Want to get noticed online? Paying for online advertising can help you cut through all the "noise" on the internet. The great thing about online advertising is that it can be more targeted to a specific audience. This means you’ll be able reach the right people easier.
Wait! Make sure you’re familiar with the Advertising guidelines
Before going any further, make sure you’re familiar with the guidelines for regulated health services. These are specific to your industry and must be adhered to.
How is online advertising different to traditional media?
If you’ve taken out an advert in your local paper, it's hard to know how successful it was. This means you can’t be confident that the right people are seeing your ad. Another issue is that your local paper may only come out once a week and your ad is tucked away at the back amidst other ads.
Online advertising is a lot different. This is because websites and services can capture data about who uses their services. This means they can often offer better targeting and return on investment for advertisers.
For example, you can choose to only advertise to:
- people who live in your local area,
- who are aged between 18-25,
- and are interested in sport.
This means that you can be more confident the ads you’re paying for are reaching the right audience.
Where can you advertise online?
Most major websites and social networks have advertising options for businesses. Each one is differenr so it’s best to get started with websites that you know your target audience uses. Generally, Google and Facebook will be the starting point for many.
How does online advertising work?
Online advertising works in two main ways.
- You can advertise on a specific website through their advertising programs. Google has their 'Adwords' program which works on their search results and other websites. Facebook has their Business Ad program which lets you advertise. Large websites like these have a lot of users and a lot of targeting data.
- You can advertise on an advertising network for your ads to appear on other websites. Some websites (e.g. news sites, blogs etc) have ads on their website supplied by an advertising network. They receive revenue when someone clicks on these ads. If you create an ad with the advertising network (e.g. Google), it may appear on a website using their service. The owners of the websites will tell the ad network what their website is about and the ad network will display appropriate ads.
- Some websites have advertising options available where you can negotiate with them directly.
What should we consider when advertising online?
1) Is your audience online?
The reality is that not everyone is online. For example, if you want to communicate with people over 65, advertising on Facebook may not be effective. But, if you want to target stay-at home parents, it could be a great place to start.
2) Planning is crucial
If you’re paying for advertising space, you want to make sure you get the best return on investment. Optimise your ads through good visuals and good copy, fit for the ad space you're given. You may even want to test different types of ads, images or text to see which performs the best.
3) Have a clear message and call-to-action
When advertising, it’s important that your viewers are compelled to take action. Simply putting your logo and phone number on an ad may not be enough. Make sure your ad has a compelling reason for people to click it.
4) Measuring outcomes takes effort
Measuring your ads' performance will help you improve and understand your return on investment. Make sure you have your measuring tools set up and that you have time to monitor how your ad performs. Google Analytics is a good starting point, along with any tools you're provided with. Setting up tracking codes, website goals and comparing click rates can all take time. But, done well, you will be able to see the benefits of your online activities.
Further Reading Online
Here are some online resources that can help you understand and plan online advertising for your practice: