A measurable and cost-effective way of reaching a wider target audience

Online advertising has been increasing strongly over the last few years to now account for approximately 50% of worldwide advertising spend. Online ads are a cost-effective way of reaching a wider target audience for small and large businesses. Being online, it is also easy to measure results and ROI.

Sponsored ads

  • 333.25

    billion $ forecasted for worldwide digital ad spending in 2019, a rise of 17.6%

    Source: eMarketer.com
  • 50%

    Digital will account for roughly half of the global ad market in 2020

    Source: e-marketer.com
  • 333.25

    billion $ forecasted for worldwide digital ad spending in 2019, a rise of 17.6%

    Source: eMarketer.com
  • 50%

    Digital will account for roughly half of the global ad market in 2020

    Source: e-marketer.com

Placing sponsored ads on the major social media platforms is an efficient and economical way of reaching the literally hundreds of millions if not billions of members worldwide. The well-known social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter) all offer sponsored ads features to their members and this is  one of their main sources of revenue.

Sponsored ads can be used to increase sales, boost attendance at events, build awareness of your product or service and help move the prospect through the sales cycle.

Sponsored ads:

  • perform better than typical display ads
  • receive higher engagement rates
  • generate higher consumer trust

Source: mediaradar.com

The ads can be set up from your social media business page via a Business account and are billed to a company credit card. Targeting by platform differs.

  • On LinkedIn targeting is done via industry, company size, geography, job seniority and interest.
  • On Facebook (and Instagram as Instagram was purchased by Facebook) via geography using keywords linked to job title, interests, city, personal situation etc. Instagram ads can be placed via your Facebook Ads Manager using similar targeting criteria.

You will be able to see upfront the expected reach, number of clicks and approximate cost. You can place the ads yourself or ask a local marketing agency to do it for you.  By adding tracking pixels you can measure how successful the ads are and how many conversions they resulted in. You can also re-target visitors to your website who did not yet convert.

Display ads

Display or banner ads are a good way to build awareness to a large potential audience. They can be placed on blogs, special websites or on third party websites which offer an ads programme.  Most are very short, text based and include an image and a link to drive traffic to your website. Including a short video instead of an image can increase the number of people focusing on your ad and therefore improve click rates.

You may also consider placing advertorials on online retail sites and/or in market specific publications. While a display ad is a small ad, often placed predominantly at the top or side of a webpage linking to your website or a landing page, advertorials are longer advertisements, presented as informative articles. Although promotional, they highlight the advantages of a product or service in a less sales driven manner. Sometimes it is even difficult to separate from an editorial article written for the site you are visiting. You will only be able to see this from the word ‘advertorial’ or ‘advert’ written at the top of the page.

By deciding to place banner ads or advertorials in market or product specific publications, you increase your chances of reaching a larger part of your ideal target audience.

You can place display ads in online publications (newspapers), magazines, blogs, directories, catalogues etc.

In most cases, you will pay per click. Some publications however, charge a fixed price for regular placements over an agreed period of time.

Entries in online directories

You can place banner ads in online directories to extend your reach such as phone directories, business directories, review sites such as Yelp. Linking to your site can help improve your SEO and the volume of traffic to your site.

SEM / Google ads

SEM or search engine marketing helps your website achieve increased visibility by placing your ad and link to your website in an improved position (normally on the first page) of the search results page when people search for specific keywords. A key advantage of such ads is that they appear in front of potential customers who are already interested in the topic they are searching for so more willing to buy your product or service.

Advertisers bid on keywords and pay on a cost per click basis. As Google is currently used for over 90% of searches made in Europe, Google Ads are the most popular form of SEM.

Digital signage

Digital signage can be used to advertise at bus stops, in shopping malls, exhibition halls, waiting rooms and other public venues. This is slowly replacing traditional billboards and points of sale displays. People like to be entertained while they wait and in this increasingly digital era, digital signage and its dynamic content is being successfully adopted.

As part of an integrated digital marketing campaign, you can really maximise the digital experience offering both digital signage combined with your online presence (website for example) with similar messaging and look and feel.

