Online Advertising: Making the Most of Your Voice & Dollars

megaphoneYou’ve carefully crafted each and every aspect of your content strategy. You present a cohesive brand image that is unmistakably you. Your steady voice and aesthetic is reassuring.

It gives people confidence that you are legitimate.

You know what you’re doing.

You’ve got it together.

But why do so many brands let their carefully composed image fall to shambles when it comes to advertising? Though there are “rules” to writing PPC ads, the rules don’t necessitate that you lose focus of your brand image.

Here’s how to keep your image together (and costs within reason) while advertising online…

Advertising on Facebook

Facebook might know you better than many of your casual friends. The other day, for example, Facebook suggested some books to me. I was surprised how accurate they were with their recommendations: I had read 19 of their first 20 recommendations! And, for the most part, I really enjoyed them. (As one blogger puts it, “Facebook reveals just how ‘depressingly stereotypical’ your life probably is.”)

There are two types of advertisements on Facebook.

  1. Ads that encourage users to ‘Like’ a Facebook page.
  2. CPM/CPC ads that link to the advertiser’s website.

Cost: $1 per day and up. Of course, spending just $2 isn’t going to get your ad in front of very many eyes at all. Here’s how advertising works on Facebook: You determine a daily or lifetime budget. That budget allows you to pay the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) and/or the cost per click (CPC). The minimum cost per click is $0.01. (See Facebook’s Q&A on campaigns and budgeting for more information.)

Voice: Many of us have become totally desensitized to Facebook ads. (A disillusioned online media buyer discusses this in more depth on Forbes.) So, if you aren’t totally turned off by the sea of voices on Facebook, you need to make sure yours is strong – which, by the way, doesn’t mean you’re trying to sell, sell, sell!

Here’s what most advertisers don’t think about when it comes to Facebook advertising… you are a disruptive force. In other words, when advertising on Facebook, you, the advertiser, are jumping into the middle of a conversation amongst friends. For this reason, advertising on Facebook is quite different than advertising on AdWords, in magazines, on the radio, etc. Be conscious of this fact when you translate your brand’s voice into Facebook advertising.

Is it worth it? Ultimately, only you can answer that question. Trial and error is a part of just about any advertising campaign. Experiment with Facebook advertising to see if it works for you. Get more information on Facebook advertising here.

Advertising in AdWords

AdWords is the official Google ad program. Marketers create their own advertisements. Google displays them to relevant users, and then the advertiser pays a price for every click.

Cost: Similar to Facebook, pricing for AdWords is all over the map. Your maximum CPC might be just $0.20, depending on the keyword. The downside, however, is that as your advertisement becomes more successful, Google will increase the per-click cost. (Read a story about how this happened to a small business owner.)

Oh, and hopefully, you aren’t trying to compete for ‘insurance’, ‘loans’, or ‘mortgage’, the three most expensive keywords on Google!

Voice: ‘Voice’ isn’t as important on AdWords as it is on Facebook and other social networks. However, you still want to be sure that your company’s personality comes through in the advertisement. Check out these AdWords ads, which provide good examples of voice and originality.

Is it worth it? Again, you’ll find out through trial and error. Google is always offering coupons of some sort to entice business owners to sign up. Currently, they have a coupon for $75 of additional advertising when you spend $25. For more information on AdWords advertising, see Google’s resource hub.

What’s your take on online advertising? How do you maintain your brand’s voice through the experience?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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