Small Fish in a Big Pond: How to Set Yourself Apart in the Vast Online Advertising World

The internet has only made the commercial landscape more competitive. Businesses can now advertise to consumers all over the world, but they also have to fight harder for their time and attention. To make a lasting impact, your advertising strategy needs to stand out from the pack. How do you make your ads pop in an increasingly saturated online world? Here’s what you can do to make your advertising strategy stand out. 

1. Collaborate With a Trusted Agency

One mistake that many growing companies make is trying to DIY all of their advertising. Sometimes, you’re just too close to your product to develop a fresh, innovative campaign. Developing your own ads can also be very time-consuming if you’re working with a small team. 

Instead, try collaborating with a marketing agency to bring your vision to life. They will have the expertise to create a sophisticated ad campaign that’s informed by the current internet landscape. Before working with an agency, be sure to review their portfolio and make sure their work is a fit for your brand. Ideally, the agency will have worked with brands of a similar size and industry to yours and have a track record of delivering measurable results, backed by data. 

2. Use New Technology to Innovate

Part of digitizing your advertising strategy is using new technology. The right technologies make it easier to create your ad campaigns, and they’ll also help you stand out. For example, augmented reality advertising is a bold strategy that can help your brand stand out. With AR, your audience will interact with the real world using their smart devices (or vise versa). Because they require a level of direct interaction, these ads tend to be very memorable. 

Another emerging technology to consider using is AI. Online advertising campaigns tend to be higher-volume than their offline counterparts. Today’s AI tools can generate high-quality copy and imagery to support your creative team, so you can generate a multi-platform ad campaign faster. Marketing agencies like Hawke are integrating AI technology into their operations to maximize productivity and creative output. 

3. Know Your Audience

Because the digital advertising world is so broad, knowing your audience is essential. Conduct customer research to determine what types of ads resonate with them. You can collect data about your audience through social media and website analytics, surveys, and A/B testing. 

Once you’ve found that data, let it inform your advertising strategy. For example, you might find that your audience engages more with video content than static photos. You can use this information to switch to a video-focused strategy and create content for TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels. 

4. Engage Directly With Your Audience

What makes online advertising different from traditional advertising is that consumers can respond directly to your ad. This is particularly important on social media, where engagement from your audience can increase your visibility. It’s also an effective way to collect organic customer feedback and stay on the pulse of current trends. 

Build ads that will get people talking in the comments, and make sure to join in on the conversation. Don’t be afraid to share a hot take or off-the-wall idea that fits with your brand identity. Brands like Wendy’s, Duolingo, and Merriam-Webster have built a strong brand identity with sassy posts. They frequently respond directly to their audience in the comments. This bold approach is entertaining for your audience, and it also humanizes your brand. Just make sure to keep it authentic.

5. Bring Your Story to Life

As humans, we’re naturally invested in a good story. Use storytelling elements in your advertising campaigns to make them more engaging. Your audience will be captivated by relatable narratives, fostering a deeper connection with your brand and creating a lasting impression that resonates beyond the advertising moment. 

Finding the right story to tell takes some trial and error. A great place to start is by writing down your company’s story and your ideal customer’s story. Look at the themes and concepts that arise naturally, and see how you can expand on them. Then, see how you can expand on those themes with hot-button ideas or trends. Tying your brand story in with a current trend or theme will help your story pop. 

6. Create a Unique Visual Aesthetic

You’ll need strong messaging for your advertising to make an impact. However, your brand’s visuals are what your customers will see first. Work on developing a visual aesthetic that’s unique to your brand. This way, customers will immediately recognize your ads. 

You’ve likely already chosen brand colors and fonts when developing your logo and your website. Consider how you can expand on these stylistic choices in your advertising campaign. Try to find a balance between timeless and trendy styles. If your imagery is too trendy, you’ll need to update it frequently, and you won’t stand out from other companies who are jumping on the bandwagon. 

Final Thoughts

Finding the right advertising approach for your brand may take trial and error. In order to stand out with your online advertising, you can’t play it safe — you’ll need to flex your creative muscles. Over time, you’ll determine what resonates best with your audience. 

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