An introduction to paid ads

Charlie Clayton
October 19, 2022

The chances are that you have at least a vague sense of what ‘paid advertising’ is. After all, we’ve all searched for something on Google, and seen the listings marked ‘ad’ at the top of the results page?

But if you run a hospitality business such as a restaurant, bakery, or takeaway, you might be best-accustomed to the notion of doing business ‘face to face’.

What is paid advertising as far as businesses like these are concerned – and are paid ads something that a hospitality firm can use to good effect?


A basic introduction to paid advertising 


OK, let’s start at the very beginning. The term ‘paid advertising’ refers to an online advertising model, where those wishing to advertise a business’s offerings bid in real-time auctions for the right to show their ads within slots on a particular platform or network.

When a lot of people think of paid ads, they are put in mind of what is known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. As the name suggests, this form of paid advertising is based on the advertiser paying every time someone clicks on their ad.

There are, though, various types of paid ads out there – so what should you know about them?


What are the types of paid ads, and how do they work? 


Now, if the mention above of an auction has caused you to imagine an exciting world of banging gavels, let’s dispel some of that romanticism – most of the platforms out there that offer paid advertising services (of which Google is just one) run their real-time auctions with the use of algorithms. It is, in effect, the algorithm that decides which ad to place into an available online slot.

Nor is it necessarily a simple case of the highest bidder ‘winning’ the auction – it tends to be, instead, the bid amount and the quality of the ads that the algorithm considers. But the exact criteria tend to differ from one platform to the next.

This brings us onto the subject of the types of paid ads out there. PPC ads can be broadly categorised as one of the following, depending on the form of targeting used:


Search ads


These appear when someone actively searches for particular keywords. These are the ads that are usually displayed on a search engine results page (SERP), as per the Google search example we cited at the top of this article.


Display ads


These are shown to people who fit certain pre-set criteria, such as being of a certain age or having certain interests. You might have seen these ads when casually browsing the web, and hopefully thought, “wow, how did they make that ad so relevant to me?”

Paid ads can also be categorised in terms of the specific platforms they are on. Here at Slerp, for instance, we run Instagram Shopping ads, which are ads that enable users of the image-oriented social network to “tap a tag” on a product they see, to be presented with more information about that product.

Instagram’s parent company – Meta – offers a lot of attractive options for paid advertising across its various platforms. With Facebook alone – another Meta site – apparently having reached almost three billion monthly active users as of 2022’s second quarter, that’s a big audience for a brand to aim at with its ads on such a platform.


Should your hospitality business be running paid ads? 


The short answer is, almost certainly yes. Sure, your restaurant or takeaway might not feel the need to appeal to a global audience, or even a national one, with its advertising. But that’s where the targeting potential of paid ads comes in. In the case of Facebook, for instance, it’s nearly guaranteed that a sizable proportion of your business’s potential customer base will be active on the network.

Making use of paid advertising could be a great route for your hospitality business to take in order to expand its reach – in other words, reaching the people that other marketing methods can’t.

Not all of your potential future customers will necessarily walk past your brick-and-mortar eatery or perform a Google search for your restaurant’s name, but they might see your business’s paid ads when they’re using Facebook or Instagram. That, in turn, could get them curious to learn more about what your business has to offer.


What’s next for your potential involvement with paid ads?


Naturally, there’s a lot more to learn about paid ads. It is important to know the respective strengths and weaknesses of various types of paid ads, for instance, and when you might be best advised to use certain ads rather than others.

You might elect to use Meta ads more for your ‘top-of-funnel’ marketing activities  (see our marketing jargon blog for more of an explanation on what this means), when you’re trying to create general awareness about your brand. But you may prefer using PPC in the search engines for more ‘bottom-of-funnel’ marketing, when someone is searching Google for “Italian takeaway near me”, with a view to placing an online order right now.

Whatever your current level of knowledge and confidence with paid advertising may be as a UK hospitality business owner, we can help. Our team can help you get your ads up and running, even if you don’t have the resources. And if you’re already working with a PPC advertising agency, we can work alongside them to help your business get the best results from its paid ads.

To find out how you can push any of your products with paid ads, get in touch with Slerp. Digital marketing services are available from us that will help your business grow.

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