- What is digital advertising?
- Why is online advertising important in Switzerland?
- The advantages and objectives of digital advertising
- The different types of advertising and formats
- The different platforms for digital advertising in Switzerland
- How to create an online campaign for your business?
- Conclusion on the online advertising guide
Online advertising is a pillar of the digital strategy, mastering it in 2022 allows on the one hand to increase its awareness, but also its sales in an increasingly competitive environment. Many platforms now offer the possibility to buy strategic placements in order to be visible to a specific audience.
In this guide, you will find the key advantages of advertising as well as the channels to use in priority according to your campaign objectives and your available budget.
We’ve listed almost everything you need to know about online advertising for a successful digital strategy in this guide!
What is digital advertising?
By definition, advertising includes all the strategies and actions implemented on the Internet to promote a product, a service or a brand to a defined audience.
Depending on the goal of your company (awareness, traffic on websites, sales on the internet, etc.), the advertising created is published through various media to target a specific audience or prospects and customers.
Internet advertising can be classified into three main groups:
- Textual advertising which includes all text formats, links in articles or keywords bought on search engines.
- The banner formats (display ads) that can be found on many websites.
- Images and videos which are very popular especially on social networks.
The choice of the advertising format generally depends on the objectives of the advertising actions and the target audience.
Therefore, to increase awareness and make yourself known, you can use visual formats (synonymous with emotion) such as images or videos.
The Internet users who browse the different social networks or certain media will be exposed to your product without knowing it.
On the other hand, to generate sales, text-based formats are often the most suitable.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the use of the internet has changed considerably. During the various lockdowns that most countries have experienced, e-commerce has expanded greatly.
Many households have discovered a new way to consume and buy goods, and many companies have had to develop their business on the net.
- The budget invested in advertising was 350 billion in 2020 and will be 786.2 billion in 2026
- A 9% increase in digital marketing activity is expected each year
- 63% of companies have increased their budgets in recent years
- between 2020 and 2021, an increase of 14% in the field of online advertising
- Now, according to a study, 55% of the advertising budget is online
Why is online advertising important in Switzerland?
In Switzerland, 99% of households have access to high-speed internet.
However, despite this strong growth, the country has four official languages that more or less naturally create language barriers that have a direct impact on communication on a national scale.
It must be taken into account that simply translating texts from one region to another is not enough. It is necessary to adapt the communication and sometimes the design for each region, where the official language is different.
I have seen that many campaigns that were translated only, did not have the desired impact and performance.
Moreover, when language barriers are mastered, advertising is a great asset to develop your brand or your product on a national scale.
In addition to the so-called regional activity, promoting your brand, your services or your products online has a real added value. Whether it is on social media, search engines and more specifically on local media.
Very often, due to lack of experience or performance concerns, most companies focus on one linguistic region and thus limit their expansion potential within the country.
Many companies prefer to develop their business in a country bordering Switzerland for language reasons rather than to develop their activity in a neighbouring region.
This often implies other major challenges such as logistics costs, taxes, laws and local competition.
Using online advertising is for sure one of the most economical, best-fit and most profitable ways to expand your business into other regions.
The advantages and objectives of digital advertising
The cost is certainly one of the most important positive points of online advertising. The part allocated for a successful campaign represent on average 15 to 20% of the overall budget. This is true for the production, implementation, management and optimization of a campaign.
Naturally, some special occasions such as a product launch or the implementation of a new brand require additional production costs. Especially for the creation of video content or photo shoots for marketing strategy.
However, if the shooting and filming is managed jointly with a digital team, it can be reworked and reused on another advertising action quite easily.
This allows to optimize the costs related to the creation of content over a longer period.
For the management and the optimization of campaigns, most platforms now offer automated solutions, also called SMART Bidding. They allow you to define precise optimization objectives (generate visits, increase conversions, etc.) and machine learning technology regularly optimizes the different ads.
