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Digital ads examples: a small business advertising guide

Digital ads examples: a small business advertising guide

Key takeaways

  • Digital ads help businesses target specific audiences and provide real-time data tracking 
  • Native ads blend in with other content on platforms like Yelp and social media, while display ads, like banners and pop-ups, stand out on third-party sites
  • Consider your target market and business goals when choosing which digital ad formats to invest in

A smart digital marketing strategy is an essential part of every small business owner’s toolkit. Promoting your company online, where consumers spend nearly seven hours per day, keeps your business relevant and at the top of consumers’ minds. 

When you want your marketing to stand out, running digital ads is key. Here’s what you need to know about digital ads, along with six digital advertising examples that demonstrate the best formats available to you.

What are digital ads?

Digital ads are paid promotions that appear on online marketing channels. When businesses purchase ads, they get prime placement for their brand message on digital platforms—for example, during YouTube videos or above the search results on Yelp.

Unlike traditional ads, digital ads allow your company to closely target audiences of your choice based on interests, location, and other characteristics. Rather than advertising to a mass audience, you can focus your message on a segment of your target market to boost their engagement with your ad.

Digital ads also allow you to track real-time data, which empowers your small business to understand what works for your audience and adjust your campaigns whenever you’re not hitting your goals.

6 digital ads examples

Digital advertising has evolved as quickly as the internet. Advertising platforms are more abundant than ever, with many offering a variety of formats optimized for different devices and audiences. Here are six types of ads to consider using in your next marketing campaign.

1. Video ads

Digital ads examples: Young woman watching a video ad on her smartphone

With video consumption at an all-time high, video content marketing has become an incredibly popular way to reach digital audiences—and global video ad spend is growing by the year.

Video ads can take a variety of formats. You’ll find them on social media platforms or displayed on news feeds as standard ads. They can also be found on video streaming platforms such as YouTube, Hulu, and Facebook Watch.

When advertising on streaming services, your video ads will pop up before or during content. These ads are usually brief, which means you need to produce an eye-catching video to get instant engagement from your audience. For instance, YouTube and Facebook ads are rarely more than 15 seconds long—and longer ads on YouTube can be skipped after five seconds.

2. Audio ads

With the popularity of podcast and music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, digital audio ads are becoming more common. For podcast advertising specifically, Forbes reports that it delivers unbeatable performance because of the large volume of listenership, the trust that listeners have in hosts, and the high percentage of recall that listeners have with ads on that particular platform. 

You can purchase audio ads directly from streaming platforms if you want your message to show up between songs. Or you can purchase ad space directly from podcast creators if you want to place an ad within their content.

3. Display ads

Most of the digital ads examples we’ve discussed are native ads, which means they’re naturally woven into or between content on each platform with appropriate disclosures that make it clear it’s sponsored content. On the other hand, display ads are placed on third-party sites and can include banner ads and pop-ups.

These digital ads are typically created through one core provider, like Yahoo or Taboola. Then, the provider will place your ad on sites within their display advertising network, which usually includes the sites of affiliated companies. This can help your digital ads show up on a variety of websites and platforms at once.

4. Yelp Ads

Digital ads examples: Professional woman viewing an ad on her laptop

When you invest in Yelp Ads, your business listing shows up in a number of key places on the site and app, including above relevant search results and on your competitors’ pages. You can choose from a variety of call to action (CTA) buttons based on your ad goal—like boosting website traffic or receiving more calls—and customize your own ad copy, target keywords, target audience, and ad budget.

Running Yelp Ads is a cost-effective way to reach a target audience that’s ready to spend. In fact, 97% of users make a purchase after visiting Yelp. Plus, you won’t pay unless Yelp users click on your ad.

To further improve your advertising results or achieve other campaign goals, you can also consider running these Page Upgrades for as little as $1 a day:

  • Call-to-action button: Convert page views into calls, messages, and visits with a fully customizable call-to-action button.
  • Remove competitor ads: Keep other businesses from having ads appear on your page.
  • Business Highlights: Add eye-catching badges to highlight what makes your business unique, like “Free estimates” or “Women-owned & operated”.
  • Yelp Connect: Create posts and share updates about your business that are automatically promoted by Yelp via the app and email.

See the full list of Page Upgrades, which can be bundled together for a discount with the Upgrade Package.


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5. Social media ads

Advertising on social media platforms allows your brand to reach your target audience directly on their news feeds. As your potential customers scroll through posts from their friends and family members, they’ll see your ads woven in between.

Social media digital ads examples can commonly be found on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat.

In addition to running traditional social media ads, you might want to promote your business through influencers—that is, people on social media who have a loyal, engaged following. Hire influencers in your area or industry to run an ad campaign promoting your products or services. Since 63% of consumers under 35 trust influencers more than brands, hiring a spokesperson to share your advertising message on your behalf can be an effective way to speed up your lead generation.

6. Search ads

When free search engine optimization (SEO) tactics aren’t getting your site to the top of search engine results pages, paid search ads can help. This type of online advertising allows your website or landing pages to show up above algorithm-selected results on search sites like Bing, Google, and Yahoo. To get the best results from your ad, select the most relevant keywords and demographics to target.

What are the best digital ads for small businesses?

Choosing the right digital ads for your business depends on your target market and goals. To be effective, ads must reach your ideal customers and drive them in the right direction, whether that’s to your store or website.

To make the most of your marketing budget, choose ad platforms where customers are actively searching for a product or service similar to yours—like on Yelp.

Ads that use a cost-per-click (CPC) payment model—like all standard Yelp, social media, and search engine ads—can also help you save money. CPC ads ensure you only pay when customers click on your advertisement, so you’re only investing in engaged shoppers.

Achieve your business goals faster with digital ads

For online marketing that stands out, running digital ads can’t be beat. Online advertising can target your ideal customers and put your brand message where they’re sure to see it. 

Common digital advertising examples include those on social media, video streaming platforms, and search engines. Keep an eye out for budget-friendly options that are cost-per-click so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. 

For more affordable advertising strategies, check out these eight budget-friendly small business advertising ideas.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.