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Ecommerce Advertising Options, DTC 101: Drive More Affordable Traffic

E-commerce advertising strategies are one of the most effective, efficient methods for generating traffic for e-commerce businesses…if you know how to use them properly. This guide will explain the different e-commerce advertising options, when to use them, and the top tools available for each. We’ll also cover some basic tips for using these tools effectively.

How Ecommerce Advertising Works

Advertising works by targeting specific keywords that are relevant to your brand or products. When someone searches for those terms in Google, they see an ad from your company. The ads can be displayed as text links, images, videos, or even audio. They can appear at the top of search results, within the organic listings, or on other websites.

Ecommerce advertising is essential to growing any business. These days, more people than ever before are shopping online. And with so many shoppers searching for what you sell, there are plenty of opportunities to make money from their visits.

Top Ecommerce Advertising Tools

There are several ways to advertise on the web. Some work better than others depending on your budget and goals. Check out the rest of this article for some of the best options for ecommerce advertisers. 

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Yates Jarvis

Principal, Charleston

Specialty Advertising Tools & Networks You Should Know in 2022

Advertisers are always looking for new ways to connect with their target audiences. With the rise of new technology, innovative advertisers tapped into specialty advertising tools and networks to expand their reach without losing focus on their target demographics.

Some of these options include:

  • Social media platforms allow advertisers to connect with customers and prospects, expand brand messaging, and participate in quality conversations with their audience.
  • Digital marketing networks partner advertising teams with new venues and publishers offering cost-effective solutions without compromising the company’s reach.
  • Display advertising networks give advertisers direct access to consumers via mobile devices while they’re watching TV or browsing the web.
  • Video advertising networks provide interactive experiences that are more engaging and appealing than traditional display ads.

Companies can choose from several platforms, but these are three of the top options offering a range of video ads, digital ads, and access to multiple marketing channels.

Tatari

Tatari is an innovative TV advertising platform that aims to revolutionize the industry by blending data science with TV advertising to create more effective campaigns. The team focuses on using data and analytics to determine the best avenues for TV and streaming service ads. This process translates to a digital-like experience for businesses.

Not only can businesses maintain a local presence on local stations, but they can also branch out to streaming services to tap into a new consumer base. Tatari even offers a demo to explain what makes their platform a game-changer. 

Highlights:

  • Evens the playing field for small and medium-sized businesses
  • Wide range of tracking and analytics to provide insights into each impression 
  • Partners with major services, including NBC, Comcast, Roku, CNNGo, DirectTV, Fubo, Sling, Twitch, and Hulu. 

Taboola

Taboola is a content discovery platform that cultivates feeds based on each user’s interests. When publishers and advertisers submit their content the platform matches it with user interests for a mutually beneficial system. The platform makes 500,000 recommendations per second and has more than 500 million users log on daily.

Additionally, Taboola provides multiple case studies, best practices, webinars, and ebooks to help advertisers and publishers craft quality content. The team posts creative trends and partners with marketing gurus to keep the platform current.

Highlights:

  • Monetize content knowing it will reach the right audience.
  • The proprietary algorithms allow businesses to target specific demographics.
  • Allows publishers to track how their content is performing on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.
  • Taboola provides multiple tools to support companies as they craft campaigns.
  • Publishers cannot control what ads are shown on their website or app because it’s based on algorithms.

TheTradeDesk

TheTradeDesk is an all-in-one marketing automation platform that helps marketers reach audiences anywhere in the world. This cost-effective platform provides various tools for managing campaigns and tracking their performance. Over 1,000 American and Canadian brands use TheTradeDesk, including some of the world’s most notable companies, like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Ford Motor Company.

This platform represents modern marketing at its finest because it leverages data to increase brand messaging and essentially opens the internet to reach more people. TheTradeDesk allows businesses to plan campaigns, track data, and refocus efforts based on updated information. 

Highlights:

  • Partners with key providers, including ABC, Hulu, ESPN, Disney, BBC, Major League Baseball, Spotify, and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Easy-to-use interface that makes it easy to manage multiple campaigns.
  • Offers one of the most comprehensive educational catalogs available.
Search Advertising for Ecommerce Photo Finger Touching Search Icon

Search Advertising

Search advertising is a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website. It’s one of the most cost-effective online advertising solutions because it puts a brand in front of viable prospects.

What is Search Advertising?

Search advertising is one of the most popular forms of online advertising. It’s a digital marketing approach that allows companies to pay to appear on search engine results and web pages that relate to their Ecommerce business. For example, a store that sells pet accessories pays to appear at the top of search engine results for various related keywords. paid advertisements on search engines to drive traffic to websites.

