Online Advertising – The 3 Basics

An Introduction to Programmatic

Every business works hard to get their messages out to potential customers. Most of them do it on their own because they also act as their own marketing departments.

Even those who see the ability of online marketing to reach new customers may not know what tools are available or how to get started.

We’ve helped grow digital strategies for our clients by building the foundation – particularly in organic search – while setting review and email strategies. As these three core tactics take root, a process that takes time and content, we step next to into online advertising to speed the process and reach a wider audience.

There are 3 basic forms of online advertising used by most businesses today, and the first two are dominated by the giants of the internet:

  • Search Engine Marketing (mostly Adwords)
  • Social Media Advertising (mostly Facebook Ads)
  • Programmatic Advertising (everything else)

Essentially, Google and Facebook are so big, online advertisers are required to go direct. Google web sites (including YouTube) are the most visited sites on the planet, while Facebook commands the lion’s share of time spent by consumers online.

They continue to venture into each other’s established territory. Google takes steps to keep consumers on Google, serving answers and content instead of sending searchers to other websites. Facebook increasingly is refining its own internal search engine. Their ad-serving tools are available to everyone, but with their increasing complexity, it’s good to have help to manage them.

For the rest of the world there is programmatic, essentially data-driven online ad exchanges that buy remnant display advertising space on almost every website and app out there in online auctions that last milliseconds. Ever noticed local ads on national websites or ads that followed you around the internet? That’s programmatic.

Google’s Doubleclick platform is one of the largest programmatic players, but not the only one. One of the most prominent ad exchanges, OpenX, was developed by an Omaha native. Nearly every website or app serving ads is part of at least one, if not many of these exchanges.

The publishers behind any website or app will try to sell their best inventory direct, normally at a higher price than what the exchanges will pay. The rest of their inventory goes to programmatic, sold in real time bidding (RTB) to programmatic advertisers. According to industry experts like Digiday, eMarketer and ZenithMedia, programmatic will be the fastest growing market in advertising for the foreseeable future, beating both Adwords and Facebook ads.

There are a few things to understand about programmatic advertising.

Programmatic advertising delivers online display ads to a target market on any device, anywhere at any time. These ads generally will appear in three places: on any web page, within any app or at the start of any video.

Whether your potential customers use computers, smart phones or tablet, you can reach them when they will be most willing to accept your message. The online tools you use will depend on the products and services offered by your business.

Your potential customers can be targeted for messages based upon their IP addresses, location and many other variables. Programmatic advertising can display messages to potential customers who are more likely to respond based on prior online behavior, such as searches and purchases.

Here are some examples:

  • A small business sells golf clubs. They want to reach potential customers who search online for golf supply stores.
  • A car dealership wants its ads to show up on mobile devices when potential customers are near competing dealerships.
  • A new coffee shop wants to target potential customers anytime they visit nearby competitors.

As a small business owner, you can decide when and how your messages reach potential customers:

  • Frequency targeting: Control the number of times your message can be viewed.
  • Content targeting: Target only those potential customers interested in your particular product or service.
  • Day targeting: Control what time of day your messages can be displayed.
  • Behavioral targeting: Target those who already demonstrated interest in your products or services with their online behavior.
  • Demographic targeting: Target a specific age/income/gender of your potential customers.
  • Geographic targeting: Choose a location or radius for your potential customers to receive the message.

Such programmatic approaches result in better responses to your advertising campaigns and increased revenue for you and your small business. Reaching the right people means less of your marketing time and advertising dollars get wasted.

These creative, targeted marketing methods take the guesswork out of reaching prospective customers who already desire your products and services. Behind all of the technology, however, are real people and real relationships. Not all exchanges are equal. We’ve won customers like the University of Nebraska-Kearny with our side-by-side comparisons.

In fact, we can tell within minutes of looking at your website whether we have a programmatic provider that can deliver better results. More in our next installment on how to track the programmatic players.

Worried About Your Digital Strategy?

Come to Our Lunch and Learn on Tuesday, April 18

Are you promoting your business but still have the gnawing concern that your on-line presence is not what it could be?  It doesn’t matter whether you’re using big budget advertising methods or just word of mouth, how you appear on-line is of primary importance.  Fortunately, there are many techniques that are easy to implement.  In this month’s free (yes, we said free) lunch and learn, we’ll show you digital strategies that you can combine with your traditional marketing to boost your on-line presence, and your business.  Join us Tuesday, April 18th, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pizza West for free pizza and information you’ll find useful. 

 Here’s what two of our clients have to say about our results:

Working with PioneerMedia and their content and SEO teams, we were able to fix our map issues, boost Google Insights significantly and increase our organic search traffic by more than 53%. They are as passionate about our business as we are and they are just as responsive to protecting our brand. Best of all, they really explain things so we better understand implementing a digital strategy to grow our business. 

–Pella Windows & Doors of Omaha and Lincoln


PIoneerMedia helped us define our brand and organize an integrated marketing plan across all of our channels — including digital, phone books, broadcast, direct mail, events and sponsorships, to name a few. Their team works with our managers, our vendors and our customers. We’ve had record growth online and now rank on the 1st page of a Google search for our primary business. They truly care about their customers and they are very responsive to the needs of a growing business. We really appreciate that they take the time to try and explain everything. 

—Eyman Plumbing, Heating & Air


Topics for this Lunch and Learn include:

• Integrated marketing across channels and measuring online

• Developments in Local SEO and Advanced SEO, including AMP, https and

• Content marketing planning and local engagement

• Optimization, including search engine and conversions

• Digital advertising strategies, and tracking all of your marketing

Great ideas.  Free pizza. Who can argue with that? RSVP Today.

When I Was In Radio

I started in radio nearly 20 years ago, and in that time, I’ve seen advertising evolve into something that’s multi-layered and dynamic. What started as one radio station and one audience became a radio cluster, followed by satellite and streaming.

There wasn’t a Zero Moment of Truth (online research). Advertising drove the First Moment of Truth. The Ultimate Moment of Truth wasn’t hundreds of online reviews or recommendations sourced online, it was talking to friends and family over fences and on phones.

In the late ‘90s media measuring firms like Nielsen and Media Audit combined media habits with behavioral traits like “intent to purchase.” Television shows had psychographic profiles blending demographics with psychographics (or lifestyle choices) to target potential customers. Quantitative information met qualitative.

None of that, however, was interactive. It wasn’t until TIVO and the DVR came around in the early 2000s, that it wasn’t time bound.

What was once a one-way invitation has become a rolling two-way conversation.

Grab & hold attention

Savvy business owners use both traditional and digital media to get their message to potential customers. And the message must stand out. Consumers are exposed to thousands of brand reminders a day across several devices and mediums and an unlimited number of channels. So it’s even more important your messages grab and hold their attention.

The lessons learned in advertising are as important as they ever were, but now there are new tools and a broader process to consider.

Today’s consumers aren’t just going to walk in or call. Instead, they expect to fully engage a business in when and how they choose. For example, suppose Emma sees a local restaurant’s print or digital ad. In today’s digital world, Emma has many online options before she goes there. She can:

  • Visit the restaurant’s website to check its menu and ambiance
  • Search for customer reviews – both good and bad
  • Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to get opinions of friends and acquaintances
  • Decide to visit or skip this restaurant based on those reviews and feedback
  • Ask Google for directions to the location or nearby alternatives (a near-me moment)

So while the original ad caught her eye, and put that restaurant top of mind, it was information Emma found online that helped her decide whether to become a customer. If the restaurant’s online presence didn’t live up to her expectations – or even worse had bad information – it’s unlikely Emma would ever spend money there.

Run an advertising marathon

Advertising has always been more marathon than sprint, but today in this age of instant accessibility, it is pivotal to create an accurate and welcoming online presence and have a consistent and engaging message.

We help business owners – from large corporations to mom-and-pops — make sense of their digital opportunities. We promote your goods and services in a way that maximizes your investment and builds long term value. You not only target your customers, you more accurately track your marketing.

Translating digital-speak into understandable terms is part of our mission. We know how to use traditional and digital methods to grow your customer base. Most importantly, we know how to tell your story. It’s not unlike how we’ve grown our own audience.

Let’s talk about your strategy. We know there’s a better story to be told.

SEO Myths, The 2017 Edge and Reviews (Yelp, Facebook, Google)

SEO Myths

From the quality of backlinks to their velocity to the sites you should be linking to. [Moz]

Managed vs Automated: 2017 and Beyond

Use technology, but keep a human eye (and brain) on the process and results. [SearchEngineLand]

A Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Digital

Authority/brand, content and channel domination. [SearchEngineLand]

Top 10 Yelp Tips for Business Owners

The power of the Yelp check-in, finding Yelp customers through Facebook and much more. [LocalU]

Facebook Pushes Reviews

Now every time someone checks into your business — often to let their friends know where they are — they will be asked to leave a review the next day. [SearchEngineLand]

Review Schema for Google

Blumenthal’s review blog breaks it down. [GetFiveStars]

Organic Business Results with Review Rating Get More Clicks

A sample of case studies show how positive review ratings in organic search results, not just the Local Stack, significantly increase CTRs. [JurisDigital]

Demystifying Digital Marketing

It’s back-to-school time for kids across the metro, so why not a back-to-school Lunch & Learn for decision-makers who want to harness Digital Marketing, Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools to grow their business?

Join us in the next of our continuing series of Lunch & Learn sessions August 23 at 11 a.m. at Pizza West, 12301 W. Maple Rd. as we present the fundamentals of increasing your sales through managing your digital footprint. Both the “Lunch” and the “Learn” are on us.

Space is limited, so please RSVP today.

Digital marketing is a set of proven techniques employed to improve both the volume and quality of your interactions with potential and current customers – both in direct phone calls and online traffic that helps convert more business.

Over the last 7 years, we’ve learned a lot about the most important steps and the endless variations in tactics available to grow your business with digital marketing thanks to our success working with a wide range of clients — from Boys Town Pediatrics to Pella Windows, Great Plains Auto Body to Eyman Plumbing Heating & Air, not to mention over 50 more.

So speaking of proven techniques, the universally “well-worth-my-time” feedback we get makes us doubly confident that you’ll profit from this Lunch & Learn.

Teaser Time

  • Are you tracking how many customer phone call you are receiving from your own Google My Business Page?
  • What about claiming and optimizing your business identity on all the major search engines and business directory websites?
  • Just exactly how do those search engines work, anyway? And what can I do to maximize my digital profile to be ranked higher in those listings?
  • Do you understand how SEM (search engine marketing), programmatic display (geofencing, microproximity, behavorial targeting) and retargeting work?
  • How does this all fit together for my business?

These are but a few of the topics that we’ll cover to demystify the art/science of digital marketing.

If your answers to the above questions are “I’ve got someone to do that,” then this will help with some additional perspective. If your answers suggest a refresher course, this should do the trick. If your answers are more along the lines of “I have no idea what you are talking about,” we really-really-really insist on seeing you there!

Don’t forget to register here today, and we’ll see you soon!