Remarketing ads

A remarketing or retargeting ad enables you to target potential accounts who have previously visited your website as they move around the internet, but did not buy, or leave their email / contact details etc. A small snippet of code or pixel which comes from their cookies, adds them to a remarketing list from which you can retarget with a follow up message. Such ads (similar in look to display ads) give you the possibility to remind the account of your brand and value proposition, which can lead to improved conversions. You can also update your retargeting ad to be even more relevant as you can base it on the previous action taken by the visitor.

There are two types of retargeting ads.

  • Pixel -based for anonymous visitors
  • List-based from prospects in your database

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing enables you to advertise and promote your products and services online with the help of a third-party who receives a commission. The main objective is to drive traffic and generate sales on the e-commerce part of your website. The affiliate will use his/her channels to promote your products e.g. blog, social media, etc. Payment is normally based on a closed sale calculated as a percentage of the selling price or as a fixed amount.

Many large marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay and Rakuten have affiliate programmes in place to further boost sales on their platforms. You have to be attractive enough so affiliates will join your programme while taking into account the impact of the commission on your margins.

Best practices

Display ads

  • Look carefully into the different placement options and which are most suited to best reach your target audience
  • A/B test everything (image/title/descriptions/call to actions/audience/placement) to see what works best
  • Make your value proposition and call to action easy to see and understand
  • Keep the design simple but attractive and opt for high quality images (embed short text in the image if you think it makes sense to improve visibility)
  • Include your logo to reinforce your brand
  • Make your ad really stand out compared to the design and content of the placement page to maximise clicks


  • Ensure that the keywords you use will be effective. Use keyword suggestion tools to double check
  • Include negative keywords which you would like to exclude from the search to maximise the relevancy of the search
  • A/B test at the beginning of the placement to see what works best
  • Measure and compare SEM results to other online marketing channels such as sponsored ads via social media channels


Protect your business

No company with an online presence is immune to a cyberattack. However, there are several precautions you can and should take to protect yourself and your business.

You might think there is no specific risk connected to online advertising. However, online advertising is an easy channel for attackers to spread malware through the web. How does this work?

Malicious or malware-laden advertisements are injected into legitimate online advertising networks and webpages. This technique called “Malvertising” is widespread because it allows the attackers to infect a large number of computers silently and at low cost. When they manage to spread malware across high-profile and reputable websites, they can reach millions of potential victims.

Some malvertisements can even infect a vulnerable computer even if the user never clicks on the advertisement.

Example of malvertisement:

Malvertising is an increasingly popular tactic for cybercriminals — some estimate that as many as 1 in 100 ads are malicious or disruptive.

The malvertising is, in essence, a potential danger for the users of your website: be it your clients or your employees:

  • Employees might unintentionally download malware on a company computer, thereby granting cybercriminals access to sensitive company data. An attack like this could have serious consequences, including ransomware.
  • Customers could click on a malicious ad featured on your website and infect their computers. This type of malvertising breach can damage the reputation of your business.


How to protect your business from Malvertising?

Malvertising is widespread and its detection can be difficult. However, you can take some measures to protect your website and its visitors:

  1. Choose your ad networks carefully: Malvertising is more likely to end up on ad networks with lax security standards and poor monitoring practices. When choosing an ad network, consider only reputable and Google-certified options.
  2. Implement a content security policy: A content security policy, or CSP, can control which domains are able to host content on your website. It will prevent unauthorised scripts from running,
  3. Run an Advertisement control (scanning) to detect suspicious ads or activity

In addition, you should train your employees in best practices to avoid falling victim to malvertisements.

Advice available from SECURITYMADEIN.LU. Visit our website www.securitymadein.lu for more information and to contact us.


Make data-driven decisions

You should ideally take the following into account when measuring display ads:

  • Total number of impressions
  • CPM (Cost per mille or per thousand impressions)
  • CTR (click-through rate)
  • Engagement rate (on rich media ads)
  • Bounce rate linked to your ad (it shows if people find what they were expecting after seeing your ad)
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion (the most important one)


And for SEM:

  • Total number of impressions
  • Number of clicks
  • Cost per click
  • Time on site
  • Conversions
  • Cost per conversion

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