What are the Top Online Advertising Tools for Small Businesses?

Did you know for every $1 spent on Google Adwords, businesses earn an average revenue of $2 (Google)? Online ad spending is increasing with the rise in growing expenditure on digital media across industries and a surge in popularity of streaming platforms. According to recent research, the global online advertising market was estimated to be $319 billion in 2019, and is expected to hit $1.09 Trillion by 2027.

The traditional customer journey is impacted by decisions made outside of each purchase, today more than ever. This is largely due to changing consumer behaviour. Thanks to the internet, readily available information is helping customers compare products, companies, and services. A Google survey shows 59 percent of shoppers today prefer research online before making a purchase – whether online or in-store. Even among in-store shoppers, 74 percent said they searched for something online before their trip, such as the closest store near them, locations, stock near them, hours, directions, wait times, and contact information.

How to sell online in 2021? Read our blog on 10 Tips for Small Businesses Getting Started with Ecommerce

Today more than ever, the fight for businesses is to appear on the top of search results pages. This is more pertinent for local small and medium businesses (SMBs) who have traditionally catered to a specific clientele and relied on word-of-mouth brand building. Now, with ecommerce set to permanently disrupt the retail landscape, local businesses must turn to new ways of advertising. Digital stimuli such as online advertising for search (Google AdWords, Google Display), local SEO, social media advertising and marketing (LinkedIn, Facebook ads), and email and text marketing are non-negotiable if a business wants to survive and flourish online.

Why online advertising is important for small businesses

“Paid advertising allows small businesses to get their products and services in front of audiences that they would never have been able to reach through organic measures. Unlike traditional advertising, online advertising lends small businesses the ability to check precise reporting and in-depth analytics. This allows them to calculate if their advertisement campaigns are returning them a profitable return on investment (ROI),” says Trent Walker, PPC Specialist, Vendasta.

There are online advertising options available to fit budgets of all sizes, and a business can attract more eyeballs for less money than traditional marketing methods. Online advertising also allows businesses to know their audience and build a personal touch relationship, which helps to create brand loyalty.

“Online advertising allows small businesses to position their products and services right in front of those most likely to be interested. Through certain advertisement platforms like Google ads, small businesses can target potential customers with advertisements right at the time when the customer is looking to buy."

Trent Walker

PPC Specialist, Vendasta

In addition to creating brand awareness, online advertising also allows for advanced targeting such as geo-targeting and demographic targeting technology to deliver the right message to the right person. Local businesses need to leverage these targeting capabilities when going for online advertising.

Advanced PPC targeting

Top online advertising tools

Online advertising is actually cost-effective because it can be targeted at a select audience and the ROI is measurable. But for that you need the right strategies and analytical tools. These online advertising tools also help marketers, especially those who manage multiple accounts, manage the tedious task of setting up and running campaigns. 

In this blog, we list out some of the most dependable online advertising tools you can use for running your campaigns. (Pricing where available is as per current updates)

WordStream Advisor

The online advertising management software from WordStream allows advertisers to manage their Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads campaigns from a single dashboard. WordStream Advisor aims to simplify every aspect of online advertising, from ad creation to ongoing campaign monitoring. At the heart of WordStream Advisor is the 20-Minute Work Week, which allows advertisers to make changes to their PPC and paid social campaigns based on intelligent, personalized recommendations from individual user account data.

Pricing: $49 per month.

Semrush

Semrush’s PPC Advertising Toolkit lets you plan, analyze and improve your Google Ads campaigns. Get insight into your main paid-search competitors and the keywords they are bidding on; the audience targeted by your rivals and monitor their competitors’ GDN campaigns; and the biggest publishers in your niche. The tool also uncovers major competitors in Google Shopping and their product pricing strategies; research keywords in organic results, paid results, and PLA (Google Shopping) campaigns; design and optimize your Google Ads campaigns; track your visibility in paid search against key competitors; and, gain insights from SERP feature analysis of featured snippets, shopping ads, and more.

Pricing: Not available

Want to know how you can increase traffic and ad ROI with ecommerce PPC? Read this blog

Optmyzr

You can extract maximum value from your PPC ad spend with Optmyzr Build Search and Shopping campaigns. Optmyzr’s algorithms monitor your ad on Amazon in one click. Build and customize reports that showcase results of your campaigns with visualizations, designed with PPC marketers in mind and provide actionable insights and alerts. You can review opportunities, based on industry best practices and proprietary algorithms.

Pricing: 

  • Pro: $416/month
  • Pro+: $665/month
  • Enterprise: Not available
  • TapClicks (Formerly AdStage)

TapClicks is a smart marketing cloud that helps marketers optimize campaign performance and automate reporting to discover insights and take action. Dive deeper into performance trends with keyword and ad-level granularity, plus analyze and report on your advertising ROI with conversion uploads, calculated metrics, customizable dashboards, and drag-and-drop graphs.

Pricing:

  • Starter: $119/month
  • Core: $239/month
  • Pro: $339/month
  • Elite: $639/month
  • Enterprise: Pricing at scale
  • TrueClicks

TrueClicks’s Software allows for high-converting PPC campaigns with customized recommendations and gives tailored insights for your Google Ads accounts that improve performance with. It keeps a close eye on your accounts, provides daily reports on how your campaigns perform and determines whether action is needed. TrueClicks analyzes more than 80 actionable opportunities and prioritizes them. Each week, by clicking the ‘run’ button, you receive a new list of unique recommendations for your accounts. 

Pricing: $39/month

What are the Roadblocks to Ecommerce Adoption by Small Businesses?

Vendasta

Vendasta’s white label solutions lets you create, manage, and monitor online advertising for your local business clients. Advertising Intelligence brings all your clients’ PPC and digital advertising campaigns together in one place for easy tracking and comparison. From impressions, clicks, click-through rate or CTR, and other key metrics, you can ensure campaigns operate at their full potential and constantly provide ROI. AI-powered solutions like Automated Advertising let you run campaigns with your software doing the bulk of the work. Use products like Ad Builder and Spectrio Digital Signage to create online visual advertising—without the need for designers and web developers.

Pricing: Not available

In conclusion

Concerns over recent privacy regulations are making it tougher to target users based on their “online identity”. So, there is a need to be careful about the local regulations while doing target advertising.

 But then this is where search engine marketing comes in. Walker points out that many advertisers are pulling ad spend out of social media platforms like Facebook/Instagram and investing those dollars into Google search ads. “You don’t need to target potential customers by their interests or demographics, instead you target them by the keywords and search terms they are on Google looking for,” he adds.

Why Small Businesses Need a Well-Defined Ecommerce Strategy

 When approaching paid online advertising, there are a list of absolute dos and don'ts that Walker suggests:

  • Do your customer research before designing an ad campaign. When designing an ad copy and creative, make sure you understand your customer deeply, and design the ad to address their needs. Don’t make assumptions on their behalf, and instead have a conversation with some of your existing customers and understand what made them buy your product in the first place. 
  • Do make sure to put as much thought into your landing page/destination as you do for your advertisement. Getting the click is only half the battle, the users still have to convert. For this, user experience is the priority.
  • Don’t send traffic to your website if it’s unpolished and still a work in progress. If your website isn’t optimized, the user is going to bounce off your page. So, you would have paid for the click but received zero results.
  • Don’t always take Google’s word at face value. Google is a business, and like any business they want to make more money. A lot of times, its recommendations are designed to do just that, get you to spend more money on something that may not be in your best interest. 

Want to know more about how do ecommerce business in a post-pandemic world? Download this free playbook now!

About the Author

Anusuya is a content specialist at Vendasta. A career journalist, she has spent the past decade writing about data and digitalization, and how new innovative technologies are redefining businesses and our everyday lives today. During the course, she has interacted with some of the top CEOs and policymakers, spoken at global conferences and delivered guest lectures at universities. Earlier, she worked with some of the best-known business media brands in India and learned to read stock markets and corporate balance sheets. A writer by choice, an editor by profession, and a tech commentator by chance, Anusuya is passionate about news and numbers, but it’s the intersection of technology with sustainability and social causes that excites her most.

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