The digital world is evolving all the time, leaving us online marketers to try and keep a pulse on where the crowd is moving. We know that online marketing is a powerful tool for attracting new leads, but finding ways to effectively get in front of people's face can be quite a tricky job.
Searching with Google
Probably the most influential change to shake up how we look at online marketing would have to be the global adoption of Google; the brand that made itself synonymous with the word 'search'.
During this past September alone there were more than 18.5 billion searches conducted from online search engines. Upward of 12.5 billion of these searches were conducted on Google alone.
With all this activity taking place on Google, it was only natural that online marketers began to gravitate to it as well.
Marketing with Google
It's all about visibility when looking to market successfully with Google.
A website without an SEO strategy is like a business card left on the side of the highway. It may do the job of saying who you are, what you do and how to reach you, but the chances of anyone ever seeing it are slim.
Even though SEO is vital, sometimes it can feel like your building your site's content in order to please Google rather than your potential leads. Not to mention that ranking for highly competitive search terms can be pretty near impossible. This is why more and more businesses are coupling their SEO strategies with a paid advertising strategy.
Paid advertising online can help your site to appear above search engine results, when ranking organically is out the question.
It can also help your site to see higher quality traffic. It has been shown that 50 percent of people clicking though to retailers' sites from paid ads are more likely to buy than those who clicked through organically.
There is only one major mistake that too many online marketers are making with their paid campaigns: they only use Google.
Ad Networks Beyond Google
It's a very common mistake to let Google monopolize your paid campaigns. They currently hold more than 73 percent of the ad network market share.
Although Google is the all-ruling master when it comes to SEO, in the world of paid advertising it's important to remember that Google's only one piece of the puzzle.
There are literally hundreds of other ad networks, all offering different options. Some of them even have far cheaper cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPI) and could be just the ticket you need to cut advertising costs while still boosting ROI.
Even Google advertises on other ad networks! Take a look...
Of course almost 90 percent of Google's advertising is done on their on platform, but is interesting to know that this ad network powerhouse has explored other networks.
Where to Start...
If you have yet to venture outside the Google AdWords and AdSense bubble, the first question you're probably asking is, "What ad networks are the best alternatives to Google?" That, my friend, is the wrong question to be asking.
Instead try asking, "Which ad network are best suited for driving MY campaigns and attracting MY potential clients?"
The best way to address this question is to go to sites like AdNetworkDirectory.com and see what each different ad network has to offer.
As you start comparing each network you will begin to get an idea of what you should be looking for. For example, are you looking to attract people from a specific vertical? Are you looking to advertise using mobile, video, text or display? Are you looking to target using demographics or behavior? These kinds of details will help you to narrow in on ideal ad networks.
Another great way to find potential ad networks that will work well for your site is to see what's working for other sites with a similar audience (or your competition). Using competitive intelligence tools, you can quickly figure out what ad networks other sites are using.
Stop Missing Out
If you're only using Google's ad network for your paid campaigns, you could very well be missing out on your golden online niche. Or simply a better ROI.
When building your online marketing strategy it's important to remember that your job is never complete. The online world is going to keep changing all the time, and we will just have to stay on our toes as it happens.
Danielle Forget is Communications graduate with a true passion for online media. Currently she holds the title of Marketing Coordinator for WhatRunsWhere.com, a competitive intelligence service for online advertising.