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Digital Advertising

Everything you need to know about digital advertising

Digital advertising is a thriving industry that’s growing every year. By the end of 2020, UK digital advertising spend is projected to be worth approximately £15.6 billion, while investment in some traditional forms of advertising, such as magazines, is stagnating or declining.

Why is digital advertising so popular, and what kind of formats and channels are available to your business? Let’s take a look.

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising, or online advertising, refers to the process of delivering promotional content across a wide range of online mediums, from social media and mobile apps, to search engines and email. Digital ads are typically highly targeted and data-driven and can be used for every stage of the sales cycle, from awareness to purchase.


What’s the difference between digital advertising and traditional advertising?

Traditional advertising refers to ‘offline’ advertising, such as TV, radio, direct mail, billboards and print ads. Here are some of the key pros and cons.

Traditional advertising pros

  • Can have a more visual impact
  • Stay around for a long time
  • Reach a large audience
  • Great for brand awareness
  • Good way to reach local audiences

Traditional advertising cons

  • Expensive and often skewed in favour of big businesses
  • Targeting is limited
  • Return on investment (ROI) is difficult to measure
  • Once an ad is published you can’t change it

Digital advertising pros

  • Affordable options and scalable
  • Extremely targeted
  • Easy to measure ROI
  • Can be split-tested so you’re always running the most effective ads
  • Easy to stop or change on the fly
  • Consumers can interact with your ads

Digital advertising cons

  • So many ads online it’s hard to stand out
  • Technical issues, such as website or service outages
  • Huge number of options can be overwhelming
  • Campaigns need constant maintenance
  • May need to hire an expert to create and run your campaigns

While both options have their positives, it’s easy to see why digital advertising spend has begun to overtake traditional. Half of marketers say the biggest drawback of traditional advertising is that there is little to no interaction with your audience. Although you can reach a lot of people with traditional ads, it can feel as if you’re shouting into the void, and you may not even be shouting at the right people.

Digital ads, meanwhile, can be highly targeted. For example, you could target a very specific audience, area, or even choose to go after people who you know have interacted with your website before – ideal for small or niche businesses that only want to reach a very particular audience and need to know their investment is going to be worthwhile.

CX Trend Report - Narrow CTA

Types of digital advertising – which is right for your business?

Dipping your toes into digital advertising can be daunting, as there are so many options, platforms and types of ads to choose from. To help you understand your choices, here are the most common types of digital advertising and their benefits.

Display ads

Perhaps the oldest form of digital advertising, display ads appear on third-party sites and come in many different formats, including:

  • Banner ads – Probably the most common form of display ads, banner ads usually appear at the top, or on the side of, website pages
  • Expandable banners - Ads that automatically expand to partially take over a screen when a user is browsing a webpage
  • Rich media – Ads which include interactive elements, such as forms, games, videos and other clickable elements
  • Interstitial – A pop-up which takes over a user’s screen, forcing a user to either click on it or close it before they can access the webpage they requested

Display ads are a popular choice due to their affordability. You can either contact the sites you want to appear on directly, or use tools such as the Google Display Network, which allow you to target users by demographic, location, behaviour and more, so your ads will only be shown to relevant audiences.

Social media

With almost three billion users, social media channels can be a cost effective way to advertise your products and services. There are lots of different platforms to choose from, so it’s best to focus on the ones your customers use and the ones your brand has the biggest presence on.

Some of the most popular social media platforms to advertise on include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit

Each platform has its pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before deciding where to invest your money. LinkedIn ads, for example, are great for B2B businesses, but are typically expensive.

The biggest upside of advertising on social media is the wealth of user data available, allowing you to target specific audiences. On Facebook, you can even target people based on important events in their life, such as their wedding day or their first house purchase.

Paid search

Advertising to appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs) is called paid search. It’s a great way to get your product and services to the top of the search results, ahead of your competitors, without having to worry about your SEO. Most paid search ads use a pay-per-click (PPC) model, so the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Paid search ads can appear at the top or bottom of the SERPs and come in two distinct forms:

  • Text ads – Designed to blend in with the organic (non-paid) search results with a small ‘ad’ logo next to them

lilys kitchen ad

  • Product Listing Ads – Also known as Google Shopping Ads, these appear at the top of the SERPs when users are searching for a product

dog food product ads

Paid search ads are targeted by location and keywords; the keywords you want to target should be based on what you expect your audience to type into a search engine when they’re looking for your product. If you sell gardening products, for example, you may want to appear in searches for the keywords ‘gardening tools’ or ‘potted plants’.

