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Should You Use Paid Ads to Promote Your Small Business? Paid advertising can be a great way to guide more traffic to your site and increase business, however it can be an expensive endeavor if you don't really know what you are doing.

By Kimberly de Silva

This story originally appeared on Bizness Apps


Paid advertising can be a great way to guide more traffic to your site and increase business, however it can be an expensive endeavor if you don't really know what you are doing. This article tackles the three most popular platforms for online advertising, and whether they are worth it for small businesses to invest in. Find out everything you need to know about using paid ads to promote your small business.

1. Google paid ads

Let's start with the most obvious one, Google! According to Statista, "in November 2016, Google was ranked first amongst the most visited multi-platform web properties in the United States with 246 million U.S. unique visitors and a market share of 63.4% among the leading U.S. search engine providers."

Regarding Google's paid advertising:

  • Google has tracked 4 billion store visits from ad clicks.
  • 39.6 percent of those Global Search Ad clicks come from desktops, and 48.9 percent comes from smartphones.
  • The clickthrough rate for mobile search ads on Google's first place is 27.7 percent.

Google offers two types of paid ads through Google AdWords, namely display ads and text ads. Display ads will appear while you are browsing on various websites and targeted through past searches. Text ads appear at the top or the side of every Google search page. These are ads that a company pays for so that people will notice their business whenever they're searching Google. The company only has to pay whenever someone clicks on the ad, also known as pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Given the vast influence this search engine has, it is important to take time to consider whether Google AdWords can be beneficial to your small business.


Investing in Google paid ads can bring about tremendous results, but unfortunately it does not work for everyone. It ultimately depends on your SEO value and type of business. The success of banner ads will vary based on your industry. For instance, if your audience is a younger and more tech savvy, chances are they won't click on a banner ad because they know it's an ad. But, if you are promoting retirement services, your audience (i.e. the elderly population) will be more likely to click on them.

Pay-per-click ads will have different degrees of success depending on which keywords you are trying to rank for. If you have a lot of competition and can't invest a lot of money per click, you are going to get stuck on the Google's 10th page. If you try to rank for niche keywords, you'll be able to rank higher. At the early stages of Google's paid advertising, it was a very effective strategy for small businesses. However, as AdWords has gotten more expensive it has become difficult for small companies to compete with mega brands.

Interestingly, Google announced that they would be testing their local 3-pack to include one local ad and only two organic local results. This could be a game changer for small businesses interested in advertising on Google.

Should you use Google's paid ads? Overall, pursuing Google AdWords can be an expensive online advertising channel for small businesses. It all depends on your industry, as well as the budget you have for acquiring new customers. If you have decided to pursue this advertising strategy, check out Entrepreneur's starter guide to setting up your Google AdWords campaigns. But if this is a little out of your league, Facebook and Instagram provide cheaper options for online advertising.

2. Facebook paid ads

Facebook ads run on the same pay-per-click (or pay-per-impression) idea as Google's ads. According to the Huffington Post, "thanks to amount of personal information in Facebook's database, they allow you to get ridiculously detailed with your targeting. Anything a user can put into their profile -- age, sex, location, education, religion, interests, politics, job title, marital status, etc. -- can be used as a filter for your ads." The best part is that Facebook Ads are surprisingly affordable!

Here are some Facebook stats:


Facebook advertising usually fails for two reasons: either the business didn't have a solid strategy in place, or they approached Facebook Ads with the wrong intentions. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Facebook Ads are passive, meaning they're shown when the consumer isn't necessarily in the buying mood. Direct selling on Facebook can, therefore, be tricky and it's success depends on your product.

According to the Matthew Tyson, a marketing strategist, the most effective uses of Facebook Ads for small businesses are 1) increasing brand awareness and social exposure, and 2) capturing and nurturing leads. In terms of measuring your Facebook campaign, you should focus on Social ROI. More specifically, measure how engaged your audience is by looking at impressions, reach, likes, shares, click-through-rate and so on. You can analyze these metrics in real-time and adjust your Facebook ads along the way to increase their impact.

Should you use Facebook's paid ads? In conclusion, Facebook advertising is one of the most affordable and effective ways to market your business. In fact, 92 percent of social marketers use Facebook advertising. Just make sure you have a clear strategy in place, including realistic goals and objectives.

3. Instagram paid ads

Since it launch 7 years ago, it has become clear that Instagram isn't just for selfies and animal pictures. Instagram is one of the leading social media platforms for image-based content, with over 600 million active monthly users. But where this platform really shines is its level of user engagement: Engagement with brand on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter.

What's more:

In fact, the rise in marketers can be attributed in large part to Instagram's focus on catering to small businesses, which make up the majority of Instagram's advertisers, and its growing suite of free business tools. Besides providing all the important statistics, Instagram allows companies to observe how their unpaid posts perform organically before deciding which one is best to use for an ad campaign.


Similar to Facebook, Instagram allows small and niche businesses to find new customers through their targeting abilities. For instance, you can use traits like gender, age groups and interests to target your ad campaign.

However, small businesses need to take into account that this requires you to know your target audience and how to reach them. You need to be able to create images that elicit a response from that audience. Therefore, research is essential, as well as trial and error.

It is also important to note that in order to create a Business Profile on Instagram, you need to be able to connect it to a Facebook Business Page. This is because Instagram works with Facebook to pull the audience information relevant to your ad campaign. So, you will have to set up these social media profiles before you get started.

Should you use Instagram's paid ads? Instagram is definitely worth investing in, especially as a small business. Even if you are not (actively) on Instagram yet, you can build a following with the help of their sponsored posts. However, if you do not have a clear grasp on who your target audience is, you will have to take a step back to pinpoint the most defining audience traits.

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