6 Common Online Advertising Myths Debunked


Steer clear of these online advertising myths that could be negatively impacting your digital marketing success.

It’s easy to form assumptions in digital advertising. For example, "this headline said this", "this case study said that", "my old campaign did this", "my friend's campaign did that." We encounter these assumptions all the time at Carbon8. While some are innocent enough, others could be creating a seriously negative impact on your digital marketing. To help you steer clear, we have compiled a list of the most common online advertising myths we encounter.  


Myth #1: Our Customers Aren’t on Facebook

The reports have been coming out for years: Fastest Growing Demographic on Facebook: Women Over 55 (2009),  Baby Boomers to Cause Further Surge in Facebook Use (2011), 79% of Online Adults use Facebook (2016). Despite all this data, it can still be hard for many of our clients to believe that their well-crafted personas are missing the piece about them using Facebook. If you’re still not convinced, you should at least try testing to see. You can easily setup a custom audience based on your website visitors that you can then use within Facebook. If your campaigns start generating impressions then yes, your users are on Facebook. 


But perhaps you are asking, "OK, they have accounts, but isn't it engagement that actually matters?” That is true. Guess the generation that is most likely to share content? Or the generation most likely to visit a company website after seeing a social post? How about the generation that averages over four hours a week on social media? Baby boomers, baby boomers, aaaand baby boomers


Myth #2: It’s Too Expensive / I Need More Budget

Paid campaigns are perfect for small budgets. While spending high amounts per click for search terms may be pricey, starting a display campaign with lower CPCs and free impressions could pay huge dividends for your business. At Carbon8, we offer display services starting at $500 a month. 

Paid campaigns also have the benefit of optimization. Wasted spend can be shaved off over the course of months and years to the point where you have a very lean and inexpensive campaign with huge ROI. 
The goals of your campaign will also impact price. While you may not have the budget to run an awareness campaign that drives volume, running a remarketing campaign designed to bring back previous visitors to your site is a very inexpensive way to bolster conversion and repeat purchase. 


Myth #3: It’s Just Flipping a Switch

Whether it’s a SEM campaign, display/banner, paid social, or other paid media, the process seems simple; Set your targeting to relevant searches or audiences, whip up some ads with a decent offer, send clicks to a well-designed landing page, and then wait for conversions! While getting campaigns setup is not terribly complex, this is only the first step in creating a successful campaign. 


The path to positive ROI is much longer and more complex. At the beginning of any campaign there will always be money burned vetting different combinations of keywords, audiences, targeting options, ads, landing page designs, offers, and countless other variables. All this testing and adjustment requires time and patience. 


Myth #4: We Need to Reach the Person Who Has Final Say/ Our Buyer Persona (For B2B)

B2C has all the fun. In B2C, typically one person has the need, does the research, and makes the purchase decision in the span of a few days, hours, or even seconds. But in a B2B environment, the customer journey is long and often split between multiple stakeholders and influencers. The de facto B2B strategy is to cut straight to the person who has final say. While this isn’t always a bad strategy, research shows that much of the B2B research process is being tasked to younger, non-c suite influencers. 


Source: Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014

When constructing your strategy, make sure you aren’t cutting out valuable segments with your targeting. Conduct interviews and dive into your analytics to uncover what segments are researching your company. Once you’ve found your segments, create custom marketing for your influencers and final decision makers.


Myth #5: We Rank Well Organically So We Don’t Need Paid Search Ads

This is what a standard Google result page looked like in 2004:

This is what a Google result page looked like in 2010: 


And this is what a Google result page looks like now:



As you can see, the line between ads and organic listings has been fading. If you didn’t read the news, you probably noticed that Google removed the side bar of ads, replacing with sets of two to four ads that appear above the organic listings. The ads themselves have been made larger with extended character limits and the cautionary yellow “ad” marker was replaced with a more inviting green. These updates have had a negative impact on organic results. Carbon8.com ranks in the #3 organic position for “denver marketing agencies,” but you can see this position doesn’t even get us above the fold (Without a map result, the #3 organic position is just enough to get you above the fold).

Even if you are still getting solid organic traffic gains despite the updates, we would recommend doing some searches related to your business and searches on your brand name. Doing these searches often reveals competitors eating out sections of traffic that you should be getting. Unfortunately, the only way to battle back against this encroachment is within paid search. While we hate telling clients that they must pay to play, this is the way Google is moving. 


Myth #6. Paid Ads Are Spammy/No One Clicks on Them

People click. For paid search, research shows that 50% of adults can’t even recognize the difference between paid ads and organic results. The average click through rate for a search ad is 2%, and will raise much higher within a well optimized campaign. While click through rate is low for display ads, trends show that display click through is on the rise. Paid social, particularly Facebook ads, have great click through rates. You can see in the chart below that some industries are seeing click through rates approaching paid search levels within Facebook. 


The ad content dictates of something is spammy, not the platform. So if you’re worried about being spammy then just don’t be spammy. 

Have any other assumptions about paid that you want fact checked? Give us call or email and we’d be happy to discuss! 

Alex Matlin
written by ALEX MATLIN

Alex is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Carbon8 with experience in SEO, PPC, display, and social media marketing. He believes that Google will soon take over the world and that learning how to understand it and please it will probably be a good life move.

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