It is no longer necessary to have several people dedicated to the management and optimization of a campaign.
Online advertising also allows you to target very precisely audiences likely (prospects or customers) to be interested in your offer, your services or products related to your business.
Most platforms now offer demographic or/and interest targeting of their prospects
This way, it is quite easy to target a specific audience (male, female, 18-25 years old) with defined interests (cooking, travel, sports). Also, according to their behaviour on your site and on the Internet in general.
Thanks to the tracking integrated on websites or landing pages, you can identify the users who convert. Moreover, you can also see which ones to remarket to (E-mails). And finally, those who have never heard of your product before.
Unlike other traditional advertising channels, digital offers many opportunities to effectively optimize a campaign.
There is no need to question the importance and impact of advertising in traditional media. Whether it’s television, radio, billboards, or even magazines and newspapers.
On the other hand, from a flexibility point of view, digital advertising offers multiple advantages.
Targeting can be changed and adapted regularly based on performance and need. Therefore, a target audience that might seem interesting at the launch of the campaign may turn out to be less effective. It can be redesigned very quickly.
The selected channels can also be adapted. This means that advertising that is usually intended for one social network can be used for another social network without having to change it completely.
Finally, you can adapt the budgets allocations during the campaign. If these have been placed on poorly performing channels, it is very easy to migrate them to another channel.
To sum up, the major difference between online advertising and traditional advertising is without a doubt the different possibilities of optimization during the whole campaign.
The ability to measure performance on a consistent basis is a unique feature of online advertising.
Once the KPIs and objectives of a campaign have a clear definition, it is enough to analyse the trends on a regular basis to be able to make changes quickly.
After only a few days of campaigning, you can easily use the first reports and optimize your campaign accordingly.
For example, if your campaign generates a lot of traffic on the landing page of your websites, but there are few conversions, you shoud review the content or the call to action. In particular, because it does not attract the desired attention.
- The chosen channel may not be the right one
- Modifications need to happen on chosen audience
- Some needs to optimize the campaign objectifs
- The advertising message is not clear
- The banner format (or display ads) is not adequate
These parameters are normally monitored (tracker), and can be analysed and optimized on a recurring basis as needed.
The speed of adaptation of a campaign
Generally, a campaign is developed and planned in collaboration with a digital agency. It allows us to define KPIs, set up a plan and make a proposal from a selected channel and web page point of view. Finally, it establishes a list of advertising formats to be provided for the campaign to be as effective as possible.
In my experience, about 70-80% of the initial briefing aren’t changing. Nevertheless, ad formats, texts, or calls to action required adaptation quite quickly.
Online advertising offers this possibility quite easily. So you can quickly adapt a campaign and modify up to 90% of the content without too much effort.
The mistake to avoid is to create a single package that includes all available advertising formats with a single visual. It then becomes very complicated to modify or adapt a video or content created from scratch.
That’s why it’s always recommended to create several variants (different visuals and templates) by limiting the number of ad formats.
Nowadays, with the implementation of “Responsive Ads”, you can cover most of the ad formats with 3 visuals. Also, a single video can be edited in multiple ways to create many shorter formats. These are used as advertising formats.
The different types of advertising and formats
The ecosystem of advertising formats is constantly evolving. Some standard formats used intensively a few years ago are now obsolete in the marketing strategy. Especially with the arrival of smartphone screens.
Nevertheless, there are four main groups of advertising elements:
- text format
You have to choose the format and design according to the communication channel, the target audience and the main objective.
The text format
This is the most common format. It is mainly used on search engines in the form of keywords. It allows you to cover the demand of Internet users searching on your brand, one of your products or an associated category.
We can distinguish two types of keywords:
- branded keyword (ex : Nike)
- generic keyword (non-branded keyword, ex : Sport shoes)
This is usually the most effective advertising format from a revenue generation point of view. A visitor already convinced will actively searches for your brand or product. This is a transactional search.
A visitor who searches for a category or a generic keyword wishes above all to document himself. This is an informative search.
Some media also offer the possibility to publish sponsored content. Often in the form of an article, this allows you to promote your brand and your services and refer interested people to your website or store on the net.
The Image format
The second very popular format is without doubts the images. Frequently used on social networks, images can have two objectives:
- Increase awareness with visuals that convey emotion
- Accentuate a special offer or promotion to generate more conversions
Facebook and Instagram have simplified digital ads buying and standardized their ad format. So, with the same format, you can do sponsored posts, carousels and native advertising on their social media.
For banner formats, static images can be a good solution.
The banner format
This format was very popular for a long time, especially when people consulted Internet sites exclusively via computers. Therefore, the most common were the skyscraper (vertical format frequently placed to the right of the content), the leaderboard (horizontal format placed above the content and the rectangle (rectangular format placed directly in the content). This type of formats are less and less visible because of the very popular use of smartphones.
With a reduced screen size, they do not allow (with a few exceptions) to display these static formats.
Consequently, new formats called “responsive” have been developed. They adapt to the size of a screen automatically.
You just have to provide an image, a title and a text and most of the platforms create and adapt the format according to the device and the browser used.
Also, the banners can be static or animated. Today, the HTLM5 technology allows creating animations quite simply that adapt perfectly to the screens and that require little space on the servers.
This is a very important element, especially for the speed of a site.
In terms of targeting, the banner is a very good format to improve the brand awareness or a product.
For optimal performance, you should place banners on selected sites that are directly related to your brand or product category.
This is to allow visitors to discover your business and generate interest to become a potential customer.
The video format
Finally, video is the format that has become popular in the last years. Particularly thanks to the faster filming methods and the easy access to production techniques and equipment.
Previously, a video required a filming team, a fairly large equipment and finally a production team. Now, it is possible to create a video of fairly good quality with a smartphone and then use it as a digital advertisement.
Le format vidéo
Most social networks offer advertising formats in the form of shorts, stories, bumpers or longer videos.
However, it is important to keep in mind that creating a proper video takes some time. Therefore, when planning a campaign, after determining the objectives and taking into account the budget, it is important to define in detail whether a video is necessary. Very often, static or animated banner formats are sufficient to cover the awareness part.
Of course, for product launches or also for long term campaigns (Always-on), creating a video brings a real added value.
Video is the right element to increase brand or product awareness. Thanks to animations and sound, it becomes much easier to convey a message and attract the attention of visitors.
Here again, the choice of platform and the target audience are essential elements.
The different platforms for digital advertising in Switzerland
There are many platforms (social networks, media) that offer advertising space. The choice is made according to the levers, the objectives of a campaign, the target audience and the available budget.
Here is a list of the main media and social networks that allow you to advertise and reach a specific audience.
It is the most popular search engine on the planet, with a market share of 92%. Google Ads offer different advertising formats, mainly on its search results pages.
The Search Ads section (formerly Google Adwords) allows you to buy keywords in order to appear in first position on a specific search. You pay for each click that a visitor makes on the defined keyword.
The search engine also offers the possibility to highlight products in the Google Shopping section. On the same principle as for the keywords, Google offers this placement for purchase. Therefore, your product appears when a visitor makes a search. The link on the product redirects the user to your store on the web.
Facebook & Instagram
As both platforms are part of the same company “Meta”, the advertising model is quite similar.
The difference between the two networks and the approach at the user level.
Facebook works in the form of groups, connections between friends and offers content via text, images and videos.
Instagram highlights (real) images and videos that the community posts on their profile. Posting text and sharing content from a friend or someone you follow is not possible in your photo stream (officially).
From an advertising point of view, you can put forward on Facebook or Instagram a post in the form of an image or video that is called “Sponsored Post“.
You can also create carousels (sequence of images) and put them in front of a specific audience.
The slideshow is a tool that allows you to create videos by linking images and sounds. So, if you want to make animations, and you don’t have the possibility to make a native video, the Facebook slideshow is a very good alternative.
Thanks to the speed of the internet, most community platforms have turned to video.
The Story on Facebook or Instagram is an evolution inspired by the famous social network TikTok. You can propose an image, a video or a carousel and make it an ad in your story.
Finally, the teams of Facebook and Instagram have developed the advertising format “Collection“. This allows you to put forward in the form of a pin the different products you want to sell. Some countries (like US) even offer the payment process directly in the application.
YouTube is the 3rd most used website in the world, with Google and Facebook. It is also the second of the search engines after Google. The platform allows, among other things, to share videos with a community and to offer all kinds of content such as live videos.
From a tutorial on makeup, a video of vacations or a recipe, we find on YouTube almost everything that can be searched on the internet.
A platform that is a real added value in marketing and digital strategy.
The most used advertisement is a video called “Video Ads” which appears as a teaser before each video viewed. Depending on the options you choose, the teaser can be disabled or not disabled for 15 seconds.
You can also promote your product or brand with a short six-second video “Bumper ads” placed in the middle or at the beginning of some long videos.
Finally, there is an “Overlay” format on YouTube that is displayed at the bottom of the video in the form of banner ads that are only visible on computers.
The application now has more than a billion users worldwide. Previously intended to share music with friends, it has become the must-have application on which advertising has a very high added value.
Even if this platform is a very powerful social network for advertising, it requires knowing and elaborate specific formats to the TikTok universe.
In-feed native video
The most common is the “in-feed native video“. It is a placement that appears when users of the application scroll up the videos. You can promote your brand or a product quite easily.
The “Top view” format is the premium format of the application. It is an advertisement in the form of a video up to 60 seconds that is displayed when the application is launched in the news feed. The advertisement allows the user to be redirected to another TikTok video or directly to your website.
The Brand Takeover placement is quite similar to the Top view. The difference is that it covers the entire screen when a user launches the application.
Another very popular format is the “brand lenses“, especially for cosmetic companies. In this way, you can create custom filters that users of the application can use. A very popular practice, especially for companies that advertise through influencers.
Branded Hashtag Challenge
With the “Branded Hashtag Challenge” format, some companies have been able to give a new life to their brand by reinforcing their awareness.
Thanks to this advertising format, you can create a dance or movement competition and add a Hashtag. It may be used over by many “TikToks users” to become Viral.
Other social networks
Other platforms also allow you to promote a brand or a product related to the targeted market and to a specific location. Nevertheless, these platforms are rather specialized on a niche audience and offer a smaller visibility. However, depending on the objectives and the market to be reached, they can be very effective.
LinkedIn for your business
For example, LinkedIn is the uncontested leading professional social network. It offers its users to share and promote information related to their professional environment and companies.
Therefore, if you are looking for Business to Business (B2B) opportunities, LinkedIn is a great way to get the word out about your business or company.
Snapchat is also a very popular social network among a younger audience. The platform allows you to share messages, photos and videos with friends on a temporary basis.
The application also offers the possibility to publish and set up advertising campaigns. This increases the awareness of a brand or a product within a community where Generation Z is mostly represented.
Pinterest is a social network mostly used as a source of inspiration. Members of the website pin images or videos as ideas which are than collected and sorted in boards.
For example, when moving in, renovating a room or simply organizing a birthday party, Pinterest is a very good source of inspiration.
This platform also proves to be a good way to increase the awareness of a brand.
Twitter & Reddit
Finally, Twitter and Reddit are also community platforms that allow you to set up advertising campaigns. However, these platforms bring together communities with fairly specific interests.
High-tech, technologies related to the Internet. Etc. are areas of predilection that are very often found on these sites.
Of course, there are other sites with more or less active communities in most areas. In sports like Strava, in music like Spotify or Twitch in the gaming world.
Even if these networks are not the most common ones to advertise on, you can still get very good results. Especially with a strategy oriented “engagement through the community”.
Advertising networks for Swiss marketing
For the Swiss market, we are lucky to have agencies that allow us to communicate on several websites without having to contact each of them directly. Therefore, the largest sites and media are grouped and managed by advertising agencies.
Goldbach is an agency that allows to set up online campaigns, but also in the press or on television.
Audienzz is part of the NZZ group and offers a range of websites on journalism, finance and Business 2 Business.
Ringier Advertising is also a company that allows advertising on important Swiss media. They propose for example placements on Blick, Beobachter for the German part of Switzerland, but also letemps, anibis or autoscout for the French part.
Tamedia offers the possibility to set up campaigns in media such as 20minutes, homegate or jobs.ch the famous job portal.
Depending on the objectives and the available budget, it can also be interesting to buy advertising through these agencies.
Advertisers specialized in programmatic advertising
A more technical possibility to put your brand or products in front of your audience is to use programmatic advertising.
This type of technology is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Where buying advertising requires a sometimes complex, established process, programmatic facilitates access to national and international media.
You can use this technology to automate the types of placements and maximize conversions on each page.
Of course, when I talk about technology, i must not forget that there are costs associated with it. Indeed, programmatic can interest many brands to promote their services or increase their sales. Nevertheless, the costs related to the implementation and the use of platforms such as Taboola, Outbrain, Adunit, Google DV360 must be taken into account.
That’s why I recommend in terms of marketing to first have a strategy established with standard channels in order to have a stable return on investment (ROI).
Once you have this stability, you can move on to the next step and allocate budgets in programmatic. Some agencies offer to make ad buys with programmatic very quickly, often because the margins can be more interesting than on standard channels.
From my point of view, using and buying on-page placements via programmatic is a very good thing once standard channels have reached their limits.
How to create an online campaign for your business?
To put a campaign online, it is not enough to create advertising banners and wait for the results to be visible. If some channels work wonderfully for some, it can be totally the opposite for one of your campaigns.
A “good advice” from a co-worker will never replace a pilot set up to test a new channel or a new way of optimizing campaigns.
Here is a standard plan you can use to simplify the creation of a campaign.
The different steps for a successful online campaign
1. Define the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): First, you need to establish precisely what the objectives of your campaign are and how to measure them.
2. Define a target audience: once you have chosen your objectives, you need to select the audience you want to reach.
3. Choose the most appropriate channels: depending on the audience, some channels are more appropriate than others.
4. Create the advertising formats: once the channels are defined, you can consult the standard advertising formats for each of them to make a list of the elements to create.
5. Put the advertising online: next, you need to put the different formats online, making sure that each of them is tracked properly.
6. Optimize the campaigns according to the performance and the generated income: When the campaign is online, you have to check regularly with different tools the performance to adjust it to maximize the results.
Conclusion on the online advertising guide
Advertising plays a central role in the digital marketing strategy. It allows you to be visible on many platforms, social networks and local media.
Digital advertising offers new opportunities, because it allows to target a very precise audience with specific tools. Due to its flexibility, it is a very interesting investment since you can change formats or change channels easily.
Finally, there are many advertising agencies in Switzerland that offer a different method and visibility on most of the main national sites.
Once the standard channels are mastered, programmatic also offers new opportunities thanks to new technologies (Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence).
It’s just a matter of setting up and following a precise process to get the full potential of online advertising.
If you are looking to set up a campaign to promote your brand or products, but are not yet sure which channels or advertising formats to use, please get in touch with me.
I will be happy to talk to you and provide you with my insights to help you with your digital marketing strategy!
I’m a digital marketing consultant with 20 years of experience in digital growth in Switzerland.
I assist small and medium-sized businesses in enhancing their online presence and generating more leads.
Based on research and data-driven approach, I create digital marketing strategies and effectively implements them.
I also train marketers in SEO, SEA (Online Advertising), and Web analytics to enhance their skills.