Online Advertising for the Trade Industry: A Plain English Guide

Online advertising needs a clear strategy in order to achieve success for your business. Think initially about your customer base, ie. who is using your service, what do they want or value, and what products or services are they currently using?

You can find the answers to these questions by speaking to your existing customers and finding out how they found out about your service and what exactly turned them into paying customers.

Although word of mouth is of course, extremely important in the trade industry, gaining exposure online will help people find you easier, engage with you on a human level and leave great feedback for the whole world to see.

As online advertising moves so fast, you need a good grasp of the main digital platforms you can use to catapult your business online. That is why we have created this guide, outlining the basics to get you started.

Let's Get Social

Social advertising is a great tool and comes in numerous forms and channels. Social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn are particularly popular amongst businesses and consumers. Each platform will have different types of ads, as well as different rates for use.

  • Twitter: There are two ways you can advertise on Twitter. You can either get a promoted account or promoted tweets to target new and existing customers. Promoted accounts allow your company to target new followers based on the followers you already have.

    Your company name would show up on Twitter users’ “Who to Follow” category in this example. Promoted tweets however, show up right in the timeline, allowing businesses to promote their services to the right people.

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn has a few different options for company advertising, including self-service advertising where you create your own advertisements, and premium options such as Sponsored InMail which allows companies to send targeted messages to professionals related to their industry.
  • Facebook: Similarly to LinkedIn, Facebook allows businesses to run multiple versions of an ad and target them to a specific audience. Running multiple ads allows you to keep a check on what audiences respond to and what gets the best results.
  • What is PPC Advertising?

    PPC or ‘pay-per-click’ advertising is paid for by the business to the search engine each time one of their ads is clicked on. Companies essentially buy visits to their site at a usually low cost each time.

    To build a successful PPC campaign, you will need to research and select the right keywords, organise them into well-constructed campaigns and ad groups, and set up PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions. In other words, you need to put in the right formula to get people over to your site and enquiring about your services.

    Search Engine Marketing

    Search Engine Marketing, also known as SEM, is a popular way for businesses to promote themselves on the search engine results pages. This type of advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC.

    Search page results come in two different ways. They are either paid for by companies or are organic.

  • Paid: Paid or sponsored advertisements are the ads you see above and along the right hand side of the search results. The ads that appear are based off the keywords and topics that are searched for and are targeted towards specific demographics. Advertisers bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches for a keyword that related to their services.
  • Organic: You can increase your organic visibility by working on your company website. This can include adding links, improving URLs and updating website content.
  • Google AdWords

    As the most popular PPC advertising system in the world, the AdWords platform allows you to create ads that appear on Google’s search engine and other Google properties.

    Operating on a pay-per-click model, users bid on keywords and pay for each click on their ads. AdWords advertisers are in competition with each other as each time a search is initiated, Google selects the ads that will appear on the page.

    Google will take into account the quality of the keywords and campaigns, as well as the size of the keyword bids of the advertiser when choosing which ads to appear.

    Appearing on the page is also down to the advertiser’s Ad Rank, a metric calculated by multiplying two key factors. These are the CPS Bid, which is the highest amount and advertiser will spend, and the Quality Score, which is a value that considers your click-through-rate, relevance and landing page quality.

    Find out more about Google Adwords by visiting the official website.


    Here are just a few terms to familiarise yourself with to help you on your journey to digital advertising excellence! :-

  • Ad Impression – This is a single ad placement on a page that is available for purchase by demand partners
  • CPA/CPL – Cost-per-action or cost-per-lead is some type of action that has resulted from the display of the ad
  • CPC – Cost-per-click is the amount paid every time someone clicks on an ad
  • CPM – Cost-per-milli is the amount paid for every 1,000 qualifying impressions served
  • Bounce Rate – This is the % of users that visit a page on your site and then leave in a short time frame without visiting another page
  • Pageview – A pageview is created every time a webpage loads
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