This type of digital advertising can be an extremely effective way to get more traffic, and conversions, on your website, but it’s also complicated, so you’ll probably need a PPC expert or agency to help you manage and run your paid search campaigns.

Native advertising

While most ads are made to stand out, the exact opposite is true for native ads. Sponsored blogs, videos and articles all fall under the umbrella of native advertising – branded content that’s created to blend in with the rest of the content on whatever third-party site it’s hosted on.

Native advertising is popular because it’s unobtrusive and therefore may be more likely to engage your target audience. It’s great for brand awareness, but because it’s not designed to explicitly advertise your products and services, it’s unlikely to immediately convert readers into customers.

Video advertising

Videos ads typically appear at the start, end or even middle of videos hosted across a variety of channels, most notably YouTube. If you have the resources to create video ads, this is an excellent, and very cost-effective way of getting your products and services in front of a lot of potential customers.

The downside? In most cases the ads can be skipped, meaning you only have a few seconds to make a real impact. Check out this HubSpot article for some great examples.


Sometimes referred to as ‘retargeting’, remarketing is when you show ads to people who have either:

  • Visited your website
  • Visited a competitor’s website

Remarketing is about as targeted as you can get, as you’re showing relevant ads to people you know are interested in the services and products you have to offer. You could even show them an ad which features some of the products they were browsing on your site, so they have a constant reminder of what they were considering buying.

You can set up remarketing ads on your favourite social media platforms, or through Google Ads if you want them to appear on third-party sites instead.

Previous site visitors are 2-3 times more likely to click your ads compared with new visitors

Source: Wordstream

How Feefo can help you boost your digital advertising

We may not be a marketing agency, but customer reviews can make a huge difference to your digital advertising campaigns. At Feefo, we have a selection of tools that can help your ads stand out online and boost their overall performance – let’s take a look.

Seller ratings

By collecting reviews through a trusted source such as Feefo, your PPC ads can become eligible for an ad extension called seller ratings, which displays your star rating within your paid search ads. Google claims that showing seller ratings on your text ads can boost click-through rate by up to 10%.

the perfume shop seller ratings

To be eligible for seller ratings, you need to hit a few requirements:

For Google

  • At least 100 verified reviews per country from the past 12 months from a trusted source, such as Feefo
  • An average rating of at least 3.5 stars
  • A campaign type of ‘Search network with display select’, ‘Search and display networks’ or ‘Search network only’

For Bing

  • A campaign set up as a ‘Search campaign’
  • A minimum of 30 unique reviews from the past 12 months
  • An average rating of at least 3.5 stars

Find out more about seller ratings in our Google stars guide.

Review Enhanced Ads (REA)

Sometimes a star rating isn’t enough to stand out or really capture why your business is so great at what it does. Think about the last great review you received, was it the star rating that blew you away or what they said? Your customer’s comments can help back up what your ads are saying, which is why we created our Review Enhanced Ads tool.

Using AI technology, REA automatically collates your best review snippets, so you can place them in your paid search ads. You can also easily split test ads against each other, so you can make sure you’re always improving your ad campaigns.

Feefo client Fire Label used our REA tool and saw:

  • 35% increase in revenue
  • 33% increase in conversion rates
  • 24% reduction in cost-per-conversion

Smart Themes Big CTA

“Having recently started using Feefo for our reviews service, we were very impressed with the way the company worked and their forward-thinking approach when it came to AI and automation - something which has come in very handy with a PPC account as large as ours.”

Sam Turner, Sales Director

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Advertising for Facebook

If you want to give your social ads a boost, our Adverting for Facebook tool makes it easy to add your product ratings to your Facebook ads. Your ratings are automatically kept up to date, so you know your product star ratings are always accurate.

Advertising for Facebook also allows you to retarget people who’ve already engaged with your feedback, including those who’ve previously left you a positive rating or visited your Feefo reviews page.  

Our Adverting for Facebook tool can:

  • Increase ad conversion
  • Boost click-through rates
  • Improve return on ad spend
  • Reduce cost-per-click
  • Build confidence in your brand

After using Adverting for Facebook on their ads, Andertons saw:


higher conversion rate on ads


increase in return on ad spend


reduction in cost-per-click