How to Pick the Best Medium for Your Ads and Content

How to Pick

Digital content and advertisements are rooted in meticulous planning; demographic research, bid wars, copy tricks, tactful scheduling, etc. It’s easy to become crestfallen when our content fails to pull the weight we hoped for. When reflecting on poor-performing campaigns, the potential for success is largely dependent on the medium. $5,000 spent on PPC could have been allocated to relevant blogger reviews. $10,000 on banner ads could have been allocated to a series of educational infographics and promoting them to relevant publications. Fortunately, many professionals of the marketing world share their success and failures, giving us better insight to which mediums will be most favorable to our campaigns.

Take the following situations: in each of them we’ll explore the best media to use, and why those media are appealing to the target audience.

Situation #1: You Want Your Ads and Content Pieces to Target Fashionable Moms Living in San Francisco

Number one, we want to attract women with at least one child, if not several children.

Number two, we want those women to be interested in buying fashionable, trendy clothing and accessories for themselves (and possibly their youngsters.)

Third, these moms need to be in San Francisco.

A typical campaign would consist of a variety of PPC ads targeted at these searches with copy and call-to-actions enticing the ‘fashionable mom’ audience. Below are three alternatives to our run-of-the-mill PPC campaigns:

pinterest 1

Pinterest is all about images, and what better way to target fashionable females than to attract them with strong photos of trendy apparel and items? By appealing to their visual sense by including pictures (your own or downloaded with permission), you can encourage them to share your content. We can identify popular fashion and ‘mommy’ bloggers with SF readers, reaching out and encouraging them to pin, share, and feature our campaign.

instagram 1

Stemming from the same visual roots as Pinterest, Instagram actually boasts 15 times the engagement of Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Team up with popular fashion/mom accounts and/or capitalize on a trending hashtag. A great Instagram tactic that works in tandem with the aforementioned is to have a contest that uses a unique hashtag. The contest itself asks users to submit themed photos as a form of entry and the photos themselves are themed around your campaign.

facebook 1

The level of ad  targeting with Facebook lends itself extremely well to niche campaigns such as this one. We’re also not restricted by simple text copy as we would be in the SERPs with PPC. We can easily grab the attention of “fashionistas” who are also moms. Putting it all together we might end up with something along these lines:


Situation #2: You Want Your Ads and Content Pieces to Target Mid-Level Sales Professionals Working in IT and Looking For Advancement in the Midwest

First, we’re going to look for sales pros at the middle of their careers. This gives us a reasonable/practical age range for targeting: 30-45 years old. We’re also targeting the IT industry. Finally, we want them to be looking for jobs in the Midwestern part of the U.S. We’ve got a lot of criteria to work with and our copy/CTA text can play on those traits.

linkedin 1

Not only does it have appeal in all industry categories, but it’s pretty easy to find the audience you want, including those currently living or working in the Midwest. Plus, the new publishing capacities give you the opportunity to write directly to your intended readers. We could come up with a cool story, video, or infographic about what’s it like to work at our company – the information would match that of the typical 30-45 year old.

GOOGLE plus 1

More and more people are using Google+, especially for business purposes. Even though the fate of G+ remains questionable, it homes thousands of communities – majorly in the business/design/video/marketing world.

reddit 1

reddit is a social community site that has multiple communities matching the IT world, as well as a subreddit for hiring people, and might be of interest to a sales professional who is looking to beef up his or her knowledge base, as well as remain on the cutting edge. It’s definitely not a long shot to find good IT candidates on reddit.

An IT/software/tech-startup will have specific technologies they offer and specific technical roles. This allows us to cater ads to that specific skillset. For example, the information software company Winfosoft has a core offering in the Microsoft technology Dynamics AX. An ad for this particular situation might look something like this:


Situation #3: You Want Your Ads and Content Pieces to Target Chinese Consumers of Varying Ages

This is undeniably a tougher market to crack. Not only will you need to convert all your advertisements and writing to Chinese (and there are many dialects), but you’ll also need to find media they are using.  Fortunately, there are several Chinese social media sites where westerners can have success engaging consumers.

qzone 1

While Facebook has taken off somewhat in China, Qzone is a general networking site that’s often referred to as the Asian Facebook. It’s a giant with over 645 million users and 150 million users update their account at least once a month.

weibo 1

Think Twitter, but in Chinese. This is a fast-paced, 140-character platform that has many of the traits of Twitter, including hashtag capabilities.

renren header

Again, this is a burgeoning social media site in China. However, it’s limited to attracting mainly high school and college-age students, so make sure your content appeals to those groups.

For this situation we’ll want to hire/outsource translation services to ensure a translator does not jumble our message. If we’re a big box store/site offering a generalized discount to varying age groups, we might come up with an ad along these lines:

one of the characters could not render unfortunately, but this ad should say "50% off everything"

one of the characters could not render unfortunately, but this ad should say “50% off everything”

Sometimes I forget how different medium users reflect different traits. Facebook users have more room to voice a detailed customer service complaint, and they’re starting to realize just how important that it is. They have the power to help (or hinder) brand reputation. This is why social monitoring is integral – if we let customer complaints grow stagnant it reflects poorly on our brand. These are opportunities to demonstrate good customer service, publicly. Recently I was managing the Facebook account for a SaaS client with about 25,000 fans. Almost every day someone posted the same question: “How do you install this on MAC?” Sometimes they were variants, but majorly they were MAC related. So I pinged the content team and we whipped together a visual aid that clearly and concisely shows how to install the software on a MAC as well as few extensions worked much better on Windows OS. I pumped some of the budget into promoting it and used a bit of self-deprecating humor to accompany it. After a week it had 500 likes, 100 shares, and 200 comments; all positive/grateful. These are opportunities only you can discover – sometimes they’re pretty simple. Other times ideas will come from an email conversation with a disgruntled or satisfied customer who has their own ideas for improvement.

All in all when testing content on social media channels I personally base my ideas in customer conversations, rather than what a big-name brand did or what is supposed to have the highest ROI.

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Jesse Aaron

I'm a blogger, homebrewer, and community manager. Aside from writing, I have a passion for music and design.

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