Paid Advertising in 2024: What it is (& How it Works)

YouTube Bumper Ads

Would you like to connect with new customers, increase brand recognition, and boost revenue?

Certainly, you do.

The great news is there’s a simple way to achieve this. You can invest in paid advertising, like search ads or social media ads.

However, many businesses are unsure about starting or increasing their spending on paid advertising. After all, a small business doesn’t have much money to waste.

Is paid advertising genuinely valuable? Where should you advertise? And how can you create effective paid ads?

We’re here to answer those questions and more. This article explores paid advertising, the various types of ads, and how to make the most of your ad budget.

What is Paid Advertising?

Paid advertising comes in different types, but it usually means paying a publisher or ad network every time someone reads or clicks on your ad.

What is PPC?

Different from paid media, which includes all kinds of advertising like newspapers to the internet, when marketers discuss paid advertising, they generally mean digital PPC ads.

PPC means pay-per-click. Pay-per-click advertising is just what it sounds like: you pay for each click you get. You can easily join an ad platform, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, for free. Once a user clicks your ad, you pay a set amount.

PPC advertising is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost traffic to your website and turn leads into customers.

What Are the Benefits of Paid Advertising?

Setting up paid ads is easy, but becoming an expert can be costly and time-consuming. Why bother, you ask? Well, there are plenty of good reasons.

Paid Advertising Has a Good ROI

Paid ads are effective. 74% of brands and 79% of agencies believe that PPC significantly boosts their business.

You don’t need to spend a lot to begin. Paid advertising can work on any budget, whether it’s $50 per month or $50,000.

The results you get depend on how well you optimize your ad campaigns and other factors, but achieving a good return on investment is possible.

Advertising Builds Brand Awareness

Ads are great for making more people see your brand. Paying for ads can help you reach new people who don’t know about you and who you can’t reach with other types of marketing.

PPC Is Easy to Track and Analyze

It could be tricky to figure out if your marketing is working. But not with PPC. Tracking, evaluating, and improving ads is easy.

This helps you measure your advertising ROI while also understanding your target audience better. For example, you might find that ads centered around a particular keyword give the best results. Now, you know that the keyword attracts potential buyers, and you can use it in SEO and other activities.

Unmatched Targeting

Focus on potential customers who are actively looking for keywords related to your products or services. You can also target individuals online who have profiles similar to your current customers.

Digital paid advertising offers immediate targeting options that traditional media cannot match.

What Are Some Examples of Paid Advertising?

Ads you pay for are everywhere now, showing up on search engines, websites, movies, and more.

If you’re thinking about doing paid ads, you have plenty of options. These are some of the most common.

Search ads

When you type a search word into Google or Bing, what shows up first? In most cases, the search results are ads instead of natural ones.

Focusing on specific words lets your ads show up at the top of related search pages. Google Ads is the main player, but Bing, Yahoo, and a few other search engines also offer search ads.

Ads that appear in search results are the most popular form of paid advertising because of their great targeting abilities.

Display Ads

Display ads are pictures, videos, and words put together for promotion. They pop up on different websites and help make a brand more known or send visitors to a certain site.

To advertise using display ads, the usual method is to register on a platform like Google Ads. Your ads will then show up on various websites within the Google network.

Social Media Ads

Using social media is a great way to promote your business. More than half of people believe that social media affects what they decide to buy.

Each platform may have its own details, but all major social media sites offer paid advertising.


Maybe you’ve noticed that after checking out a product online, ads for it keep popping up everywhere you go on the internet.

This ad strategy is called retargeting, and you can use it too. Various ad platforms, like Facebook and Google Ads, offer retargeting. Some retargeting ads focus on people who visit your website, while others aim at your social media followers or contacts.

Influencer Marketing

Collaborating with influencers can be seen as a form of paid advertising. It often involves paying influencers to make paid content about your business.

Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate, also known as an affiliate marketer, is someone who promotes your brand through their website, social media, or email list. The affiliate gets paid when their promotion leads to a sale.

For example, imagine the affiliate has a successful blog. They write a blog post about your product and add a link to your website. Whenever someone clicks the link and buys something, the affiliate marketer earns a commission.

What Are the Best Paid Advertising Networks?

Uncertain about where to begin with sponsored advertising? Give one of these well-liked advertising platforms a shot.

Google Ads

Google ads are famous for their search ads, giving you a chance to show up at the top when people search for common phrases.

But that’s not all.

There are different types of ads:

  • Display ads.
  • Video ads (shown on YouTube and other video sites).
  • App ads (promoting app installs, engagement, and signups).
  • Shopping ads (highlighting online and local products at the top of the search results).
  • Local ads (encouraging people to visit nearby businesses and places).

Facebook Ads

Google and Facebook are currently the most popular pay-per-click networks.

Facebook Ads show up all over the Facebook network, including on Facebook and Instagram feeds, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Messenger, and more. Apart from apps owned by Facebook, specific ads also appear on websites in the Facebook Audience Network.

Microsoft Ads

The Microsoft Ads network lets you create search ads for Bing, Yahoo, and AOL, along with ads for other Microsoft sites.

While Microsoft might not be as widespread as Google, one benefit is that there’s less competition, and often, a lower cost-per-click for similar phrases.

