It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to selecting the best ways to garner more attention and visibility — and new business — for your technology services company. There are numerous tools and strategies at your disposal, both digital and traditional, and it seems like companies rally behind a new technique almost daily! Which ones are worth your time? One of them? All of them?
As is the case with most things in life, companies are unlikely to find a single magic bullet that helps them build a healthy pipeline of new and repeat customers. The reality is that companies need to adopt a combination of techniques for a single tool or technique to deliver any meaningful results.
This is very much the case with digital advertising for technology services companies. Across all kinds of companies, including technology services, the spend on digital advertising surpassed that on traditional print advertising in 2019, and that spend is projected to make digital advertising a $172 billion industry by the end of 2021!
How technology services companies are taking advantage of digital advertising
Technology services companies are doing their part to participate. A recent study from the Hinge Research Institute found that digital advertising ranks second among the top marketing techniques adopted by high-growth technology services companies, those that report 20% or more annual growth for a period of 3 or more consecutive years. Notably, no-growth companies are far less likely to incorporate digital advertising into their marketing system.
No-growth companies are much less likely to use digital ads than high-growth firms.
So what do high-growth companies understand that no-growth companies do not? First, they understand that on its own, digital advertising doesn’t deliver much return. Companies can pay a lot of money to target the right audience with a digital ad — or waste, a lot of money paying for clicks from the wrong audience — if the ad isn’t targeted enough. But when adopted in concert with other techniques, namely content marketing that promotes your expertise, digital advertising can be a powerful channel that helps qualified leads find their way to you.
Types of digital paid advertising for technology companies
Here is an overview of the most common paid advertising options for technology services companies today.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay Per Click (or PPC) is a form of advertising where a company pays to drive visitors to their website from search engines. Google Ads is the most popular PPC service. These ads generally appear at the top of a search engine’s results pages. Companies can place bids for their ad to show up for certain keywords or keyword phrases related to their services.
Ads appear above organic search results on Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
Generally speaking, the more you’re willing to pay for a click, the higher up your ad appears on the page. But, budgets can quickly increase and become an inefficient use of funds by clicks from the wrong type of customer, or by getting into a bidding war and paying inflated prices just to stay ahead of competitors who are paying to rank for the same keyword.
So how can you avoid this rut? Ensure your ads relate to a challenge your specific audience has with a well-researched keyword that your audience would actually use. Study the competition and know what keywords they rank for through PPC. Lastly, create ads that have very clear language around your expertise and who can benefit from that expertise. Aligning with specialists and tools focused on PPC can help you spend money wisely and increase your likelihood of a return on your investment.
Banner ads are paid advertisements that can appear at the top, on the sides, or on the bottom of a web page that take you directly to the advertiser’s website. Size and placement vary depending on the website hosting the ad. You can place ads on third-party sites, or use a partner who may have a related target audience.
You can see in the image above an example of a banner ad from Google at the top of a Business Insider article.
Banner ads appear on content the user is already consuming, so they aren’t as intrusive as some other forms of paid advertising. Banner ads can also be good at helping to introduce brand messaging and build awareness. Just like with PPC, you will pay each time a user clicks on the ad, so targeted, specific messaging can help you avoid paying for clicks from the wrong audience, saving you money over the long run.
As buyers of technology services and solutions are actively seeking out answers to their challenges on social media, primarily LinkedIn, sellers should consider advertising on social channels. When it comes to advertising on LinkedIn, ads can appear across a number of pages on the social network, including a user’s homepage, profile page, inbox, search results, or in LinkedIn Groups. The placement of ads on those pages will vary. You can also sponsor content, InMail, and updates.
Here’s how a LinkedIn ad might appear in a user’s feed.
A major benefit of LinkedIn ads is the ability to do highly targeted advertising. Companies can select their ad audience by job title, job function, industry, geography, company name, company size, age, gender, LinkedIn groups, and more. You can set a maximum budget so you don’t end up paying more than you expect. It’s great to have a safety net, especially when it comes to your budget.
Twitter has a good monitoring system so you can easily make adjustments to maximize your money spent. Similar to LinkedIn ads, Twitter also allows you to create a tailored audience and target those who might have visited your website but didn’t complete a download or another action you might have created for them to take. Twitter provides a number of different ad types, including:
- Promoted Accounts: This kind of ad suggests Twitter accounts to people that they aren’t currently following, but might find interesting.
- Promoted Tweets: These are normal Tweets that advertisers can purchase to reach a wider audience.
- Promoted Trends: This kind of ad allows advertisers to create a trending hashtag and pay to promote it for the day.
Final thoughts on paid digital ads for technology services
Paid advertisements can be a good supplemental tactic to your company’s overall marketing strategy, but should work in tandem with your other efforts. Dig deeper into these paid advertising options to understand whether or not they’re a good fit for your technology services company.