If you’re unfamiliar with paid internet advertising or simply “paid advertising” – it’s the opposite of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You are actively paying to get in front of users that are performing an action or activity somewhere on the internet.

The arsenal of tools used to get in front of people has grown considerably over the last 3 decades.

Understand your Audience

Research is the single most important aspect of paid internet advertising. The reason is due to having a lot of information and needing the right information.

Customer archetypes are built for many businesses as they operate. They become more in-tune with those who consume their products/services. Once you’ve outlined the consumer archetype you must dive into the rabbit hole.

What devices do my users rely on the most?

Do my users engage with apps?

How technological proficient is my demographic?

Do my consumers prefer text or video?

Do they enjoy crude art or classic design?

How active are my customers online?

These are just a handful of questions that must address and meet over time. If you have a keen eye, you’ve already spotted a few theoretically impossible questions to answer such as “how active are my customers online?” – a smartphone would be a breach of privacy policies so often, that you’d need to settle with what you have.

How do you know what you have? Try using analytic-tracking tools.

Google Analytics

Facebook Pixel

Adobe Analytics

IBM Analytics

Now that you’ve analyzed your consumers and who they are, you should have a better picture of who you need to be targeting so the next step is why?

Know your Action

What is the bottom line of your business? Are you trying to accumulate user information? Do you have a product that needs to move? Depending on how you answer this will change the strategy and implementation of paid internet advertisements. If you have multiple actions – write them all out and assign them weighted grades to what your business considers important.

To help you with this, make sure to install some sort of tag management system on your site. This will help make sure that you’re tracking the actions of those who you’re targeting. Without this – it will be impossible to review results at a later stage. Here’s a list of some tag management systems out there that you can use to improve your strategies:

Adobe Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager


Salesforce Tag Manager

IBM Tag Manager


Once you’ve settled on a tag manager and actions you deemed good, you have to implement a landing page. Also known as a splash page – it’s incredibly important to think of this, not as your standard Acai Berry / Green Coffee weight loss landing page, but the answer to the question of “What do you want your customer to see first?” – check out MarketingSherpa for a more in-depth blog discussion of landing pages.


Types of Ads

You understand the archetype, you’ve narrowed the focus. Now it’s time to think about “where?.”

30 years ago we had pop-ups. Now we have pop-ups with steroids. Display ads, native ads, app ads, video ads, search ads, dynamic search ads, action-based pop-ups with incredibly tiny X’s that are layered over imaginary X’s confusing you to the point where Reddit creates rules about what kind of ads are displayed for the stream you want to watch.

The reason why we have so many is that each one has an independent trust factor associated with it. Not to mention that depending on ‘who’ you want to target and ‘what’ you want them to do – the ‘where’ changes based on the type of ad format you use.

You don’t display a sidebar video ad to someone who is reading an article. They’ll read faster to get away from it. You have to trap them. 

Paid Advertising on Different Platforms

Each ads platform will have different advertising inventory as well as different inventory in placing, said ad. Facebook, Google, Bing, Amazon are your run of the mill DIY paid platforms.

After that, you have programmatic advertising tools such as AdRoll, Adobe, Rubicon, DoubleClick, Choozle, Centro.

Why are you Showing me this?

Unless you’re Amazon or the next bottomless investment fund – there needs to be a reason for targeting people. What are they searching for? Why? What websites are they interacting with? Why? What device are they using? Why?

This is to help keep your cost down. People will tell others to focus on long tailed keywords as they tend to yield better. However, this is not necessarily true. It could be that those who use long tailed keywords are industry-specific and know what they are looking for – it could also be that those who advertise on head terms already know the answer to “why” people are using such short, generic search queries.

Strategize your Execution

Poor timing is the Achilles heel to herculean efforts.

This is where it pays off to dive a little more technical into whatever ad platforms you are using. Understanding and tinkering with ad distribution settings go a long way to perfecting the timing at which your ads are shown to the proper target market. If you are selling kids toys – you don’t want your ad to be shown at 6 pm on TV while the family is eating dinner.

Re-targeting becomes a factor at this stage. Segmenting your paid traffic, you need to look for users who fell through cracks in order to bring them back. A word to the wise, however, would be not to go overboard with re-targeting. It’s cheap. It’s easy. But it also has negative lasting effects on your brand loyalty. 

For many industries in the e-commerce world, the ‘when’ occurs in Q4 every year. For others, it could be tax season, Halloween, back to school, summer, every Friday, happy hour, so on and so forth. Keep in mind that external factors such as authority figures can easily play a role in swaying the target audience to tune off to your message, despite the excellent timing. 

Bonus Point

Make sure to set lower than expected budgets. Unless you are running one paid internet advertising campaign and it is to be on every years Black Friday – start small, graduate to big.

If you need help creating your paid advertising strategy, contact the experts at Vissina for a free consultation