The organic results, also known as SEO, are the un-paid search engine results (highlighted in blue). In order to have the company website as one of the higher-ranking results on the page, brands edit and optimize their own website to increase their prominence in search results. This can involve adding links, editing website content or improving URLs.

Display Ads


A more noticeable form of online advertising is the use of display ads.

There are many different variations of display ads, including banner (example below left) pop-up, floating, and expanding ads (example below right).  These ads tend to use pictures, logos, videos, animation, and other types of graphics to draw a consumer in.  These ads are located right on the web page.

Online Advertising

A Little Info About Cookies (And Not the Kind You Eat)


Ever wonder why it seems like a company is following you while you are browsing the Internet?

That’s because they are. Online advertisers use cookies, small text files that are given ID tags and used to track your movements. Say you are shopping online, and leave website without buying something. Cookies will track that information and then the advertisers will try and retarget you by using ads from their website.



Online ads are paid for in different ways, and in many cases, brands can choose how they want to pay for the ads.

The most common way is by using the cost-per-click method, or CPC. Brands can set a bid, and only pay money when their ads are clicked on.

Cost per mille, or CPM, is another way that online advertisements are paid for. For every thousand impressions that an ad is shown, the brand has to pay a certain amount.

Some advertising platforms allow for a fixed cost. This means that companies only have to play a certain amount, and the ad will only run for a set amount of time.



So what are the pros and cons of companies using online advertising to promote their brand?


  • Relatively low cost. You also have a lot of control of the amount and how the money is being spent. With the variety of spending options (CPC, CPM, etc.), you are able to choose the way that is best for your company.
  • The ability to specifically target the audience you want your ad to be visible to.  Most ads allow you to target based on interest and geography, and that gives you a greater chance to capitalize on potential customers.
  • Certain platforms allow you to create a variety of ads.


  • Competition: Almost every company is now advertising on the Internet, and it’s creating competition.
  • Annoyance: Let’s be honest. Certain ads (I’m looking at you pop-ups) are incredibly annoying when you are browsing the web. Online advertising has the ability to overwhelm the consumer because of the sheer volume of ads and the number of platforms that they’re now part of.

So there you have it. A quick, general overview of some of the different components that make up online advertising.

While there are both pros and cons to advertise this way, brands have the ability to figure out the way that best works for them, and find success and reach a lot of potential customers.

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