How to Start a Paid Media Campaign for Ecommerce Growth


Use the right paid media channels and promote your content in ways never before.

Ask any experienced marketer today about what paid media channels are available and it’s likely they’ll forget to mention a few.

The reason is that paid media isn’t as straightforward as when TV dominated. New platforms and technologies are changing the game, thus marketers are in a constant uphill battle to stay informed and competitive.

And nobody wants to have the ‘last mover’ advantage with an outdated marketing strategy.

That’s why we’ll breakdown every paid media channel to consider for content marketing along with vital tips in getting started.

Read further as we break down:

What’s Paid Media?

Paid media is paying to promote content on a platform your brand doesn’t own. It’s irrelevant whether your brand created the content, instead, the emphasis is paying for exposure to audiences that you normally don’t have access to. Think of Pay-per-click and Paid Social Ad channels where your paying to access audiences developed by Google, Facebook and the like.

How does paid media relate to owned and earned media?

All three illustrate a big-picture view of what channels are available for your content marketing efforts. Although overlapping in many ways, each is separated by whether your brand owns the content and platform that’s being used to promote it.

  • Owned media is content your brand has created that’s promoted on a platform your brand owns. Thus, your brand owns every asset in the process and is responsible for developing the audience. Think of blog posts, web copy, info-graphics and downloadable PDFs that you’ve published on your website.
  • Earned media is free publicity your brand receives from others. The key word here is free. Think of journalist coverage about a company event and user-generated content like shares, ratings, reviews and so forth. If your brand doesn’t create and pay for the content and it’s not on a platform you own, then it’s publicity in the form of earned media. As you can imagine, publicity is both positive and negative.

Regardless of the media strategy, the end goal of generating awareness, engagement and leads are all the same.

Want a deeper breakdown of earned and owned media?

We’ve got you covered here and here. 

What Paid Media Channels Are Available?

Paid advertising channels have moved far from the traditional and legacy channels into more digital forms. Studies show that in 2019, global marketing spend on digital channels is surpassing non-digital for good.

But the difficulty of being informed on what paid media channels are available remains a challenge. Innovations from major marketing platforms are always evolving and providing more catered services. Here’s a breakdown of every paid media channel available today.

Digital Paid Media Channels
  • PPC
  • Google Shopping Ads
  • Paid Social Ads
  • YouTube Ads
  • Podcast Ads
  • Native Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Retargeting Display
  • Paid Influencer Marketing
  • Niche/Industry
  • Publications
  • Programmatic Media
  • Display/Buying
Pay-per-click (PPC)

PPC is an advertising service that only applies to search engine results. Using platforms like Google Ads, Bing Ads and Yahoo Ads, you can start by setting a campaign budget and placing bids for targeted keywords. You can determine your campaign’s costs per each click received (CPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM), and your final bid cost will depend on your ad rank score.

Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads are product-based ads that come with visuals, prices and links to the retailer. You’ve likely seen them at the top of Google’s search results, just above PPC ads. If you’d like to join the network, simply upload your product inventory in Google’s Merchant Center then set a budget and bidding strategy.

Paid Social Ads

Paid Social Ads are recommendations and sponsored posts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat. These platforms come equipped with analytics that allows advertisers to create custom campaigns targeting audiences based on profile characteristics. When choosing a platform, it’s vital to select one that’s most relevant for your target audience and to create content adjusted for the platform.

YouTube Ads

As of this writing, YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world. Statistics show that time spent watching videos is now surpassing the time spent watching TV. With YouTube Ads, you can target and leverage the influence of over 50M content creators on the platform. There are three primary types of YouTube ads: TrueView, Non-skippables and bumper videos. Just like with other Google platforms, you pay per click (CPC) or per thousand views (CPM).

Podcast Ads

Podcasts are today’s radio with a few twists. It’s more cutting edge and more personalized while ranging from short-form to long form. Podcasts are better than radio, however, in that, they already scope a firm’s audience based on easily understood metrics like subscriptions per show and genre. In other words, advertising with podcasts can help you target you audience based off their interests and likes, given there’s a top podcast for just about every industry niche.

Native Ads

Native Ads are sponsored content that blends seamlessly into a website’s original content. They come in advertorials, sponsored posts, personalized recommendations and displays. You can use native ad platforms like Gravity and Outbrain to target audiences based on interests and demographics. The term “native” implies that ads are native to the platform.

