By Tuan Nguyen

When it comes to online advertising, companies have a huge array of choices they can make in terms of their marketing efforts. In the digital world of today, ads can be placed everywhere: search engines, social media, your website, mobile etc.

Whether you choose to go with banner ads, PPC, text links or contextual ads, you always need to think about your business goals and target audience. It all comes down to strategy and budget.

Google AdWords

Google is the world’s biggest search engine and also the most visited website in the world. If you are thinking about ad placements, Google AdWords should be on the top of your list.


  • Instant traffic – Organic search can take weeks and even months to start working. AdWords results are instant
  • Fast setup – Your ads will be available instantly after they have been approved
  • Appearing on the top page – AdWords appear at the top of the first page of search results, giving you the ability to reach a very vast audience
  • Affordable – AdWords don’t necessarily require a huge investment. You can set up the ads with a tight budget and only pay for the clicks
  • Stop when you want – AdWords can be stopped at will, whenever you feel that you don’t need them


  • Pay per click model – You pay each time a visitor clicks on your ad, but it doesn’t mean each visitor will convert
  • Short life span – Your ads disappear the moment your budget is spent
  • Limited text space – you are allowed only 25 characters in the headline, 70 in two lines of text and 35 in URL
  • SEO still matters – Google takes into account the quality of your content. If the quality doesn’t cut it, ads are pretty much useless


Facebook is the biggest social media platform with around 1.5 billion active users. Facebook offers one of the most precise ad models and the ability to target the correct audience.


  • Precise targeting – Targeting people based on age, gender location, interests, pages liked, connections, etc.
  • Track your efforts – You can use the pixel tracker to find out how many users converted using the Facebook ads
  • Exact conversion info – Find out where exactly the user converted and what device he or she was using
  • Low risk – You can start with as low as $1 per day
  • Smart targeting – Facebook suggestions offer smart ideas to help you in your target efforts


  • Limited ad space – the number of characters for the ad message are 90, which can be a problem. You will have to construct your message carefully
  • Complexity – Facebook offers a lot of targeting ways, but they can be very tricky to the untrained eye
  • Reach the right audience – With so many users out there, it can be rather difficult to reach the audience that you need


With over one billion monthly visits, 76 percent between the age 18-54 and the fastest growing channel in the 18-24 age group (40 percent growth from 2012 to 2014), YouTube is one of the best platforms to advertise on, in terms of brand awareness and audience reach.


  • Being the third most visited website in the world (behind Google and Facebook) you will have a huge audience to work with
  • Cost per view model – You don’t waste money on users that don’t need your content. Costs are charged if the add is watched until the end


  • Competition – With over 300 hours of video uploads per minute, the competition on YouTube is rather tense. You will have to think about your advertising strategy very carefully or risk getting crushed
  • No precise targeting – YouTube doesn’t offer deep targeting capabilities. While you have the ability to reach a lot of people, getting to your target audience can take quite some time

No matter what platform you choose, your ads have to be top notch in every aspect including content, design, value, simplicity, etc. Make sure to invest enough time and resources into getting the right combination, before you proceed with your platform of choice.

Tuan Nguyen is the founder of 20dollarbanners and Aplusmedia, a web development and marketing agency. Tuan has helped countless people grow their business with the help of banner ads and his outstanding advertising expertise. Follow him at @20dollarbanners.