Other Social Media Ads

Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, and other social media platforms all display ads.

The best choice for your business depends on the people you want to reach. A B2B brand, for instance, might do well on LinkedIn, while a brand targeting younger audiences could find benefits on TikTok.

9 Top Online Advertising Best Practices

Using paid ads can bring in a lot more than you invest – if you do it right. Follow these nine best practices to get the best results.

1. Define Your Goal

Before you choose where to put your ads, it’s essential to understand your goals.

For example, do you want to reach more people or get the best results for your money?

You can use search or shopping ads to sell more, and display or video ads to make more people aware of your brand. Your goals will also affect what your ads say and who sees them.

2. Know Your Ad Types

Every advertising platform offers various types of ads, with some being more popular than others. For example, you’ve probably come across the regular Google search ad that has a link to the brand’s website.

But what if you don’t want to get people to visit your website, but instead, you want them to call your company? In that case, you can use a call-only ad. These ads show up on mobile devices and let users tap on your ad to call you straight from the search results page.

Before you start creating ads on any platform, it’s crucial to know the different types of ads. If you don’t do your research, you might choose an ad type that isn’t right for your goals.

3. Create Hyper-Targeted Audiences

One-quarter advertisers in 2021 (24.6% share) identified their biggest pain point in online advertising is finding proper targeting.

Finding the right audience might not be simple, but it’s important. Precise targeting increases the chances that your ad will connect with its intended audience, making it more likely that people will click on it and take action.

Hyper-targeting involves creating personalized ads for specific groups. For example, if your company sells outdoor gear, you wouldn’t use the same ad language for everyone. Instead, you’d create one ad for young cyclists and another for middle-aged skiers.

4. Build Optimized Landing Pages

Many types of ads that you pay for will lead people to your website. The page you guide them to is as important as the words in the ad.

Imagine this: someone looks up “cost of custom neon sign” on Google. The first ad they see is for your custom neon sign business.

But, when they click on the ad, they end up on your homepage, which doesn’t answer their question. So, they leave. If the ad had taken them to a specific page about neon signs or even a page with prices, you could have gained a new customer.

Make different pages for each group of ads so that each one is right for the people seeing it.

5. Feature High-Quality Images or Video

Ensure that the pictures or videos you use in your ads are high quality and attractive. They should relate to the ad and the people it’s meant for.

Think about how big the image is – if the ad will be small, don’t try to fit too much into one picture.

6. Choose Keywords Wisely

Doing good keyword research is really important for search ads and other ads that use keywords.

Don’t Forget the Long-Tail Keyword.

Specific phrases with a few words, called long-tail keywords, are highly specialized. Instead of a brief term like ‘herbal tea,’ a more detailed phrase such as ‘Best herbal tea for high blood pressure’ has a longer tail.

These longer phrases are not as competitive as shorter ones (meaning you may spend less per click), but they are highly relevant to the individuals searching for them.

Use Negative Keywords.

A negative keyword is a word that prevents your ad from showing up when people search for it.

A helpful negative keyword is “free.” If your product doesn’t have a free version, you wouldn’t want your ad to show up when people search for a “free time-tracking app.”

After your ads are live, you’ll probably see that some keywords work much better than others. You can add the underperforming ones to your list of negative keywords.

7. Pick The Right Bidding Strategy

PPC advertising often involves bidding. This means you get to decide how much you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad.

If your bid is lower than your competitors, your ad won’t be shown as much. But if you bid too high, you might end up paying more for clicks than needed.

Each platform has different bidding tactics. Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer automatic and manual bidding options. With Facebook Ads, you can ask it to focus on valuable conversions or the lowest cost-per-click.

Take a look at the bidding methods on each site and choose the one that fits your goals the best.

8. Set Up Conversion Tracking

The better you can keep an eye on things, the more you can optimize.

Many ad platforms give you info on things like how many times people see your ads and how often they click on them. But to make your ads work the best, you also need to keep an eye on the actions people take on your website after seeing the ads. This helps you figure out which ads make people do what.

You can do this by adding tags or “pixels” to your website. This helps you see your conversions and where they come from, either in Google Analytics or the ad platform’s analytics.

9. Keep Experimenting and Optimizing

Paid ads are not something you can set and forget.

Keep an eye on how well your ads are doing and make changes as necessary. Don’t be afraid to try new things or run tests to figure out which ads give the best results.

Wrapping Up

We get it – it might seem like a bunch of info to absorb. But with a bit of research and a good plan, you can easily create a paid marketing campaign that shows results you can measure. Many paid ad networks highlight how simple they are to use and that you can do it yourself.

Sure, you can plan, do, and handle your own sponsored marketing campaign. But if you want the best results and make your budget go far, it’s smart to get advice from a reliable expert.

At GREAT Guest Posts, we’re here to help you make a budget that works and a solid plan. We can also help create eye-catching ads and messages that increase how many people take action. Want to learn more? Reach out to us today!

Christopher Smith
Author: Christopher Smith

SEO and linkbuilding expert. More than 7 years of work in the field of website search engine optimization, specialist in backlink promotion. Head of linkbuilding products at GREAT Guest Posts, a global linkbuilding platform. He regularly participates in SEO conferences and also hosts webinars dedicated to website optimization, working with various marketing tools, strategies and trends of backlink promotion.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *