modthink blog_The Basics of Paid Media

The Basics of Paid Media

In the recent past, print and television were the front runners of advertising. Since then, they have been dethroned by digital advertising and paid media. Outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google AdWords now shape a new tide in the advertising world. This digital transformation offers new insight into target markets but more importantly – it offers unprecedented access to them.

Paid Media and Advertisements

So, how do the above companies make money? Well, they each serve as a means of entry to different customer bases. While it’s easier than ever to create advertisements for paid media, it’s certainly not simpler. If you want to guarantee a positive ROI, data-driven approaches are the only way forward. However, tackling this approach does differ from platform to platform.

Facebook & Advertising

Imagine that you own an apparel store in Chicago. You sell t-shirts and have a new product inspired by Chance the Rapper. You might not have enough money to advertise on a local billboard, but you know you can use Facebook Ads to target specific customers in an area. Your first step should be setting the ‘Ad Destination’ to a personal website that features your clothing.

While selecting the ‘Advanced Targeting Options’, you can add ‘Chicago’ under the location parameter. Other parameters could be set, as well. You can isolate your ad strategy so only men between the ages of 18-24 who have an interest in music view the advertisement. Just like that – you can instantly remove demographics that aren’t interested in your product.

Advertising on Facebook offers unmatched insight into customer audiences. The ability to zone in on a key demographic base is more granular than ever before.

While social media offers access to your target market, diving into paid online ads without experience is more dangerous than venturing into traditional methods of advertising. If the t-shirt salesman failed to advertise in Chicago, the ad would’ve never reached his target audience. He would’ve burned his ad budget with zero results.

If your content isn’t appropriately tailored to the right demographic on social media, you will waste your ad spend. paid AB Testing is the only way to guarantee success. On Facebook, we highly recommend using the split test feature to understand what works. Facebook Business can give you the full rundown how to do this step by step.

Data-driven decisions are the crux of paid ads. If you have insight into headlines, hashtags, and content styles that are effective with a particular audience, you can endlessly run ads that produce a positive ROI (and equally important – avoid ads that yield a negative ROI). You can track and measure success with small AB tests before increasing the scale.

Social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram work well for both consulting and product-related sales. If you want to advertise your services on a professional platform, LinkedIn is still the king.

LinkedIn & Paid Ad’s

LinkedIn’s recommendation engine knows your resume. Every company/organization you have ever worked with is listed on LinkedIn (including the dates). This is how they fuel their ‘Suggested Connections’ engine. It explains LinkedIn’s uncanny ability to find all the people you know but might not say hello to in a grocery store.

Facebook has access to our interests, friends, and pictures. This allows them to understand us with a certain amount of depth. However, LinkedIn has access to different troves of data that are certainly more useful for professional networking and business. This ability to connect and group factions of the working world has incredible implications for advertising on the network.

LinkedIn’s Paid Ads can be targeted by job title, seniority, function, industry, and professional interests. If you combine these different criteria, you can fully build any target persona – small business C-suite, restaurant owners, or prospective graduate students.

Social media giants now highlight a helpful feature called ‘Lookalike Audiences’. Your company can single out accounts that bear resemblance to a list of your most engaged customers. The advertising tool helps target new professional audiences almost identical to your existing client database.

Google AdWords

Facebook knows our friends. LinkedIn knows our professional network and our skills. Similarly, Google Adwords (such as companies like Bing) know our interests. Their search history functions may even know our interests better than we do ourselves. 

A search history is the most revealing list one could possibly imagine – not because it’s incriminating but because it’s so personal. The searches might not represent much but for those in advertising, it’s a gold mine. Here’s an example of my search history and the respective advertisements that could have appeared on Google:

-Cheeseburger in Paradise lyrics  → A nearby Jimmy Buffett concert

-Is Bran the Night King?  → Advertisement for other shows I’m sure exist on HBO

-Great Value Pretzels  → Walmarts Near Me

-C.S. Lewis  → ‘The Screwtape Letters’ on Amazon

-Chance the Rapper Nuggets  → Wendy’s Near Me

Google AdWords is a system that allows advertisers to bid on certain keywords that allows their ads to appear in Google search results. To understand AdWords, you need to understand ‘Cost Per Click’.

CPC is the amount an advertiser must pay each time a user clicks on their AdWords ad. This cost can vary based on certain factors. These include demand for keywords, the relevance of the content, and usefulness to the consumer.

Google allows you to advertise locally. You can target potential customers who live within a certain radius of your business, which is helpful for brick and mortar stores. Google also really opens the door for e-commerce with Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the act of improving the visibility of your site or page within Google results through organic methods (like the very blog you are reading right now).


Advertising personalization is at an all-time high. We are now able to filter audiences to perfectly fit our target demographic. There are new pathways that can connect customers with your business. If you want to capitalize on that connection, you need to know how to navigate paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. This will set you up to be a paid media specialist in no time!

For additional information or help setting up your paid media campaigns, feel free to contact us!

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