Search advertising evolves with current trends, meaning that marketing teams should keep tabs on ads and refresh as needed based on data. It’s also not as successful with some industries as it is with others, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on industry trends before committing too much to a search ad campaign. 

Why use Search Advertising?

Search advertising has been around for a long time, but it has only recently become more popular. The rise in mobile usage and the shift from desktop to mobile browsing triggered the shift and increased conversion rates.

The main reason to invest in search advertising is the return on investment (ROI). For most industries, it offers the best ROI when compared with other forms of digital marketing such as social media or email marketing. For instance, the average ROI on Google Ads is a staggering 100% with every dollar spent on Google ads yielding approximately two dollars.

Search Advertising Networks

Search advertising networks are groups of sites that appear in the same search results. Advertising in those networks allows brand ads to appear with other results. 

Working with search advertising networks allows marketers to reach specific audiences in more ways without creating multiple different ads. For example, if somebody searches for a flower shop near them, a florist’s ad might appear on the Maps and Shopping lists as well as the general search results.

Google Ads

Google Ads is one of the most popular online advertising platforms. After all, how many times do people “Google it” in a day? Googling information is so popular that Google tracks and publishes current and yearly trends for anybody to see, to the tune of some eight billion searches per day! Businesses can get a piece of that action with Google Ads.

Advertisement on Google’s SERPs is one of the most widely used forms of digital marketing by companies worldwide. Google Ads is just the most popular advertising platform, it’s also one of the most cost-effective as noted above.

Highlights:

  • Easy to set up and manage.
  • Target specific audiences with Google AdWords.
  • Track campaigns in real-time with Google Analytics.
  • Create and personalize ads that resonate with your target audience.

MS Ads / Bing

Microsoft Ads allows advertising teams to reach customers using Bing, AOL, Yahoo, and more. It is a powerful tool that uses search engine marketing (SEM) by means of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Bing ads reach an entirely different demographic of users, and while Microsoft platforms don’t have as many users, it’s still a viable option for many companies.

The platform is intuitive and features multiple tools to help measure and analyze results. It’s easy to create and manage multiple ads, and you can use existing Google Ads on Microsoft’s platform. Plus, it’s possible to choose where your ads run. 

Highlights:

  • Easy to set up and user-friendly interface
  • Offers an extensive range of ad-creation features
  • Provides analytics for each campaign to help advertisers understand how they perform
  • Wide range of formats, including video advertising, display, mobile, social media marketing, and native advertising
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Display Advertising

Display advertising represents a more visual approach with a heavy focus on graphics, video, and audio elements. It can take many forms, including banner ads, video ads, and native ads. Digital advertising is ideal for increasing brand awareness and encouraging quality customer engagement.

What Is Display Advertising?

Display advertising relies on video and audio elements to deliver promotional messages or information to consumers. The ads typically appear on websites and social media platforms as editorial content. Digital ads attract attention from users who may not have otherwise been exposed to the advertiser’s message.

Display advertising is similar to search advertising and it’s common to link the two in an ecommerce marketing strategy. However, the approach is slightly different because search ads appear to people looking for designated keywords while display ads show up based on other criteria, like past searches and interests. 

Aside from reaching current customers, display ads appear as part of the product feed for people who express interest in similar things. The dynamic product ads attract their attention and drive traffic to the company’s desired site, either the general website or a special page for a specific product or event.

Why Use Display Advertising?

Display advertising is ideal for businesses that have visual products or brands that grab attention. It’s an excellent way to reach new prospects who don’t know they need your product or service yet. Display advertising is also cost-effective and easy to measure success by the number of clicks, views, impressions, and conversions.

Display Advertising Networks

Display advertising networks (DANs) function like search advertising networks. They are groups of platforms that team up to feature dynamic product ads. Additionally, display networks provide various tools and services for advertisers, including ad serving, ad targeting, analytics, and reporting. 

Some of the most popular DANs include Google Adsense, Apple Advertising, Yahoo! Network, and Facebook Network Audience Ads. These networks can reach most worldwide internet users, over 90% according to Google.

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Amazon Advertising

Amazon is a worldwide giant, meaning that its advertising platform can help businesses reach a massive audience. Plus, it is cost-effective, easy to set up, and versatile with multiple solutions to meet any brand’s needs, such as product listing ads and sponsored products.

What Is Amazon Advertising?

Amazon Advertising has been around since the early 2000s, but it has only recently become popular with the rise of e-commerce. Amazon advertising is now one of the most popular advertising platforms in the world, capable of reaching over 300 million users worldwide as they shop, watch, play, listen, and read.

