How to Do Paid Marketing

Paid media weaves through our offline and online existence across every conceivable channel: print ads in hard copy publications, display ads on every website, product feeds, dynamic retargeting, and paid social are just a few examples of what an average person will experience daily. Given the cost, ecosystem challenges and rampant fraud, why do companies place such a premium on paid media?

Paid media reliably broadens a brand’s reach at every stage in the funnel, from awareness to conversion to winback . Place a dynamic bid and you can reach a uniquely tailored audience at exactly the right time. This is especially critical with channels where the accessible audience for a  brand’s organic outreach can get lost in the noise or lack the requisite scale to reliably achieve holistic growth goals. Sophisticated networks provide both scale and granular targeting that can introduce new, highly tailored customers to a brand on a regular basis, specifically by creating a paradigm that favors paid placements above “earned” views. 

We like to think of paid advertising as being placed into three distinct categories:

1. Audience targeting based advertising

With this type of advertising, you’re targeting an audience with an assumed interest in your brand. Display, social media ads, billboard and print ads are all examples of targeted audience advertising, as they can be put in places where the target audience frequents. This is also a great way to discover what resonates with your target audience. Start at a low spend, initially cast a wide net across different strategies and tactics, then cut what isn’t working and reinvest in the strategies that do work. The wide net is crucial to ensure you get a full picture into what works. 

2. Intent-based advertising/contextual targeting

With this type of advertising, you are basing your bets on someone’s stated rather than assumed interest in something. Search ads are a great example  — a user who already performs a search has high intent and has stated interest. Another example: you could target users who are on ESPN with sports related ads. Users go to these categorized sites or apps which tells advertisers what they are already inherently interested in. Most search ads are based on intent rather than a specific persona, though you can technically target both. These types of ads are great to use when you know you have a type of product someone knows they need or want.

3. Trust-based Advertising

Many people buy things because their friends or people they admire tell them to — in fact,  of people trust recommendations from friends and family. Trust-based advertising encapsulates affiliate marketing and influencer marketing, both of which are based on an assumed interest due to trust in others. While this falls under paid advertising, it has a very different dynamic. These methods can be used alongside virality practices when you have a product that can inspire others — but works best when the referrals and influencers are authentic. Paying an influencer who is a good fit for your brand and has a similar target audience to yours goes a long way, rather than choosing an influencer who might have a large following but doesn’t match your brand. 

Paid Advertising KPIs

There are various ways to both structure ad buys, align paid media KPIs and measure paid efforts/effectiveness: 

1. CPM - Cost Per Mille - Strongly favored by the supply side of mobile advertising because higher volume can be sold more efficiently, this measures the cost an advertiser pays per 1,000 impressions on an ad.
2. CPC - Cost Per Click - A more traditional metric, CPC is used to measure the price paid for each click on your ads. 
3. CPI - Cost Per Install - Favored by app acquisition advertisers, CPI aligns spend with a broadly applicable top-of-funnel metric.
4. CPA - Cost Per Action
- Measures the cost brands pay ad networks to acquire a user who completes specific actions such as registrations or purchases.

Increasing the Efficacy of Your Paid Ads

Paid ads are a great way to drive urgency and mindshare by creating an almost paradoxical anxiety rooted in curiosity and fear of missing out that can only be relieved by clicking the call to action to purchase or download:
By using creative language and copy to drive a sense of urgency, you can drive users to take the action you want them to, whether it be to click, view or purchase.