Display Ads

Display Advertising, also known as Banner Ads, are interactive displays that stand out and are unrelated to a website’s content. Being one of the first forms of internet advertising, you can use platforms like Google Ad Network and Conversant to reach website audiences that vary from media to sports to travel.

Retargeting Display

Retargeting Display involves having your ads follow users who’ve visited your website before while browsing. The strategy uses your audience’s cookie history and email profile to do so. By using retargeting platforms like Google Display Network and AdRoll, you can nurture your audience back to your website with relevant ads that are tuned according to their browsing history and interests.

Paid Influencer Marketing

Ever bought something because someone you admire mentioned it in a post? Paid influencer marketing are “celebrity endorsements” of the digital age. By collaborating with bloggers, YouTubers and social media influencers with tons of followers, you can reach targeted audiences in ever more personalized ways.

Niche/Industry Publications

Thousands of media websites like the New York Times, the Atlantic and Vogue provide their own ad services. You can evaluate your publication of interest with the add-on word ‘advertising’ to find out if its services suit your campaign goals.

Programmatic Display/Media Buying

Programmatic Display is a network that connects website owners who have ad space to advertisers who are seeking it. Supply and demand are carried out by digital exchanges where auction bidding, analytics and AI provide both parties information on campaigns, pricing and demographics. It’s the AI version of old media buying ways.

Non-Digital Paid Media Channels

Traditional channels are not dead and still can be used to drive sales growth and brand awareness. These include television spots, physical or in-store product placements, print media, radio adverts, and direct mail, among others.

How to Conduct a Paid Media Strategy

Each media strategy overlaps and provides the best results when used in tandem. Here are a few major pointers to get you started.

5 Steps for Media Success
  1. Define Your Campaign Strategy
  2. Research Keyword Attributes
  3. Create the Right Content
  4. Find the Right Channels to Promote
  5. Test, Track, Monitor Then Repeat
1. Define your campaign strategy

Refine your campaign’s who, why, what and how. Who refers to your target audience. Why refers to your bottom-line objectives. What refers to what you’re actually providing in terms of content. And how refers to what channels you’ll use for publishing and promotion. This step will provide you with an overall road map of your media campaign, thus it should be done before anything else.

2. Research keyword attributes

Search engine optimization and PPC start with keyword research. And vital to finding the right keyword requires assessing its keyword difficulty, search volume and search intent attributes. Make sure the search intent of your keyword list aligns with your industry and campaign’s goals. Why is this important? Simple: not all keywords are created equal.

Don’t know where to start?  Here’s a keyword research walkthrough.

3. Create the right content

Creating the right content depends on your campaign’s goals, your keyword list, your brand and what platform you use to promote.

Brainstorm, research and collaborate with different team members to find out your customers’ pain points and then come up with a content solution. It could be a Brand Book PDF template with a landing page or a series of informative blog posts.

Whatever you choose, make your content unique and relevant to your target audience with a strong CTA. Also, if it’s being published make it follow best SEO practices.

Start with evergreen content, the type that’s optimized for both search engines and humans. Here’s a guide.

4. Find the right channels to promote

Finding the right promotion channels for your content starts with your target audience and resource constraints. For instance, if your target audience is an existing email list, using software like MailChimp or Kissmetrics can provide analytics for building more conversion worthy segmented lists.

For an organic and less costly approach, promoting your content through owned media strategies combined with social platforms is a true and tried tactic.

5. Test, track, monitor, repeat

For content that’s used on multiple platforms, adjust and tweak according to each platform’s best practices. Then, test according to your campaign’s KPIs (engagement, average time spent on page, etc.), which you should have determined in the first step, and make content tweaks as you go along. The goal here is progress, not perfection, which is achieved through continual testing.

The Value of Paid Media

It’s completely normal to feel nervous when starting your paid online advertising campaign. But with all the paid media channels available above and the beginner steps, you’ll have a head start in unleashing your content marketing wrath on the digital world.

And if you’re ads aren’t performing, the Advesa team can help steer you in the right direction.

Written By Terry Say

Terry's an editor and SEO strategist for Advesa. There’s nothing content and SEO he won’t get involved in. We tried, he just always finds a way to put his hands on things! Aside from work, Terry calls himself a ‘stand-up comedy connoisseur’, and enjoys watching intense tournaments in the world of E-sports.