Further, Amazon Advertising allows advertisers to create personalized ads, making it easier to reach their target audience and increase sales without blowing the budget on marketing campaigns. The Amazon Advertising platform also provides analytics that track ad performance and guide improvements. 

Why Use Amazon Advertising?

Amazon Advertising gives you access to millions of users across multiple platforms and devices. Plus, Amazon is an established and trusted brand, so advertising on its platforms allows you to tap into that level of trust. It’s an effective, efficient way for any business to reach its target demographic. 

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Social Advertising

Social advertising relies on the power of social networks to spread brand awareness. It’s most common on social media platforms to reach out to potential customers. 

What Is Social Advertising?

Social advertising focuses on building relationships with communities. It’s like modern-day word of mouth and relies heavily on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. 

While the ultimate goal is to generate viable leads and make sales, it uses a roundabout approach. Companies share content to build brand awareness and trust with the target audience. 

For example, a company has a new product coming out and wants to create buzz. The marketing team crafts a campaign that’s in line with the company brand and highlights the new product’s key features to get people talking about it. As part of the campaign, the company might give samples to a social media influencer to discuss their customer experience on their social channels. 

Why Use Social Advertising?

Think of social media advertising as conversations leading to conversions. Instead of bombarding potential customers with ads, social advertising builds a conversation around the ads and highlights aspects that appeal to their buyer personas. 

The company relies on social proof, like other users and influencers, to do the sales work for them. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and extends beyond an individual product or service by raising awareness of the entire company.

Social Advertising Networks

Social advertising networks are social media platforms and groups that permit advertising. Businesses can reach users on each specific platform, though some brands own multiple platforms. For example, Facebook owns Instagram though they are separate social media platforms with different advertising options.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads have many benefits, but the most important one is that they can target specific audiences. Marketing teams can set ads to target certain demographics, like age, location, and behaviors. 

Segmenting the audience this way allows businesses to avoid wasting money on the wrong people. It also means that you can create ads for different groups and set them for optimal times.

Highlights:

  • Easily reach your target audience by setting parameters on the ad.
  • Ads are easy to build and manage.
  • Choose where you drive traffic based on the campaign.

Instagram Ads

Instagram is an excellent platform for e-commerce advertising because it’s an extremely visual way to share products and services with followers. It also provides an opportunity for businesses to reach out to new customers through influencers.

Though Facebook owns Instagram, the advertising platform is an entirely different experience focused on photos and video snippets. Plus, many people embraced Instagram shopping for finding everything from clothing and accessories to electronics and games.

Highlights:

  • Target specific audiences and demographics.
  • Instagram shopping trends are on the rise with more people seeking new products and services.
  • Increase brand awareness and build trust, especially with influencer marketing.

TikTok Ads

TikTok exploded during the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing. In 2021, TikTok surpassed Google to become the top platform in the world. It’s a literal haven for brand awareness and influencer marketing with impressive advertising performance. 

The platform reports one billion users per month, meaning access to a massive market that’s hungry for content. Though TikTok videos used to be short snippets, around 15 seconds, the platform recently expanded the maximum length to 10 minutes, giving companies and influencers plenty of room to showcase anything and everything.

Highlights:

  • Easy to use and understand for both newbies and experts.
  • Wide range of content categories
  • Entertaining and fresh, making it appealing to multiple age groups.
  • With fairly lax restrictions on how long videos can be and no limit on how many videos can be created in one day, it can be challenging to keep up.

Twitter Ads

Twitter is founded on the premise of interaction and it’s a platform that complements many other marketing options. Twitter Ads have been available for a while but only recently gained traction when the platform made it easier for e-commerce companies to advertise on their platform. 

Twitter is all about building brand awareness and carrying out conversations, important and otherwise, making it ideal for launching products and getting feedback. While it might not be as fun-loving as TikTok, Twitter encourages and rewards quick, witty responses. If your team has a member who’s talented with one-liners, this might be the ideal platform for your next campaign.

Highlights:

  • Reach out to your target audience with ease
  • Generate leads and sales while increasing brand awareness
  • Engage with your followers on a personal level

Reddit Ads

Reddit might not be the first social media platform to turn to for advertising, but it attracts a wide variety of users. The platform fosters general boards but features a plethora of niche boards, or subreddits. 

Companies can target demographics by advertising on appropriate subreddit boards. Plus, the audience can upvote and downvote ads to provide feedback about how effective and relevant it is to the board.

Additionally, the company offers self-serve ads that cost significantly less than many other platforms. Marketing teams bid against others to get face time with users instead of committing thousands to advertising on the platform.

Highlights:

  • Ideal place to find new customers for your business
  • Target niche audiences through subreddit boards
  • Gain feedback from users about the quality of ads
  • Limited reach compared to other platforms

Ad Network Spotlight

Global e-commerce sales reached $4.9 billion in 2021 and are expected to surpass $7 billion by 2025. Those numbers make e-commerce advertising a lucrative business with infinite room to grow. The industry’s growth led to multiple ad networks vying for a chance to help you grow your business, including the following high-profile platforms.

AdRoll

AdRoll is a digital advertising platform that helps businesses to advertise their products and services. One of AdRoll’s primary selling points is that the company likes to target “runaways” who abandon carts or bounce from the site for no apparent reason. 

The platform employs various remarketing tools to bring those potential shoppers back to the table, including display ads, emails, and social media marketing. Plus, it’s easy to manage campaigns, track performance, and measure ROI.

AdRoll has helped over 1 million businesses since 2007, and it is one of the most popular advertising platforms in the world, with over 2 billion impressions per month. 

Highlights:

  • A wide range of targeting options.
  • Track performance metrics and measure ROI.
  • Offers a free trial and free version.
  • The user interface could use some improvement.

Criteo

Criteo focuses on display marketing to support businesses with building and scaling. They offer various services, including advertising, analytics, and content marketing. Criteo caters to businesses of all sizes, from small companies to massive enterprises.

Technology takes a front seat with Criteo because the company embraced AI to create a mirror audience, formulate product recommendations, and even utilize predictive bidding. The platform helps companies reach their ideal shoppers based on interests and behavior data, then craft an ad campaign for that niche.

Highlights:

  • AI-driven analytics provide better insight into customer behavior.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Offers dynamic remarketing options to bring buyers back to your store.
  • Limited guidance or explanation about new features.

Skai (Formerly Kenshoo)

Skai, formerly known as Kenshoo, offers a suite of digital marketing services to help companies reach their goals. The platform leverages AI-technology to analyze data and predict trends to create optimal campaigns for each client’s business. 

The user-friendly interface includes an account overview and access to quick analytics so that marketing teams work smarter, not harder. Plus, the campaign creation and tracking is intuitive and comprehensive.

Highlights:

  • Multi-channel advertising options
  • Campaigns driven by current data and AI analytics
  • Real-time experimentation to test campaigns
  • It could use more audit tools and parameters for better customization

OutBrain

Outbrain is a content discovery platform specializing in native advertising. The platform finds space in digital publications and plugs client ads into relevant spaces so that it’s seen by the people who want the product now. 

Outbrain works with publishers and advertisers to the benefit of all parties involved. Publishers can monetize their site and advertisers can reach their target demographic. For example, Outbrain might partner a company that sells crafting supplies with a crafting publication or website. 

Highlights:

  • Costs less than most other platforms because it focuses on niche markets.
  • Reach relevant consumers and make more conversions.
  • Access more platforms, including social media outlets.

Magnite (Formerly the Rubicon Project)

Magnite, formerly known as the Rubicon Project, is an independent advertising platform that connects businesses with a global marketplace. The company works with publishers and advertisers to support both sides of the industry. 

The main driver for Magnite is moving unused or stagnate inventory by finding markets that want it. Plus, you can track the status of ads, in real-time to make adjustments as needed and adapt to changing trends.

Highlights:

  • Automated services to streamline parts of the process for more efficient campaigns.
  • Real-time data and analytics show how ads are performing.
  • Global engagement opportunities.

Mediaocean

Mediaocean is an e-commerce advertising platform that helps marketers create consumer-centric campaigns and proliferate them across multiple channels. Companies gain access to a global network and join popular companies, like GM, CVS, Mastercard, and Microsoft.

The platform offers end-to-end service to streamline and manage media insights and finances for every marketing campaign. That means businesses can build and run campaigns and settle up with vendors through one platform.

Highlights:

  • Comprehensive system that’s helpful for long-term, large scale campaigns.
  • Extensive analytics and reporting options.
  • Flexible solutions adapt to multiple industries. 
  • The software has a learning curve, especially for novices.
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Retargeting Advertising

Did you know that return visitors are more apt to make a purchase than first-timers? That means something drew those buyers back to the ecommerce store and convinced them to make the purchase. There’s a good chance that retargeting advertising played a role in the conversion. 

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting pursues people who visited an ecommerce store but failed to convert for some reason. It’s like a little nudge to return to your store with a reminder about why the person liked your brand and wanted to purchase something from your business. 

At first glance, this approach allows businesses to target potential customers who previously visited their website. The campaign sends paid ads via social media platforms based on what the customer previously viewed. Retargeting is about more than making a sale, it’s about building brand loyalty and drawing in repeat customers. 

Note that remarketing is a similar concept that targets former customers to draw them back to the brand. It’s a strategy focused on emails with special offers to entice people to become repeat customers.

Why use Retargeting?

Retargeting is extremely effective as part of a long-term advertising solution. Companies who see at least 100 unique visitors each month can benefit from retargeting strategies. Use it to launch a new product, promote popular products, and move stagnant inventory by running a promotion. 

Retargeting Networks

Retargeting networks support companies in their efforts to draw first-time visitors back to their site and convert them to customers. They use analytics and reporting to identify which people visited but did not make a purchase and what they viewed. That information then becomes a personalized ad that pops up in the individual’s feed the next time they scroll through social media. Some of the most popular retargeting networks Google Ads, Adroll, and Facebook.

Affiliate Networks Concept Ecommerce Advertising Illustration People on Platforms

Affiliate Advertising / P2P Affiliates

Affiliate advertising is another spin on the traditional “word of mouth” sales pitches from the time before we had the internet. Instead of telling their neighbors or book club or knitting circle about what products they love, affiliates recommend them via emails or social media. 

What is Affiliate Advertising?

Affiliate advertising, also known as affiliate marketing, is a process in which an advertiser pays a commission to a third party for each sale the third party makes. The third-party, usually referred to as an affiliate, refers the advertiser’s product to their followers and receives a commission from any resulting sales.

Why use Affiliate Advertising?

Affiliate marketing is a low-budget, low-risk, limited effort strategy that delivers a notable return on investment. Additionally, it’s one of the best ways to build brand loyalty because people tend to follow the advice of trusted friends and influencers.

Affiliate Advertising Networks

Affiliate advertising networks serve as go-betweens to facilitate the relationship between marketers and affiliates. There are many options, though many platforms specialize in certain industries. Here are some of the top platforms and what they have to offer.

Rakuten

Rakuten is a platform that reaches millions of people and works with some of the top retailers in the world. The platform collects data and delivers personalized suggestions to each of its followers, which could include your brand. 

Highlights:

  • Data-driven analytics ensure your brand goes to the ideal customers.
  • Access to millions of customers looking to make purchases.
  • Transparent analytics and insights with suggested strategies.
  • Some aspects are not user-friendly and get confusing.

Refersion

Refersion is an influencer and affiliate marketing platform that partners brands with the right voices to help them sell more products. The platform allows marketing teams to track all affiliate clicks and conversions, and then pay them from one place. It’s easy to automate several aspects of the process, access analytics, and deliver performance reports to partners.

Highlights:

  • Reach your target audience with the right message at the right time.
  • Works with major ecommerce platforms and related tools.
  • Enterprise level includes custom support and solutions.
  • Cross-device tracking isn’t possible.

Impact

Impact is another platform that helps businesses manage their affiliates. Brands receive a host of services, including influencers, affiliate marketing, mobile partnerships, and fraud protection. Plus, the platform is user-friendly and provides a wide range of analytics and reports to refine affiliate needs.

Highlights:

  • Wide range of advertisers and publishers.
  • Can target specific demographics and track ad performance in real-time.
  • Create custom, optimized landing pages.
  • It’s not always easy to locate newer brands on the platform.

AWIN

AWIN is a leading affiliate advertising network with more than 21,000 advertisers and over 240,000 publishers across multiple industries. The platform has a global reach and a user-friendly interface. Advertisers partner with a specialist to manage their account and make sure everything measures up.

Highlights:

  • A dedicated team that will help you with your marketing needs.
  • Multiple tools and resources to support marketing teams.
  • Reach out to millions of potential customers.
  • Pricing options could be more transparent.

Ecommerce Advertising Simplified with an Ecommerce Expert

If you’re just getting started with online marketing or want to improve your current strategy, it can seem like there are too many choices and too much information to sort through. But if you work with an expert who knows what he or she is doing, you’ll find yourself well-informed and ready to take advantage of new opportunities. Before you start any campaign, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase sales at any cost? Improve conversion rates? Or maybe you simply want to increase awareness. Once you understand this, you can create a plan to meet these goals.

DTC e-commerce is a booming industry, but it’s difficult to scale and maintain customer loyalty. It’s easy to over-commit to marketing campaigns and lose focus on the product, often due to a lack of resources and analytics. That’s why it’s important to find the best tool for your business. The above list should provide you with enough information to choose the right platform for your needs. Want to dig in deeper to sequence the right creative in the right channels for the right audience? Reach out to us today- we’d love to help!

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