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illustration of a blog post: Answers to 7 Paid Ads Questions You Are Afraid to Ask
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Paid Media 8 min read

Answers to 7 Paid Ads Questions You Are Afraid to Ask

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Rachel Meyer photo

Expert reviewed by Rachel Meyer

Associate VP of Client Success @ Galactic Fed

Published 23 Nov 2022

It’s estimated that there will have been $566 billion spent on digital advertising by the end of 2022. Even if your company’s advertising spending is a fraction of that amount, it could still amount to thousands of dollars monthly. If you’re going to invest that kind of money, shouldn’t you know exactly how paid ads work?

Unfortunately, people are sometimes hesitant to ask important questions about online advertising. They assume they should already know the answers or that more knowledge won’t translate to practical advantage. That’s unfortunate, as the most successful ad campaigns are built on a clear understanding. 

If you have questions about paid ads, start by perusing the answers to these seven questions.

1. What Are the Different Types of Paid Ads?

The term “paid ads” is all-encompassing and includes many different types of online advertising. Before you begin a campaign, you’ll need to decide which ones to focus on. 

Here are your primary tools:

  • Display ads appearing directly on a website
  • Remarketing ads targeting people who have already engaged with your brand
  • Local service ads allowing specific businesses to reach nearby customers
  • Paid search ads appearing above or below organic search engine results
  • Social media ads displayed on feeds or other locations on social platforms
  • Google shopping ads shown in a carousel format in search results
  • Instream ads appearing in YouTube videos

You have no shortage of options when it comes to paid advertising. The best choice for your business will depend on your goals.

2. How Does Retargeting Work?

Retargeting works by using cookies or pixels to track users who have previously interacted with a brand or product in some way. They may have:

  • Watched a video ad on social media
  • Visited a website
  • Added items to an online shopping cart
  • Clicked on a search ad
  • Made a previous purchase

These behaviors are tracked, and users who have engaged in certain activities are retargeted with future ads. Retargeting campaigns are often very specific, with ad copy designed to encourage select customers to continue the conversion process.

3. How Do Your Ads Get in Front of the Right People?

Ad targeting ensures your paid ads are seen by people who are likely to be interested in your products or services. The way this works depends on the ad platform you’re using.

For example, paid search on Google use keywords to target ads — you pay to have your ads appear in search results for specific keyword phrases. If you advertise on Instagram or Facebook, you can select detailed criteria for targeting your audience. 

Online ads may be targeted based on:

  • Previous brand interactions
  • Interests
  • Gender
  • Profession
  • Location
  • Device type
  • More

It’s important to research exactly how targeting will work for your ad campaign. You don’t want to waste time or money on ads that don’t find their way to the right people.

4. What Is the Purpose of a Landing Page? Do You Need One?

A landing page serves as the continuation of an advertisement that a prospective customer has clicked or tapped. It usually contains more details about the product, service, or offer mentioned in the ad.

If you launch a paid advertising campaign, you’ll need at least one landing page, if not several. These will continue the messaging you started in your ad and entice potential customers to convert. They should be specific and relevant to the paid ad. Generic, one-size-fits-all landing pages tend to perform poorly.

After you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll use analytics tools to track conversions and other metrics. You may need to make several small changes to your landing pages to achieve the desired results.

Advertisers often use more than one version of a landing page for comparison purposes. This is known as A/B testing. Most marketing and advertising agencies can set these tests up for you.

5. Have Ad Blockers Killed Paid Advertising?

The short answer is no. Paid advertising is still everywhere and is a viable option for brands to generate revenue. That said, ad blockers and increasing resistance to online advertising have certainly made an impact.

There are different types of ad blockers. Some work to block or filter out any type of advertising, while others may only go after aggressive ads like pop-ups. Some ad blockers allow ads to be displayed but prevent any tracking from taking place.

Ad blockers are generally intended to work for display ads. They won’t impact Google search ads and have a limited effect on social media, as sponsored posts make it difficult for ad blockers to discern organic content from sponsored ads.

6. Is It Better to Use Paid Search or Social Media Ads?

It depends entirely on your goals. Both are good ways to reach an audience, and many brands use both, often at the same time. Here are some guidelines to help you select the best option for your campaigns.

Benefits of Paid Search

A few compelling reasons to consider paid search ads include:

  • Fast results 
  • Clicks from users with high purchase intent
  • Google-driven traffic
  • High audience concentration

If you only want to target one platform, paid search may be the best choice.

Drawbacks of Paid Search

Paid searches aren’t without drawbacks. You should know about them before you invest. They include:

  • Very few targeting options
  • Cost per click can vary widely
  • Ads often attract comparison shoppers
  • Not ideal for high or mid-funnel customers
  • Limited advertising formats

If you want to connect with a specifically targeted audience or run awareness campaigns, paid search probably isn’t the best option.

Benefits of Paid Social

Paid social is another viable option. Here are several key benefits of advertising on social media:

  • Attract impulse buyers through product discovery
  • Multiple advertising formats
  • Reach audiences across the marketing funnel
  • Wide range of ad targeting options

Additionally, it’s easier to create social media advertising content that aligns with your brand and is relevant to your target audience.

Drawbacks of Paid Social

Don’t invest in paid social ads until you’ve made yourself aware of some of their downsides, which include:

  • The need to invest in multiple platforms to reach your audience
  • A lower click-thru rate for social media ads
  • The possibility that some users may see social media ads as intrusive
  • Rapid changes that can quickly make social ads irrelevant

Paid social is typically your best bet if you want a gradual approach that focuses on relationship building and awareness instead of fast conversions.

7. Isn’t SEO a Better and Less Expensive Option?

With advertising, you pay for clicks (PPC) or impressions (PPM).

The latter means that you’re charged each time your ad appears. Meanwhile, optimizing for search can be free if you DIY. Organic search results receive more clicks than paid ads.

None of these facts should lead you to dismiss paid advertising as an option. First, SEO isn’t free. Regardless of whether you pay an agency or do it yourself, there’s a significant time commitment involved.

Also, it’s inarguable that paid ads get fast results, which can be crucial if you’re a startup trying to get a new product off the ground.

Learn More About Paid Ads

When you make a point to stay informed, your ad campaigns will be more effective and you’ll receive a better ROI. You have many important decisions to make, and you need a solid understanding to make them.

If you’re interested in pursuing paid ads, schedule a free consultation with the expert team at Galactic Fed today.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed